After each review of the human rights state, the final report with recommendations and specifications for each country is being made and each contry has to implement those specifications until the next cycle, when report on the implementation of the recommendations in practice is made and rating on the state of human rights by other countries is received. Recommendations in the area for human rights that country implements are not binding, but their non-fulfillment of terms could significantly undermine the country’s reputation in the international community.
Within the project “Strengthening the capacity of civil society in order to take part in the UPR process” implemented by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) and the Civic Alliance (GA) in cooperation with the Centre for Child Rights of Montenegro, the Association of Paraplegic Association of Montenegro, and Mogul infection from Ulcinj, an alternative report of implementation of the recommendations gathered during the UPR cycle in Montenegro is prepared. The project is supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy. It is thought of Montenegrin non-governmental organizations (UPR Coalition) that, despite some progress in promoting and protecting human rights in almost all areas, the efforts of relevant state institutions are not sufficient to be able to speak about the protection of human rights on the appropriate level.
In the Government’s Medium-Term report on the implementation of recommendations, it is stated that Montenegro received a total of 124 recommendations, which were subject of consideration in Montenegrin Government. Within that number, Montenegro has accepted 120 recommendations and fully implemented 16 recommendations by now; implementation of 99 recommendations is in progress; while 6 recommendation-implementations has not started yet. Implementation of the recommendations in the largest number implies a continuous process of improving human rights.
In the justice area, the new legislation was adopted in February 2015, introducing novelties in terms of establishing a uniform system of appointment of judges and prosecutors at the national level as well as a system of professional appraisal and promotion of judges and prosecutors. However, these regulations are vague in terms of establishing the criteria for performance appraisal and promotion of judges and prosecutors, as well as providing the system of professional evaluation of candidates during recruitment. Because of these shortcomings, we still can not talk about providing the necessary guarantees for the independence of the judiciary, especially about eliminating political influence on the selection of judges and prosecutors. The adoption of subordinate legislation that specifies the procedure of evaluation and indicators for assessment, criteria for assessment of judges and public prosecutors, as well as criteria and indicators for assessing the presidents of courts and the state prosecutor is delayed. The adoption of the Law on Education in the Judiciary, which plans to change the status of the Centre for the training of judges in an independent institution that will, among other things, conduct training of judges and public prosecutors on the system of professional assessment is delayed as well. It is necessary to improve the transparency of the Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, continue with the computerization of the judiciary and make all judgments public.
In the fighting corruption area, the number of financial investigation is still limited, and it is therefore necessary to strengthen the capacity and to establish a common database in order to efficiently detect the perpetrators of corrupt acts. Anti-corruption laws are not being implemented properly, there is still no political will for a decisive fight against corruption in the judiciary, especially at high level. Strengthening the capacity of judges and public prosecutors must be continued, while instrumentalization of employees in the courts and prosecutors’ offices in order to achieve political interests must be eradicated. Amendments to the Criminal Code introduced “Obstruction of justice” as a new criminal offense for which there is still no political will to be relevant in practice. The focus early next year will be placed on the establishment of the Agency for the anti-coruption as a centralized body responsible, inter alia, for reporting cases of corruption offenses and the protection of “whistleblowers”. In most municipalities Local Action Plan for the fight against corruption is adopted, but they are poorly implemented in practice.
The Ombudsman’s capacities are strengthened, Deputy Protector for prevention torture and Deputy Protector to combat discrimination are appointed. On the other hand, filling all the vacancies that have been foreseen must be continued and it is necessary to provide more space for the NPM.
In the field of persons with disabilities protection, there is some progress, in terms of raising public awareness and the adoption of legislation in order to improve their position, but this implementation is at a low level, which contributes further to exclusion and discrimination of persons with disabilities. Montenegro is still inaccessible to persons with disabilities, both in terms of physical access to buildings, and in terms of the accessibility of public transport because there is still no affordable bus and shuttle transport. It is necessary to work on the elimination of architectural barriers, ensuring the accessibility of information and communication technologies and services, establish support services needed to complete daily activities. This is the only appropriate way to create the conditions for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, their quality education, employment and participation in political and public life of Montenegro. The state must invest efforts and employ persons with disabilities in order to give an example to employers. From 2009 until the end of 2014, the state at the expense of the Fund into which shall be paid to the account of a person with invaliditietom, inappropriately spent about 34,000,000.00 euros. For this reason it is necessary to establish the Fund as a separate legal entity where the funds would be paid. Further efforts are necessary to help persons with disabilities to get education under the same conditions and allow access to educational institutions.
In the area of dealing with the past the formal approach is continued, without initiating procedures for establishing injunctory, command and inflammatory responsibility. Montenegro should be confronted with the past, especially for two reasons: because the crimes were committed on its territory by its citizens, in order to contribute to building a genuine and lasting reconciliation in the country and the region. War crimes that took place on territory of Montenegro are not processed through the educational curricula. Research of the NGO “Youth Initiative for Human Rights” has shown that 50% of law students in the final year have never heard of a single war crime that occurred on the territory of Montenegro. It is necessary for the state to conduct an effective investigation and make final conviction as a part of educational curricula, particularly in legal studies. Victims should receive adequate access to justice and compensation.
In the area of minority rights and their protection has been no progress. In the Parliament amendments of the Law on Minority Rights and Freedoms were not adopded. Those amendments would stop a conflict of interest in the Fund for the protection and realization of minority rights, lead to transparent procedures and prevent further abuse in the work of the Fund. The Administrative Court overturned both decisions of the Fund for 2014, which is the third verdict that reversed the decisions of the institution.
Danijela Vujošević, program coordinator, CEDEM
Milan Radović, program coordinator in the field of human rights, Civic Alliance
Dejan Bašanović, general secretary, Association of Paraplegics Podgorica