As the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture (26 June), is approaching Civic Alliance expresses serious concern about the delay in publishing the report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) for Montenegro, bearing in mind that a whole year has passed since the visit.
Therefore, we invite the Government of Montenegro and the CPT to publish as soon as possible the report, the draft of which the media already has had access, who have pointed out to serious cases of abuse and torture. These statements confirm the urgency of publishing the report and prompt implementation of the recommendations it contains by the competent state institutions.
As stated in the media: “A quarter of the interrogated detainees claimed to have experienced alleged abuse from police officers, including members of the Sector for the Fight against Organized Crime and Corruption, the remaining special units and inspectors from various police stations in Montenegro”. It is also stated that the most common forms of abuse consisted of slaps, punches, and kicks to the head, stomach, chest, and arms. However, according to the media, there have also been credible allegations about blows on the feet, grabbing and squeezing the genitals of the suspects; electric shocks with dog collars with suffocation by placing a plastic bag over the suspect’s head, threats with a gun, threats to rape and stripping of suspects, tying them to a chair and pouring cold water on them.
Moreover, the increasingly frequent reports in the media about cases of torture and exceeding of police powers, and the similarities between the cases of Marko Boljević, Milo Jovanović, Stefan Kovač and many others, indicate that the state has not created an effective judicial practice when it comes to the fight against police torture, abuse and illegal use of means of coercion.
Montenegro, as a candidate country for membership in the European Union, is obliged to adhere to the highest standards for the protection of human rights and the fight against torture. In this context, it is in the public interest that the CPT report be published as soon as possible, in order to ensure accountability for all allegations of ill-treatment and torture. We also remind that Article 11 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment stipulates that the Committee publishes its report, along with the comments of the Contracting Party in question, whenever that Contracting Party requests it.
The CPT reports are crucial for informing the general public about the situation in prison units and police stations, and at the same time provide important guidelines and recommendations on how to improve the situation in these areas. However, despite this, the media report that the CPT states that a large number of accusations of bad treatment by the police gathered during the visit last year, show very little improvement in the situation from 2017, which is worrying.
For this reason, it is of crucial importance for Montenegro not to delay giving its consent to the CPT report, so we are informed as soon as possible about the observed situation regarding torture by the CPT. It is also important that all relevant actors take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations from the report as soon as possible, and thereby improve the current situation in this matter, which is quite worrying.