Today Montenegro marks the Day of Prosecutors. The long wait for the election of five members of the Prosecutorial Council (PS), the fact that the Supreme State Prosecutor functions as an acting official, and lengthy investigations at an early stage indicate the justification of concerns vis-à-vis the work of the State Prosecutor’s Office.
As in previous years, we must draw attention to the spatial and technical capacities for adequate and professional work of state prosecutors. Although the Government of Montenegro on 6 September 2022 adopted the Conclusion on the need to improve spatial capacities of the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office, the Special State Prosecutor’s Office, the Higher State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica and the Special Police Department, no concrete activities have been implemented to date.
Procedures in which the investigation phase takes too long should no longer be the practice, especially when there is no adequate reason for it. Thus, the disciplinary responsibility of state prosecutors due to the statute of limitations of criminal prosecutions must be at the top of the priorities, which has not been the case until now.
Following the appointment of the new Chief Special Prosecutor, there were certain visible results, such as the deprivation of liberty and detention of persons who performed some of the most important functions in the judiciary. On the one hand, the fact that the state prosecutor’s work is focused on the fight against organized crime and corruption is encouraging. On the other hand, it is worrying that until recently these persons were the leaders of the Montenegrin judiciary.
We cannot be satisfied with the prosecution of persons who are responsible or who participated in war crimes on the territory of Montenegro. Only persons who did not play a major role in war crimes were prosecuted for these criminal acts, while there are no significant developments in the investigation of war crimes.
The further development of Montenegro requires independent, efficient and professional prosecutors, in order to fight against organized crime and corruption more effectively. Reform in this area is necessary; we can say that it did start, but that it has not been carried out to the end. If fundamental changes are implemented, it is expected that Montenegro could close the key negotiation chapters in its accession to the European Union.