The system for establishing accountability in the Ministry of Interior in Montenegro is completely ineffective in fighting alleged abuse of power by police officers.
Seven months have passed since the media reported that two disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against police officer D. D. for gross negligence in the line of duty. Institute Alternative has gotten an official response from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) that this officer was not suspended, that internal control does not conduct any case against police officer and that the Disciplinary Commission didn’t reach any conclusions on the case.
According to the media reports, “it was established that the inspector didn’t check for DNA in 427 cases and that she entered false data into the Interpol’s database, that the mentioned cases were acted upon or already concluded”. Allegedly, among this data was also of movement of persons of interest from Podgorica, Kotor, Bar and Budva, which the inspector allegedly aided. On the other hand, it is doubted that she unauthorized checked the personal data of 56 persons.
Without prejudging the responsibility of the officer, but through analyzing the work of the relevant organizational units for determining of responsibility, the official MoI response surprised us for several reasons.
Firstly, how is it possible that a police officer who is suspected of obstructing investigations against criminal clans is not suspended, or an urgent decision on the temporary limitation of official duty in accordance with Article 108 of the Law on Internal Affairs?
The logic of the suspension is to prevent further misuse of police officers’ powers and damage to police affairs by officials who are suspected of gross negligence.
Secondly, what happened to the investigations by internal control, which in March this year stated to “Pobjeda” daily newspaper that the aforementioned inspector “failed to comply, her hearing was not conducted and she had provided medical findings that prevent her from attending the hearing”?
The Institute Alternative requested from internal control to submit a decision whether the case was concluded with a finding of unlawfulness or by establishing that there was no illegality – and has received an answer that “there were no action taken against the mentioned inspector”. Does the Internal control suspend investigations in case of police officers’ sickness?
And finally, the Disciplinary Commission did not submit to us their decisions because “the disclosure of information could jeopardize the disciplinary procedure” – which means that it is still in progress, although the media reported that it was launched in December 2016. The question is how much time the MoI needs to establish the facts and sanction officials who are suspected of the most serious misconduct.
In addition, the media report that other proceedings are ongoing against this police officer, in the special police department in relation to the obstruction of the clan investigations. However, those cases did not delay her suspension, the work of internal control or the disciplinary commission, on the contrary.
All of the above points out to the inefficiency of the Ministry of Interior in the implementation of instruments for determining the responsibility of police officers and the need for a fundamental reform of the entire system.
Official response of Ministry of Interior could be read HERE (only in Montenegrin).
Public Policy Researcher