IA at the OGP summit in Mexico – CSO and SAI cooperation

Our public policy researcher Marko Sošić has spoken on a panel on cooperation between independent institutions (such as State Audit Institutions – SAI, Ombudsman, etc.) and civil society, organised within the OGP – Civil Society Day at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Mexico City (27-29 October).

The panel entitled “Advancing engagement of Civil Society-Accountability Institutions in OGP National Action Plans” was organized by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center (Norway), the World Bank and the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (Argentina).

We have shared our past experience in cooperation with the SAI and paid special attention to lessons learned from our this year’s project within which, through various activities, we have connected SAI with civil society, the Parliament and the internal auditors.

In March this year, IA has organised the first consultative meeting between SAI and the civil society. The event “Cooperation between the civil society and State Audit Institution – Together on the same task” represents our attempt to bring closer the work of the civil sector to the SAI, in order to make the analysis, findings and the overall work of NGOs part of the process of planning audits. In this way we want to “open” the SAI for the exchange of information and other forms of cooperation with civil society, which is in the spirit of the principles of Open Government Partnership.

Institute alternative was part of the last OGP summit held in London (2013), where we have participated at the round table “When Supreme Audit Institutions engage with citizens”.

Our work in the field of the state audit is continuing with the project supported by the Embassy of the United Kingdom, within which we will work on strengthening cooperation between the SAI and the State Prosecutor’s Office in filing criminal complaints.

On the other hand, we also articulate our work within the OGP initiative indirectly, through our membership in the Operational Team of the Open Government Partnership, which is working on the formulation of the second Action Plan.

Press Release: Council of the Agency for the prevention of corruption must work transparently

Sessions of the Council of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption should be open to public, a decision that the member related to public officials voted for should be invalid, and the Council opened to the participation of interested parties.

Institute Alternative has participated today at the session of the Council of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption wherein we have presented our comments on the proposal of the Rules of Procedure of this authority. In the comments we have focused on the provisions concerning the transparency of the Council. In this regard, we believe that the meetings of the Council should be, as a rule, open to public, and only exceptionally closed, in cases prescribed by the Rules of Procedure and voted by a majority of members of the Council.

Rules of procedure should also prescribe obligatory cooperation of the Council with other state authorities. Additionally, we pointed to the need to prescribe the possibility for interested parties to request, on their own initiative, in writing, to attend the session of the Council or to take part in the session, and not only upon the invitation of the Council, as currently prescribed by the Rules of Procedure. The Council should decide on the request for the presence of an interested party by a majority of the total number of members of the Council.

Draft of the Rules of Procedure prescribes that a member of the Council shall be exempted from voting, if he/her is related to the public official or other person to be decided upon. We believe that the Rules of Procedure should stipulate that the Council’s decision should be declared invalid if it is subsequently proven that the member related to the public official or other person to be decided upon voted for it.

Finally, the administrative work for the Council cannot be decentralized, and the Rules of Procedure should specify that these operations shall be performed by the Secretary who shall be elected from among the employees of the Agency.

Stevo MUK
President of the Managing board

Institute alternative’s comments on the proposal of the Rules of Procedure of the Council for the Council of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption
(only in Montenegrin)

Chief State Prosecutor to publish the investigation findings in the case of beating Martinović

Five non-governmental organisations – Institute alternative, Human Rights Action, Juventas, Women’s Rights Center and Montenegrin LGBTIQ Association “Queer Montenegro” have sent a letter addressed to Ivica Stanković, Chief State Prosecutor, with the request to urgently and objectively investigate the cases of police brutality.

Having in mind all published evidences of police brutality, especially after the recording of the brutal beating of Miodrag Martinović and destroying of his vehicle, which was published on Sunday, October 10th 2015 and, thus, presented to Montenegrin citizens, Police and to the Prosecutor’s Office, we expect the Chief State Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the cases, urgently and in objective manner, prioritizing the case of beating of Miodrag Martinović, and to publish the names of the police officers who are suspected as responsible for these acts as soon as possible.

If the Police Administration does not cooperate with the Prosecutor’s Office in investigating who is responsible for the beating of Martinović and who is responsible for ordering, abetting and/or assisting in the execution of this act, as it was the case earlier in some of the cases of police torture which have remained unpunished, we expect from the Chief State Prosecutor to immediately inform the Government and the citizens of Montenegro about it as well as to initiate the procedure against those in the Police Administration who are, following the line of command, directly responsible for the inefficacy of the investigation.

The beating of Martinović has happened in Jovana Tomaševića Street, in the place only hundred meters away from the Police Administration building, as evidences by video and photo recordings of this act which have been delivered to the Chief State Prosecutor by the Council for the Civic Control of the Police. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that the public has already been informed on the findings of the investigation, especially since it comes to determination of the identities of those employed in the Police Administration and therefore, their movement should be officially recorded.

Association of citizens that we represent are concerned to put an end to the tolerance of the torture by the police officers and not to allow “bullies” in the Police to remain unpunished, which would further cause more shame to the vast majority of professionals in the Police and to Montenegro as a whole, while the cases of torture sink into obsolescence.

Tea GORJANC-PRELEVIĆ, Executive Director, NGO Human Rights Action
Ivana VUJOVIĆ, Executive Director, NGO Juventas
Maja RAIČEVIĆ, Executive Director, NGO Women’s Rights Centre
Danijel KALEZIĆ, President of the Managing board, Montenegrin LGBTIQ Association “Queer Montenegro“
Stevo MUK, President of the Managing board, NGO Institute alternative

The letter in its entirety can be read here (only in Montenegrin)

Call for application for participants of the Fourth Generation of Public Policy School

Institute Alternative (IA) invites representatives of state administration, local governments, the Parliamentary Service, non-governmental organisations, trade unions, the media, as well as final-year students of social sciences to apply for participation in the Public Policy School – IV generation. The call for application is open until 1 November 2015.

Organising Public Policy School is another one in a series of Institute’s activities aiming to influence the creation of better public policies in Montenegro. Namely, the creation and implementation of public policies is rarely based on previous research, it does not encourage participation of different sectors and organisations and lacks good coordination. All the mentioned above prevents from achieving the goals of public policies and does not ensure their sustainability.

The School aims at providing relevant stakeholders with theoretical and practical knowledge about public policies, their creation and improvement, but also to strengthen communication and cooperation between different sectors and institutions.

Public Policy School will help participants to properly research and analyse public policies, plan and conduct research, write policy papers, formulate recommendations for decision-makers and advocate for those recommendations.

The Fourth Generation of Public Policy School will be organised as a three-day seminar in Budva. Lectures and workshops will be held on Saturday, 7 November, Sunday, 8 November and Monday, 9 November 2015. Lecturers are prominent experts in public policy from the country and the region – professors from universities in Zagreb, Belgrade and Podgorica, representatives of state institutions and independent research centres. Methodology of the seminar is based on active participation, with emphasis on the analysis of authentic examples of policy papers and application of knowledge and skills in the context of writing them.

Institute Alternative is implementing this project since 2012. The School is licenced as the official programme for the acquisition of knowledge and skills in the field of public policy by the National Council for Education of Montenegro. Furthermore, we published the collection of papers entitled “Public Policy”, in order to facilitate the preparation of the participants. The programme gathered 80 participants thus far.

All interested candidates are invited to send their curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter via e-mail info@institut-alternativa.org until 1 November 2015. More details about the School’s programme, lecturers, and the reasons for organising this programme is available at the following link.

Urgently investigate cases of excessive use of authorities by police officer

Non-governmental organisations MANS, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and Institute Alternative (IA) strongly condemn police brutality over citizens.

We urge Minister of Interior Raško Konjević and Director of Police Directorate Slavko Stojanović to urgently undertake measures against police officers who exceeded official authorities.

MANS, CCE and IA assess that publically available video footage, where it can be seen how citizen are being beaten up, present clear evidence that some police officers used unlawful force. We believe that police is obliged and bound to secure respect of the law and to use force only when necessary so that they would not turn into violators of law themselves.

We are particularly concerned over the fact that neither the minister, nor the director of Police Department, condemned such behaviour of police officers, not even in the case of citizen Mijo Martinović, whom police officers inflicted severe bodily injuries and destroyed his property, for which there is evidence publicised by part of Montenegrin media and available on social media. Should they fail to react, we will assume that minister Konjević and director Stojanović are personally responsible for unlawful treatment by the police and violence over citizens of Montenegro.

Role of police forces in the defense of Constitution and law is of special importance, and it is thus of crucial importance for overall credibility of police organisation to immediately suspend all those who exceeded their authorities along with further proceeding in line with the law.

Vanja ĆALOVIĆ, MANS Executive Director
Stevo MUK, President of the Managing board, Institute alternative
Daliborka ULJAREVIĆ, CCE Executive Director

Managing communications and advocacy processes

President of the Managing Board of the Institute alternative, Stevo Muk, has participated in the International Workshop for Managers of Research Organisations in the Western Balkans and the EU, which took place from 19-21 October in Sarajevo. The aim of the workshop was to exchange views between the leading people of research centers in the Western Balkans on their actions in terms of numerous challenges, such as unpredictable socio-political context, uncertain funding sources, staff dissatisfaction and a lack of professional staff, as well as stronger and stronger competition. Regarding this, managers of leading think tanks in the region presented their experiences in dealing with some of these challenges. This event has also offered the best practices of managing research organisations from the region and the EU.

Upravljanje komunikacijama i zagovaračkim aktivnostima

The workshop included six panels, each of which was dedicated to a certain level of accountability of managers in research centers: Research process management and quality control processes; Managing communications and advocacy proccesses; Standard operating procedures; Human resource management and staffing processes; Governance, oversight, and management of external inputs into programmatic work; and Sustainability: fundraising, financial management and strategic planning.

President of our Managing Board spoke at the panel dedicated to management of communications and advocacy processes. Stevo presented our communication strategy, channels for advocating recommendations, as well as our work in working groups. A special part of his presentation was devoted to our ongoing efforts to visualize our findings and adapt them “graphic” to the different interested groups.

The workshop was organised by Center for Social Research Analitika, in cooperation with Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP) and The Think Tank Fund of the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

Upravljanje komunikacijama i zagovaračkim sposobnostima