Mapping Civil Society Responses in Confronting Organised Crime in the Western Balkans

Organised crime and corruption are common problems in all Western Balkan countries. Considering that Montenegro has had the same ruling party for almost 30 years, and that the 2020 Freedom House Report rated it as a transitional or hybrid regime, it is no wonder that numerous international and domestic reports are citing that this political environment did not contribute to the fight against OC. Although small, Montenegro is known as a country in which the war between cocaine clans has escalated, where journalists who investigated such cases have been attacked, and as a country that has a serious problem with organised crime. Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Montenegro are recognised as a very important part of society, but those that were critical of the existing problems were often characterised by the Government as “enemies of the state”.

This analysis is the result of qualitative research aimed at presenting the efforts of CSOs in fighting OC and corruption. As Montenegro is not a big country, the number of CSOs focused on the fight against OC and corruption is small. This is why the research included organisations whose domain of work in the area of fight against corruption and OC is much broader, and whose activities tackle this problem directly or indirectly. There are very few organisations that deal strictly with OC, for reasons of complexity and sensitivity of the topic itself, among other things. The profiles of organisations included in the research encompass those that fight against OC and corruption by conducting watchdog activities, engage in investigative journalism and crime prevention, as well as those that provide victim support and offer education. The IA research team has conducted in-depth interviews with representatives of seven such organisations, and has found that the work of most of them is related to victim support.

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