Joint press release: Limit the Competencies of the National Security Agency

For the purpose of preventing violation of human rights by security structures, non-governmental organisations Human Rights Action, Centre for Civic Education (CCE), Network for the Affirmation of Non-governmental sector (MANS) and Institute Alternative have submitted seven amendments for the improvement of legal framework for the NSA work to the MPs.

In addition to what we pointed out during past few days, which is that the authorities of NSA officials should be limited regarding the direct insight into database of legal persons and to pinpointing electronically location and implement these measures strictly based on the court decision, amendments to the changes of the Law on NSA should be more thoroughly standardised and other aspects of work of this institution and the protection of rights of citizens should be further improved.

Namely, it is necessary to prescribe by the law the procedures for destroying of information which the NSA collects and which are not of security character, because permanent storage of personal information in classified files would represent violation of rights regarding the respect of private life.

Hence, the law must prescribe ban on storage of “collaterally” collected information, or of the information that are not related to purpose for which these were collected. Also, the NSA should commit itself to submitting the information collected to Supreme court, after implementing secret surveillance measures, for the evaluation of legality of implemented measures. That implies that right after the “reading of judge” a part of material that is not related to reasons for which the measures were undertaken, or that relate to a different kind of personal data that are not of security character, should be destroyed while the rest of the material would be kept in registers.

We also prepared the amendment related to the obligation of the NSA to inform the citizens after the case is closed, without their previous written demand, on the measures that were conducted against them, in accordance with their Constitutional right.

Having in mind the insufficient results regarding the internal control over the work of the NSA, direct link should be established between competent parliamentary committee for security and defence and the general inspector in charge for the internal control over the work of this body. We remind that, former results of work of general inspector are exceptionally modest. By 2012, he had not determined any unlawful application of secret surveillance measures, or any other form of misuse. Also, even though obliged to, he did not submit reports on the performed control neither to Government nor to the director of the NSA. Thereby, the Law on NSA should prescribe the obligation of submitting the annual report on the work of Internal control to the Committee. Thus, the pressure of Parliament on internal control would be increased, in order for it to continuously perform control and help processing officials that have exceeded their authorities and violated the law.

For the same purpose, it is important to delete the provision of Law on NSA that, contrary to the Law on parliamentary oversight, limits individual right of members of the Committee for security and defence to request data and information from the NSA.

Having in mind the aforementioned problematic provisions of existing law, necessity of reforms of security sector, and lack of thrust of citizens in the work of NSA, we call upon MPs to submit amendments on the changes of the Law on NSA, that are currently being processed in Parliament, in accordance with our proposals.

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Furthermore, today MANS submitted the proposal of the amendment to all parliamentary clubs, that was supported by 22 NGOs, based on which the provision of Draft of law on the amendments of the Law on NSA is amended, under which was envisaged for by an employee of the NSA who present official identification to access all registers and databases, which are in possession of all legal persons in Montenegro. It was proposed with the amendment to prescribe for this measure to be applicable only and solely based on the approval of the Supreme court president and only when national security is jeopardised by clearly listed circumstances.

Provision, which amendment we demand, envisaged that employees of the NSA who present official identification could perform direct insight in all registers and databases that are in possession of all legal persons, without any warrants, whereby subjects of surveillance do not have any right of complaint or court protection against such demand from NSA employee. Hence, the provision from the proposal of Law, which deletion is being proposed by the aforementioned amendment, is contrary to the Constitution and laws of Montenegro, as well as to the case law of the European court of Human Rights, and all relevant international conventions that Montenegro ratified.

Thus, we call upon all parliamentary clubs to sign the amendment and submit it into parliamentary procedure and to adopt it at the plenary session, thus to stop the violation of the Constitution and laws of Montenegro, as well as of international legal acts we ratified by now, with joint parliamentary action.

Signatories of the amendment proposals:

1. Human rights action (HRA), Tea Gorjanc-Prelević

2. Anima – Centre for women and peace education, Ljupka Kovačević

3. Centre for civic education (CCE), Daliborka Uljarević

4. Centre for monitoring and research (CEMI), Zlatako Vujović

5. Women’s right centre, Maja Raičević

6. EQVISTA, Milan Šaranović

7. Green Home, Nataša Kovačević

8. Institute Alternative, Stevo Muk

9. Juventas, Ivana Vujović

10. Queer Montenegro, Danijel Kalezić

11. League of women voters in Montenegro, Mira Asović

12. Network for the affirmation of non-governmental sector, Vanja Ćalović

13. NGO Heart, Dušan Rakočević

14. NGO Young Roma, Samir Jaha

15. NGO Prima, Aida Perović-Ivanović

16. Shelter, Ljiljana Raičević

17. SOS Hotline for women and children victims of violence, Biljana Zeković

18. Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (AYDM), Marina Vujačić

19. Association of Youth with Disabilities Nikšić, Jelena Čvorović

20. Association of paraplegics Bijelo Polje and Mojkovac, Milka Stojanović

21. Association of old crafts and skills “Nit”, Smiljana Radusinović

22. Association for the development of civil society from Bijelo Polje, Mirsala Tomić

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