Press release: Institutions Must Show Respect for the Parliament

Statements of the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office and Directorate against money laundering and terrorist financing explicitly declares that the Law on Parliamentary Inquiry and the Law on Parliamentary Oversight in the Security and Defense Area are not binding for these authorities.

These laws stipulate that public authorities are obliged to provide access to all requested documents which “could be important for performing the entrusted task,” to act “as soon as possible” and to provide “truthful documents, data and information. ” In this regard, there is no legal basis for “filtering” the information which will be off the communication. Any such action is a law violation.

Therefore, it’s not on these institutions, as it was said in a statement, to “show respect and trust to the Committee members” but to act according to the Constitution of Montenegro, to the Law on Parliamentary Oversight In the Security and Defense Area, and to the Law on Parliamentary inquiry and other legal acts which define relations between the Executive and the Parliament and its working groups during the implementation of parliamentary control mechanisms. Announced “filtering” of information is not only illegal, but will also stultify the implementation of control functions. That’s why MPs should be unique in condemnation of such illegal behavior and statements of the key institutions whose work they should control. It is unacceptable that the MPs of the ruling majority, accept and approve the statement that the Parliament will receive data partially and that the public interest will be assessed before submitting the confidential information to persons who are authorized under the Law on Data Secrecy to have acess to it.

Even if the final court decision would prove that one of the MPs is responsible for delivering the information to the media, the legal system should not be abolished because of the one individual criminal act. In fact, the authorities are not authorized to “punish” the working body of the Parliament. That would mean collectivizing responsibility and ignoring laws that oblige them to submit complete information.

It is disturbing and unprofessional for the authorities in charge of investigating the Law violation to insinuate, without any evidence, that members of the Inquiry Committee or the Committee on Security and Defence are responsible for the “leak” of confidential information.

The former course of the parliamentary inquiry confirmed the potential of this important control mechanism in the Parliamnet’s oversight over the Executive. Parliamentary inquiry was able to bring into focus of the public the six-years long investigation of the state prosecutor’s office, which did not have any concrete results. However, the determination of political responsibilities of specific persons for Telecom Affair, requires more serious work of the Inquiry Committee.

Parliamentary inquiry needs permanent developmentin the future, and events that have marked the last days should not have any impact on the relations between the Executive and MPs and the Parliament, or on the relations between the MPs of the ruling coalition and the mission and mandate of the Inquiry Committee.

Stevo Muk
President of the Managing Board

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