Press release: What about the Law on Special Prosecutor’s Office?

The semi-annual report on the implementation of the Action Plan for Chapter 23 “Judiciary and Fundamental Rights”, which was published by the Government of Montenegro on 10 July 2014, does not contain any proper information on the status of the Draft Law on Special Prosecutor’s Office.

Representatives of Institute Alternative participated in ten meetings of the Working Group, which were held in January and February 2014 (on 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 January, as well as on 6, 10, 13, 21, and 27 February), and submitted comments and suggestions on several drafts of the Law.

As previously stated, representative of Institute Alternative participated in the last Working Group meeting, held on 27 February. Following this meeting, on 28 February the then-current version was supposed to be agreed upon at the ministerial level, i.e. between Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior, and Acting Chief State Prosecutor.

Since then, four months and eleven days have passed. Despite our numerous attempts to get in touch with the officials in charge at the Ministry of Justice and find out about the continuation of work of the Working Group, we have not yet received an appropriate response.

According to the Plan for the implementation of conclusions from the Analysis of the organizational structure, capacities and authorities of the state bodies and administration bodies in combating organized crime and corruption, the public debate on the draft of this Law was envisaged for May or June 2014.

The public has the right to know which issues delayed publication of the Draft Law and prevented interested parties from participating constructively in improving this important legislation. The reform of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, which shall have jurisdiction to proceed in the cases of high corruption and organised crime, is one of the most important issues for further advancement in the negotiation process on Chapter 23.

Since the adoption of the Law in the Parliament is scheduled for October, we expresses concern that the opportunity to allow the public to contribute to building an effective institutional framework for fight against corruption and organized crime in Montenegro is being hindered.

This is corroborated by the practice of organizing public debates on several important pieces of legislation during the course of a single day, just as yesterday’s debate organised by the Ministry of Justice proved to be merely a formality.

Stevo MUK

President of the Managing Board

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