Victims and volunteers

Stevo Muk“Following weeks, that is, the following month, is crucial for further progress of European integration”, Milutin Simovic, an MP, said in his question addressed to the prime minister.

Yet, the way this is perceived by the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), it was visible in the answer, by which Djukanovic openly and directly transferred the responsibility for future remarks of European Commission and opening of chapters 23 and 24 to the Parliament of Montenegro, or, more precisely, to the parliamentary opposition and Democratic Front, which is “selectively” boycotting the Parliament.

Knowing the skillfulness of the ruling party, and the past mistakes of the opposition leaders, I wouldn’t be surprised if this time the opposition representatives managed to create an image of themselves as the main impediments to the constitutional changes and thus label themselves as the brakes-men of European integration.

However, the truth is that the findings of the European Commission and opening of the Chapters 23 and 24 will largely depend on the efficient investigation of corruption and organized crime, with emphasis on highly positioned civil servants and public officials. Also, remarks will depend on the outcome of the indictments which were positively assessed in the earlier reports as acceleration of the fight against corruption and organized crime.

As far as I know, and I do carefully follow official and media reports, Montenegro doesn’t have anything to be proud of from October by now.

Various state, political and other structures are also aware of that and hence , more or less often, the following questions are being asked in this hot summer days: “Who is the next victim?” or “Who is the next volunteer?”.

Images are already familiar: arrests in dawn, black uniforms, TV cameras, serious faces of police chiefs and ministers, victorious show-ups, vows into the political will and European integration.

It appears that there is not enough skunk and independent groups to fill the poor statistics in fight against drug trafficking. Comparative data about the seizures of different types of narcotics stand on its own.

Since last year, when the relevant vice-prime minister admitted that there was no progress in the fight against corruption, via the statement that we “lack the well thought strategy for fight against corruption”, up to today – no progress has been made. I don’t understand who are the ten or twenty doctors identified by the minister in charge as corrupting our health system.

Who the victim, who is a volunteer. With volunteers, we are at least experienced. They are fake victims, but only to the first next progress report, and then – starting all over again.

Yet, earlier enlargements made European Commission more cautious.

The history says this: In the race for the EU accession, in 2006 and 2006, Romania was awarded for introduction of the strictest rules for publishing of the property cards of its officials. European Commission praised their national department for anti-corruption because of launching proceedings against several high profile politicians for corruption. These, widely publicized cases, were seen as a proof that the country was advancing in the fight against corruption and helped the decision on membership to be brought one year earlier than it was expected. However, two years after, none of these cases had been prosecuted to an end. Most them has been rejected or hushed up, while the institution supposed to investigate the property of the officials was not functional for a long time after the country entered the EU.

In Bulgaria, the decrease of number of murders among the mafia groups, none of which has been resolved, was regarded as a key to the acceleration of the country’s European integration. However, it was later published that the Ministry of Interior was in touch with the chiefs of organized criminal gangs to ensure the temporary breaks of the fights among different gangs.

The European officials and local public will thus have to pay more attention to the concrete cases and their epilogues and follow them more objectively.

The Skerovic case appears to be the attempt of media-driven political promotion – attempt with short-term goals and dubious intentions. The case, however, turned from the attempt of creating the impression of fierce reaction of the state into its opposite, additionally compromising the already poor credibility of the institutions and “proponents” of the radical break with the crime. This was the case from which all the actors should and must draw some lessons.

Yet, the opposition MPs in the inquiry committee also know that it is not easy to be judge or a prosecutor. As it stands, it is more likely that this inquiry committee will be remembered by the anecdote about the air condition than by the concrete results.

Stevo Muk
President of IA’s Managing Board

text originally published in the Forum section of the daily newspaper Vijesti

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