Montenegrin courts will have a strong temptation in the future to make the right decisions and demonstrate a high degree of integrity, and further efforts in the area of judicial reform that should be focused on investment in human capital.
It is rated at the second national conference “Judicial Reform in Montenegro – the results achieved”, organized by the Center for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) and Human Rights Action (HRA) within the project “Monitoring of judicial reform”, funded by European Union through the EU Delegation for Montenegro and the Royal Netherlands Embassy.
Chairman of the Governing Board of CeMI, Zlatko Vujovic, believes that, to start the proceedings, which will be included in the trial of opposition leaders, senior government officials, the judicial system is placed under a special interest in the professional and general public.
“The big challenge for confidence in the judiciary is communicating with the politically divided public, often the public who is not familiar with the new institutes, and their use is associated with abuse. In particular, the case of institutes on deferred prosecution and a negotiated plea, ” Vujovic said in PR Center.
He said that it is necessary to keep the public informed about the comparative experiences of other countries when it comes to these institutes, but also on how these institutes are used in Montenegro and that there are abuses.
“I would particularly like to commend the decision of the court proceedings against the persons who were involved in planning a terrorist attack case to be public and to find that strengthen the awareness and trust of the public. It is very bad that there is currently no monitoring of the trial, which were previously carried out by OSCE and CeMI, through which reports the judiciary were receiving feedback, “said Vujovic.
Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, believes that important steps have been taken in the area of judicial reform, estimating that it is vital that further efforts be invested in human capital.
“Of particular importance are the experts, professionals, and the rule of law put before personal or political interests. The success of the reform depends on the appointment and training of these people, ” said Orav.
As said, the reform of the judicial system, cannot happen without stable institutions, political consensus, the proven capacity of the country towards the implementation of public functions.
Minister of Justice Zoran Pažin said that when it comes to judicial reform, he sees room for improvement in the part concerning the quality of the reasoning of court decisions.
“What is a problem and what to do in the coming period is the obsolescence of a number of cases in the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts. I am quite certain that we must have a reliable answer to the question of what is causing this. Is the cause of this lack of individual responsibility of individual prosecutors and judges. If this is the case, this responsibility should be clearly addressed and should analyze these cases and if the need arises to be true, sanctioned, and prosecutors and judges, “said Pažin.
If the cause is, obsolescence of a number of cases the objective circumstances, he believes that it should be able to recognize them in order to remove it in the future.
Executive Director of HRA, Tea Gorjanc Prelevic, said the report on the reform of the judiciary, which the organization prepared with CeMI, says that institutions that can guarantee the rule of law have not yet been secured, but that, as she said, it is not impossible to get to them yet.
She said that the report contains 180 recommendations on measures to be taken in order to “reform the judiciary pulled on a green branch, which can make green fruits.”
“The reformed base is very important for a number of major challenges that Montenegro is on the exercise of justice, which will be even more. Such challenges should not enter the suspicions of clientelism in the judiciary, with doubt in the transparency and seriousness of statistical data on the administration of justice, “said Gorjanc Prelevic.
In such challenges, she added, should not enter the disposal of a real evaluation of the load and performance of judges and prosecutors, together with the conditions in which they work and realistically assess the pace and the money of rationalization.
“It turns out that the rules on which the system is designed, contain flaws and that it is better to arrange them before their application leads to a practical damage,” said Gorjanc Prelevic.
One and the most important is to recommend audio and video recording of the trial contributed to the speed of the procedure.
President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, Vesna Medenica reminded that the purposes of the reform of the judiciary were that Montenegro has a good, independent, efficient, reliable and accountable judiciary, noting that successful reform requires “financial backing”.
“Is it independent today? I think it is. All elections of judges and court presidents are excommunicated from Parliament and thus deprived of any influence of any kind of politics, even the president of the Supreme Court is elected in a new way, “said Medenica.
According to her, there is incomparably greater efficiency of courts and thus, she believes, the reform has given its full contribution and achieved a goal.
“At the beginning of reforms in the courts, it was even more than 75 percent of pending cases in the work, we now have over 76 percent of completed cases in the work, except that some courts have the items from the previous year”, said Medenica.
She was commenting on a recommendation from Report that it was necessary to have audio and video recording of the trial, and said that a lot of the money is needed to equip the hall, but that she hopes that it will happen in the future.
Medenica invited CeMI, if the Council of the High Court confirmed the charges in relation to “the case of the so-called terrorism,” and comes to a big search by warrant, to follow every trial and to make a special report to be made public later.
The State Prosecutor at the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office, Veselin Vuckovic, said that the work of the State Prosecutor’s is measured, in a most picturesque way, by the quality of prosecutorial decisions, updating the previous stage of the criminal proceedings, well-developed capacity building and training of prosecutorial staff.
“When it comes to quality of work, the indictment of state prosecutors in the judicial review proceedings, over 97 percent were confirmed, and during the preliminary examination procedure indictments, almost 100 percent. In terms of timeliness of investigations, investigations in complex cases for the most serious crimes, corruption and organized crime, last up to five months “, said Vuckovic.
He believes that, in terms of capacity, it justifies the establishment of the Secretariat of the Special Prosecutorial Council and State Prosecutor’s Office, in particular organized crime and corruption.
National Conference is the final part of the project “Monitoring the reform of the judiciary.”