Constitutional Court of Montenegro applied practice of the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

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Belgrade, December 23, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Adnan Prekic

Citizens of Montenegro are mostly addressing the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for the protection of their right to a fair trial. In addition, a large number of applications that refer to war reparations and due debts are related to the foreign currency savings deposits in the banks of the former Yugoslavia. Representatives of the Venice Commission suggested that the Constitutional Court of Montenegro use the practices of the European Court of Justice, in order for appeals procedures to end at national level.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, last year alone, received 1,062 complaints against the state of Montenegro. The applications were submitted by citizens, companies and non-governmental organizations on the basis of Article 34 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. During 2013, from the 700 complaints 671 of them were rejected as unfounded or deleted from the list. In 19 cases the European Court found a violation of at least one of the Convention rights.

Although Montenegro Courts do not have to deal with such a large number of complaints, representatives of international organizations urged the Constitutional Court of the country to resolve a large number of such complaints. Representatives of international organizations recently on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Constitutional Court, have called for greater implementation of practice of the court in Strasbourg. They recommend for the Constitutional Courts to be “small” Strasbourg-based courts, because the aim of the European Convention on Human Rights is to be applied primarily to inner, national new constitutional-legal practice.

The European Union sets challenging standards for the Constitutional Courts – to become “small” Strasbourg courts in the Member States of the Council of Europe.

Representatives of the Venice Commission suggested that one should not reject the possibility that the Constitutional Court abolishes the judgment of the ordinary courts. The laws on constitutional courts in the states of the region must be harmonised with the European acquis.

Judge of the European Court of Human Rights in Montenegro Nebojsa Vucinic, urged the court in Montenegro to co-operate in the implementation of the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights. “Rather than spending energy on useless disputes about who is whose hierarchical superior, here is the real question – who will better apply the standards of the European Court”, said Vucinic.

The large number of citizens complaints that have been submitted have argued that they had been denied the right to a fair trial. Part of the appeal refers to the claims of citizens on their bank deposits of the former Yugoslavia. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early nineties, people who had deposits in a banks whose states have split off from Yugoslavia, lost their savings. The state has compensated the largest part of the money, but some of the cases have ended up in court.

Source: Independent Balkan News Agency (Montenegro)