Montenegro: Creation of Special Prosecution’s Office on hold

By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica

One of the most important tasks of Montenegro in the negotiations with the European Union for this year will not be fulfilled. The creation of a special prosecutor’s office for organized crime and corruption by the end of the year was one of the most important tasks of Chapter 23: Judiciary and fundamental rights. From the Ministry of Justice it was announced that, at the request of the European Commission, the draft law was submitted to the Venice Commission for opinion and that is why the delay in the establishment of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption.

The special Prosecutor’s Office will not be, as scheduled, formed in November of 2014. Therefore, the opposition and civil society once again raised the question of whether the government has the political will to fight crime and corruption at the highest level. Justice Minister Dusko Markovic said that, at the request of the European Commission, the draft Law on Special Prosecution was submitted to the Venice Commission.

“Receiving the opinion of the Venice Commission was an unplanned stage in the process of making these laws, which will mean breaking the terms of action plans and programmes of the Government for 2014. However, we and our partners in the European Commission, believe that this time priority should be given to quality rather than speed”, said Markovic.

The rule of law remain the central theme of the future efforts of Montenegro towards the implementation of the negotiating agenda. Key suggestions of European partners are related to the need to strengthen the rule of law, freedom of the press and diligent respect for human rights. Most of these suggestions are only legally completed, while concrete and measurable results in these areas are still expected. Most of the problems were presented in the fulfillment of the Action Plan in chapter 23 and 24 that are relating to the rule of law and fundamental human rights. Some commitments that derive from the Action Plan are seriously delayed, but no official warning came from Brussels on the issue.

Montenegro is in a negotiation process with the European Union that has officially opened on July 1, 2012. Negotiations have been opened on the most demanding issues highlighted in chapters 23 and 24, which refer to the rule of law and fundamental human rights. In two years Montenegro has opened 12 negotiating chapters, of which chapter 25-Science and Research and 26 Culture and Education have been temporarily closed.

Source: Independent Balkan News Agency (Montenegro)