24 Sep 14
Montenegro to Form Prosecution to Hunt ‘Big Fish”
Montenegro is establishing a special prosecutor’s office for organized crime and corruption as part of a drive to improve the country’s battered image on the path to EU membership.
Montenegro has decided to establish a special prosecution office for organized crime and corruption, war crimes and human trafficking – to prove that it is a serious candidate for membership of the European Union.
Justice Minister Dusko Markovic on Monday admitted that the ex-Yugoslav republic has a problem with organized crime and corruption, announcing the establishment of a special prosecutor’s organization, modeled on Croatia’s efficient USKOK office.
The government has already prepared a draft law on the special prosecutor’s office, which could be adopted by the end of the year. The new law provides for the formation of a separate unit with the Chief Special Prosecutor as the head.
The special unit will be established within the police whose officers will act only on the orders of the Special Prosecutor.
The aim of the new organization, the government says, is to consolidate all criminal processes for the most serious crimes, with a special emphasis “on corruption at high political level”.
Montenegro already has a special unit for organized crime and corruption as part of the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office, but EU reports have often criticized its efficiency.
Montenegro has been told to fight organised crime and corruption more effectively and arrest some “big fish” as part of the accession process.
The latest EU Progress Report on Montenegro, in October 2013, repeated assessments of “a worrying situation in the area of corruption and organized crime”.
Minister Markovic promises a “society in which criminals will not be able to make the institutions powerless.
“Formalism, a bureaucratic approach, professional distance and vanity, working only during working hours, all put us at a disadvantage in relation to the bearers of organized crime,” he added.
However, not all local watchdogs are impressed. One organization, the Alternativa Institute, on Tuesday said the proposed solutions did not correspond to the actual needs.
“This bill does not even reflect the slightest desire to actually improve the Special Prosecutor’s Office, but only to have some ‘cosmetic’ reforms,” the organization said.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)