19 Sep 14
Montenegro to Jail Fighters in Foreign Wars
Montenegro plans to jail citizens who take part in foreign conflicts – and those who recruit them – for five to ten years.
Parliament in Podgorica, after it opens in autumn, is likely to pass an opposition motion to toughen the penalties for Montenegrins who take part in armed conflicts outside the country.
With an eye on reports of Balkan Muslims fighting in the Middle East, an MP from the opposition Democratic Front, Zoran Miljanic, has proposed an amendment to the criminal code that requires that “anyone who participates in paramilitary and terrorist organizations’ training, as well as in military conflicts outside of the country, to be punished by up to five years in prison”.
The opposition wants jail sentences up to 10 years for those who “encourage and engage” citizens of Montenegro in military conflicts outside state borders.
The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, DPS, has said it would support the initiative and vote for the new bill.
Referring to the latest CIA report, Radio Free Europe on Tuesday reported that about 30 volunteers from Montenegro were fighting for Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
The report also said several hundred jihadists from a number of Balkan countries have joined the extremist group in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said it had no exact data on how many Montenegrin citizens were currently in Syria and Iraq. It is also unknown whether Montenegrins are fighting in the conflict in Ukraine.
“Montenegro should discourage and prevent involvement in such acts of terrorism. For such people there should be sanctions that include criminal responsibility,” Miljanic said in an explanation sent to the Assembly on Wednesday.
The perpetrators of such crimes, Miljanic added, pose a “huge threat” to the religious and ethnic harmony in Montenegro, he added.
Most Montenegrins are Orthodox Christians. However, the country is also home to a significant minority of Muslim Albanians and Bosniaks.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)