The head of the NGO Human Rights Action says public faith in Montenegrin justice is weakening – shown by the rising number of citizens’ appeals to the European Court of Human Rights.

Montenegrin Judiciary Risks Losing Public Trust, Rights Activist Warns

Head of the Human Rights Action Tea Gorjanc Prelevic (left) at a press conference. Photo: PR Centar

Montenegro’s judiciary risks losing public trust as the number of appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, ECHR, rise, the head of Human Rights Action, an NGO, Tea Gorjanc Prelevic, said.

In its 2021 report on the country, the court pointed out that Montenegro was the source of the largest number of applications made in relation to population size in the region.

It said that Montenegro had submitted 6.14 applications per 10,000 of the country’s population. In Serbia, the figure was 2.90, in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.39, in North Macedonia 1.90 and in Croatia 1.73.

Gorjanc Prelevic said that, according to the report, distrust in the Montenegrin judiciary is rising as people don’t believe it provides them with justice.

“The number of appeals to Strasbourg has certainly occurred because the Constitutional Court is inefficient; it hasn’t been resolving constitutional appeals for three years or more, and some of them are very urgent in nature. At least 20 constitutional complaints have not yet been resolved, some from 2017 and 2018,” Gorjanc Prelevic told BIRN.

“We cannot know whether [all] these complaints [to the court] are well-founded. Statistics show that most often they are not, because Strasbourg rejects a large number of them,” she added.

In last year’s Progress Report, the European Commission noted that no real progress had been made in Montenegro in the area of the judiciary, and implementation of key judicial reforms was stagnating.

“Independence and professionalism of the judiciary need to be further strengthened. Montenegro continues to make efforts on the efficiency of the judiciary, but human, financial and infrastructure management has still not improved,” it said in the report.

On November 14, Montenegro’s representative to the court in Strasbourg, Valentina Pavlicic, said that in the past two years Montenegro held the regional record for the number of lawsuits in relation to the number of inhabitants. She said that 137 such cases had been resolved before the Strasbourg court and 268 are pending.

According to a poll conducted on December 14 by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights, CEDEM, only 27,8 per cent of the country’s population have faith in the judiciary.


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