Montenegro has made progress in the application of standards of effectiveness of investigations into acts of torture, but it is necessary to improve the quality of reasoning of court decisions, eradicate the misconduct by police officers, and reduce abuse, as was concluded at the Conference "Standards of Effective Investigations of Torture in Montenegro" organised by The European Union Delegation to Montenegro and the Council of Europe Programme Office in Podgorica.
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment presented a new report at the beginning of the year recognising the significant progress made by Montenegro in that area. The Report also stated that, despite some improvement in the treatment of individuals held by the police, the abuse has continued to be widespread. The Committee noted, inter alia, that further coordinated action is needed in order to resolve the constantly recurring issue of misconduct by police officers.
The EU Delegation to Montenegro Head of Cooperation Sector, Herman Spitz, said that the quality of judicial decisions in Montenegro has improved by increasing the reference to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, which is particularly evident in the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the higher courts.
"However, there is still room for improvement in the application of the European Court of Human Rights standards in everyday practice, as well as improving the quality of the reasons for the decisions. Ineffective investigations, as well as the failure in timely justice, sabotage an efficient and independent system of judicial authorities and endanger peoples’ lives," said Spitz and expressed his belief that, through the joint EU and Council of Europe programmes, even better results in this area will be seen in the future.
Angela Longo, the Head of the Programme Office of the Council of Europe in Podgorica, agreed that, after three years of the project, it can be concluded that much work has been done in the field of the application of the standards of effectiveness of investigations, but that there was still work left in this area.
The President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro, Dragoljub Draskovic, said that the Constitutional Court made significant steps in applying the standards of the effectiveness of investigations.
"We have undoubtedly accepted and proclaimed the values and principles on which the modern European order is based, in which the right to life, prohibition of torture, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is based as one of the most important rights of a democratic societies," Draskovic said. He recalled that in his recent practice in three cases concerning the events of 24 October 2015 in Podgorica, the Constitutional Court found a violation of the right to dignity and the inviolability of a person.
The project, which lasted for three years, was funded by the European Union, and through project activities the capacities of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers was strengthened in order to apply human rights standards in their everyday work more efficiently.
The conference was organised within the framework of the project "Combating Abuse and Impunity and Strengthening the Application of the European Court of Human Rights at the National Level" implemented by the Council of Europe within the framework of the Joint Programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe "Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey."