SOCIETY – HRA – OMBUDSMAN
Gorjanc Prelević – 2009 repeats itself
Podgorica, (MINA) – Devastating is the fact that the history repeats itself at the end of 2015 as the Montenegrin president, Filip Vujanović, continues to treat the election of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms – the Ombudsman –unlawfully and without substantial interest in this important institution, Human Rights Action (HRA) believes.
HRA executive director, Tea Gorjanc Prelević, said that the decision of Vujanović to delegate the consultations with the NGOs on the one and only candidate, Šućko Baković, who has been holding this position for the past 6 years, to the Ministry of Human Rights and Freedoms was contrary to the Law on the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Gorjanc Prelević explained that this Law provided that “in the process of proposing candidates for the Ombudsman, the President of Montenegro shall consult the scientific and specialized institutions and non-governmental organizations whose main activity is protection of human rights and freedoms”.
Ms Gorjanc Prelević reminded that in 2009 several NGOs protested when Baković was appointed Ombudsman, as Vujanović back then also proposed the Montenegrin Parliament a candidate for the protector of Human Rights and Freedoms without prior harmonization of the Law with the Constitution, and without consultation with representatives of civil sector and scientific institutions.
„The Constitution prescribes that the Protector is an autonomous and independent body, so it would be logical that his/her independence is secured by the election process, which is not the case, as the opposition parties cannot affect this election“, Gorjanc Prelević stated for the MINA Agency.
She said that the Venice Commission criticised in 2007 such constitutionally prescribed manner of election, considering “questionable” the solution that the President of the country proposes the candidate, and criticizing the fact that the Parliament elects the Protector by a simple, rather than a qualified majority, for fear that in this way the person who would act autonomously and independently, especially in relation to the executive branch, would not be elected.
“HRA proposed accordingly, to no avail, amending the manner of election of the Ombudsman before the Parliament through amending the Constitution and thus enabling that s/he be elected by a 2/3 majority of votes”, Gorjanc Prelević said.
She believes that Vujanović, had he really wanted to overcome the failures in the procedure for the election of the Ombudsman and ensure the legitimacy of this institution, would have conducted extensive consultations in accordance with the Law, in order to enable the performance of Baković for the past six years to be objectively reviewed, and verify that there are other people in Montenegro who would perhaps improve the operation of his these institutions in the forthcoming six years.
“We can only repeat the conclusion from the press release of HRA and nine other NGOs and Saša Zeković from 2009 – that we are aware we cannot change arbitrary selections of the ruling political elite in Montenegro, but we want a written track to remain that we protested against the manner of election of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms under the exclusive jurisdiction of the ruling political coalition without taking into account the positions of the professional public in accordance with the law”, Gorjanc Prelević said.