On behalf of NGO LGBT Forum Progres and NGO Hiperion, NGO Human Rights Action (HRA) filed constitutional complaint (in Montenegrin) against the judgement of the Supreme Court of Montenegro from September 2016, upholding the decision of the Police and Ministry of Interior Affairs on a temporary ban of the „Academic walk of pride“ in September 2015.
HRA claims the Supreme Court violated the right to freedom of assembly and prohibition of discrimination i.e. equality before the law, to the members of NGO LGBT Forum Progres and Hiperion, contrary to the Constitution of Montenegro, European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms and International Covenant on Civil and Political rights.
LGBT Forum Progres and Hiperion, organisations promoting the rights and freedoms of LGBTIQ persons, in July 2015 filed notification with the Police for peaceful assembly entitled “Academic walk of pride” on 18 September 2015 in Nikšić. The Chief of Security Centre in Nikšić passed the decision on a temporary ban of the assembly, estimating it as too big security risk. This decision was confirmed by the Ministry of Interior Affairs. The Administrative Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by HRA on behalf of the organisers, and the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Administrative Court. The walk has not been held to date, although its organisers expressed willingness to agree with the Police on both date and venue.
The decisions prohibiting the event contained no convincing reasons for supposedly high security risk of the planned event, and it was especially not explained why the Police was unable to respond to such a risk, as it had previously responded twice in Podgorica and once in Budva, providing for similar pride parades to take place.
On the same day when the “Academic walk of pride” was banned, the Yugoslav Communist Party was allowed to organise another event, although members of that Party, as well as members of some football fan groups, threatened members of NGO LGBT Forum Progres and Hiperion. Besides the obvious discrimination of organizers of the prohibited walk, a particular reason of concern is that Police filed no criminal charges in relation to the threats, but found the solution in prohibiting peaceful gathering of potential victims of violence.
We expect that the Constitutional Court will implement standards of the European Court of Human Rights to which HRA, LGBT Forum Progres and Hiperion have unsuccessfully referred in the previous procedure before the Ministry of Interior Affairs and courts, and that by adopting the appeal the Constitutional Court will assert that Montenegro is obliged to ensure the right to peaceful assembly also to those people with whose views not everybody agrees, including groups ready for violence.
Tea Gorjanc Prelević, HRA executive director
Bojana Jokić, president of the Management Board, NGO LGBT Progres
Ksenija Rakočević, president of the Management Board, NGO Hiperion