On Friday, 16 February, the 3-member Chamber of the Basic Court in Podgorica abolished the decision of the judge of that court who had previously supported Goran Djurovic’s injunction request and ordered the Parliament of Montenegro to reinstate him as member of the RTCG Council until final court decision. The Chamber established that the ordinary court has jurisdiction to decide on Djurovic’s claim against the Parliament, but found there was no basis for the injunction in the particular case. The court found that the injunction would represent too much of the anticipated result of the case. (The reasoning of the Chamber’s decision is available at the web site of the court in Montenegrin language: http://sudovi.me/ospg/odnosi-sa-javnoscu/saopstenja/).
In the meantime, the Montenegrin Parliament refused to implement the court’s decision on the injunction within set deadline, although the injunction order could not be halted by filing of appeal, and the deputies of the ruling party publicly commented that the court cannot be competent to judge decisions of the Parliament. HRA considers that the Parliament’s ignorance of court decisions in both Djurovic and Vukcevic’s cases at the level of principle is a historical scandal, sending a very harmful message – that court decisions do not have to be respected as long as the political majority says so. This message leads to anarchy and is contrary to the very essence of the rule of law.
The part of the decision of the Chamber of the Basic Court in Podgorica, which confirmed the competence of the Basic court to decide on claims against the decisions of the Parliament of Montenegro, is very important for legal certainty. This is particularly so given alarming statements of the ruling party’s MPs who claimed quite the contrary.
Nevertheless, HRA considers that the Chamber of the Basic Court in Podgorica failed to provide for effective legal protection by quashing the injunction order. The Chamber directed Djurovic to wait for the final verdict on legality of his dismissal from the RTCG Council for a couple of years, which renders such legal protection entirely pointless.
In other words, the Chamber of the Basic Court allowed the ruling parties to complete their political agenda and unlawfully remove politically disliked members of the RTCG Council in time for presidential elections in Montenegro (due on 15 April 2018), while at the same time allowing in principle for judicial protection against decisions of Parliament once such justice becomes completely useless.
HRA finds the reasons for quashing the injunction order unfounded and violating the basic rights of Goran Djurovic. His lawyer Dalibor Tomovic will now promptly appeal to the Constitutional Court of Montenegro and request that court to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Goran Djurovic’s to effective remedy, prohibition of discrimination and freedom of expression.
HRA provides legal assistance to Goran Djurovic with the support of the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) from London.