2/5/2017 CONSTITUTIONAL APPEAL DUE TO INEFFECTIVE INVESTIGATION OF TORTURE AGAINST MARTINOVIĆ

Kategorija / Category: saopštenja

napad na MartinovićaNGO Human Rights Action lodged a constitutional appeal (in Montenegrin) for Milorad Mijo Martinović due to ineffective investigation of police torture he suffered in Podgorica on 24 October 2015, after the end of the protest organized by the political coalition Democratic Front.

That night around 11 p.m., Martinović was in his vehicle with two friends when he was stopped by the police in the Jovana Tomasevica street, near the building of the Police Headquarters. At least thirty police officers participated in the demolition of his vehicle and torture against him, when he was inflicted with serious bodily injuries. A video record of this incident was published on the Internet the same evening.

Although the State provided Martinović with compensation for this incident, it failed to provide effective investigation and punishment of all police officers who abused public authority and executed an absolutely forbidden act of torture. Only two members of the Special Police Anti-Terrorist Unit (SAJ) were prosecuted, who turned themselves in and confessed the crime, and their commander, for covering for the perpetrators of the crime of torture.

The constitutional complaint points out that in the past two years the state prosecution failed to take all necessary measures and actions to meet the European standard of effective investigation of torture. The investigation was ineffective because it did not meet the requirements of independence, impartiality, thoroughness, speed and control of the public, because the State Prosecutor’s Office, among other things:

  1. Transferred a large and substantial part of the investigation – the identification of perpetrators of abuse – to the same body whose representatives committed the crime, i.e. their

colleagues employed in the same body, who fall within the same chain of command;

  1. Failed toallow the victim and witnessesto recognise police officers – members of SAJ or other police units, although Martinović in his statement emphasised that he could

recognise at least one and that, while beating, some police officers addressed him in a specific accent, he might have been able to recognise as well;

  1. Except for their interviews with the state prosecutor, neither Martinović nor other witnesses were invited to participate in any other investigative actions;
  2. Except for invitation to participate as witness in the trial of the two members of SAJ and the commander of SAJ, Martinović was never informed of any progress in the investigation and he had been informed through the media of the indictments against members of SAJ.

The complaint emphasises the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Cestaro v. Italy, in which the Court, in a similar case in which the majority of the direct perpetrators of police brutality remain undiscovered because they were masked, found a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and prohibition of torture due to ineffective investigation and expressed regret that the members of the Italian police who conducted torture were allowed to escape justice. In that judgment, it was determined that the failure of public authorities to establish the identity of members of the security forces who carried out the assault had been a violation of the Convention. It was also stressed that the state must provide clear labelling of members of security services, particularly in operations in which they participate masked.

The Constitutional appeal requires from the Constitutional Court to, in accordance with its competence under Article 75 and 76 of the Law on the Constitutional Court: a) determine that in this case the prohibition of torture was violated also regarding lack of effective investigation, and b) order the State Prosecutor’s Office to take appropriate measures and actions which should ensure adequate investigation and remedy already incurred harmful consequences or remove future consequences of the violation of human rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Tea Gorjanc-Prelevic, HRA executive director: “We filed this constitutional complaint not only for Milorad Martinović but also for all other citizens of Montenegro who believe that the rule of law in this case was not achieved by processing only two volunteers and SAJ commander for covering the crime. If justice can easily be omitted in the case where there is video record of police torture and the number of police officers who participated in it, how could we expect justice in other cases where there is no such record?! We expect from the Constitutional Court to assess the conduct of the public prosecutor and the police in the investigation of torture against Martinović through the prism of international standards and  determine violation of human rights on the absolute prohibition of torture due to a lack of adequate criminal justice.”

Students volunteers gathered in the NGO Adamas Iustitia helped Human Rights Action draft the constitutional appeal.