15/12/2017 PROSECUTOR TO EFFICIENTLY REACT UPON OMBUDSMAN’S OPINION OF ABUSE OF PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS IN DOBROTA

Kategorija / Category: saopštenja

Human Rights Action (HRA) expects the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Kotor to take all necessary steps to urgently prosecute medical technician with the Special Psychiatric Hospital in Kotor – Dobrota,  following the Ombudsman’s finding of abuse of six patients at the beginning of March 2016. HRA reminds that the State Prosecutor’s Office is obliged to conduct an independent, impartial, urgent and thorough investigation of complaints on acts of torture, according to international human rights standards that are binding Montenegro. This obligation is of particular importance when torture is committed by civil servants, such as medical workers, police officers or prison guards, to persons deprived of their liberty, who are therefore particularly vulnerable, as were patients abused in Dobrota.

The suspect for the criminal offence of Ill-treatment, from the moment of initiation of an investigation must be suspended from performing any duty in the institution.

In every particular case, it is necessary to provide a zero tolerance level for torture, as Montenegro promised to provide to international organisations.

To that end, in June 2017, HRA and Center for Women and Peace Education ANIMA in the report “Respect for human rights of patients placed in psychiatric institutions in Montenegro” gave the following recommendations to the Director of the Psychiatric Hospital in Kotor:

  • continually remind employees, especially nurses and technicians, that every aspect of psychological and physical abuse of patients is absolutely prohibited and will be sanctioned;
  • prescribe the protocol on the procedure to follow in case of receiving information about ill-treatment;
  • establish practice to report to the state prosecutor cases of patients’ injuries indicating suspicion of possible ill-treatment, also when the patient him/herself does not complain, in order to enable proper investigation of the case.

HRA and ANIMA during the project “Beyond exclusion – effective rights for mental health patients”, supported by the EU and Kotor Municipality, since the beginning of 2016 to June 2017, received three complaints of allegations of possible ill-treatment of patients by hospital staff at the Special Psychiatric Hospital in Kotor, discussed in more detail in the report. We reported these allegations to the Director of the Hospital, who could not confirm them.

Conclusions and recommendations of the report “Respect for human rights of patients placed in psychiatric institutions in Montenegro” in English are available here and may be obtained, upon request, in hard copy as well.