Human Rights Action filed a total of 15 amendment proposals to the Government’s Draft Action Plan for monitoring the implementation of recommendations of the European Commission.
Statistically, 9 proposals have been fully adopted (60%), 2 proposals have been partially adopted (13%), while 4 proposals (26%) have not been adopted.
We are particularly encouraged by the obligation of competent authorities (President of the Supreme Court, Supreme State Prosecutor and Director of the Police Department) to prepare a Report on investigation of cases of violence against journalists. We expect this report to include cases of death threats to investigator of human rights violations, Aleksandar Zekovic, and the attack on writer Jevrem Brkovic and murder of his bodyguard, Srdjan Vojicic, as they were obviously at risk because of the freedom of speech, and their cases have not been investigated effectively.
HRA proposals that have not been adopted are: 1) introduction of two new criminal offenses so as to equalize the protection of journalists and state officials, 2) amendments to the Media law by introducing the standards of the European Court of Human Rights in order to facilitate their implementation by both journalists and judges. We will continue to insist on these proposals, since the optional training of judges on the standards of freedom of expression, as provided in the Action Plan and implemented in Montenegro thus far, and the responsibility of Supreme Court to “adopt the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in respect of the amount of non-pecuniary damages for breach of honor and reputation done through the media”, are not sufficient to ensure the implementation of all relevant standards of freedom of expression and privacy rights in practice.
Other HRA proposals that have not been adopted are: 3) analysis of all human rights guarantees provided in the Constitution and consideration of proposals for their improvement, taking into account the opinion of the Venice Commission on the Constitution of Montenegro, 4) analysis of the legal guarantees against discrimination of persons of homosexual orientation and transgender persons, and proposal of amendments in accordance with the standards of the European Court of Human Rights. We remind that, immediately after the adoption of the Constitution, HRA proposed its amendments in terms of strengthening the independence of the judiciary (which has been adopted in the Action Plan), but also in terms of specifying the guarantees of freedom of expression, the right to effective legal remedy, the right to appeal to a court in any case of deprivation of liberty, the immediate implementation of international treaties on human rights in any case, so as to bring these guarantees to the level of the former Charter of Human Rights of Serbia and Montenegro. We believe that improving the constitutional guarantees of human rights for all people in Montenegro should not cause political obstruction of any party and that achieving a two-thirds MPs majority for this purpose would not be a problem. As far as LGBT population rights, the adoption of Anti-discrimination Law has been an important step, yet insufficient. Discrimination of homosexual partners in relation to the common-law (cohabiting) partners is unjustified, and this issue must be regulated in accordance with European standards, sooner or later.