The victims of police brutality in Zlatarska Street in Podgorica, Branimir Vukčević and Momčilo Baranin, will be submitting an application to the European Court of Human Rights against Montenegro as they continue to be victims of human rights violation due to ineffective investigation. The Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica failed to execute Constitutional Court decisions and investigate the police ill-treatment against Vukčević and Baranin at the level of the minimum European standard.
The Basic State Prosecutor’s Office submitted to the Constitutional Court a report on the enforcement measures following the decisions of the Court ordering state prosecution to take “appropriate actions and measures within three months to execute a thorough, efficient and independent investigation, which would provide for the identification and prosecution of police officers of the Montenegrin Police Directorate – Special Anti-Terrorist Unit – who committed the criminal offense of abuse on 24 October 2015” and to submit the report on the execution of the decisions.
The report, submitted by the Constitutional Court to the injured parties, shows formalistic approach of the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in the execution of court decisions, and appears only as the attempt to present the state prosecutor’s previous inadequate performance as the greatest possible achievement of the investigation of this case. This approach has in fact been supported by the Supreme State Prosecutor, because in the letter of the 20th of October 2017 to the President of the Constitutional Court, he stated that he himself was undertaking some legal action in the case. Therefore, we conclude that the state prosecution as a whole has no capacity to provide for an investigation of perpetrators of criminal offences in the police in line with the European minimum standard of human rights.
In their commentary on the prosecution’s report sent to the Constitutional Court and the Supreme State Prosecutor, the victims pointed to the basic shortcoming in the investigation – the failure of the state prosecutor to critically examine police reports on the event, as required by the standard established in the practice of the European Court of Human Rights. The Basic State Prosecutor’s Office thus failed to properly conduct examination of the members of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit, to provide for a forensic examination of the video recording of the beating, to examine who was in charge of the police vehicles shown on the video, to examine contradictory reports and testimonies of the police representatives on the incident, including the claim that “the service for recording the realized communications in the TETRA system (police communication) did not work”, etc. The Basic State Prosecutor’s Office also did not show any interest in the claims of Milenko Kićović, who in October publicly announced that he was also abused by the police in the same street and at the same time as Vukčević and Baranin, and that was reported in the media.
Finally, we are not neglecting the fact that the Police Directorate acted like they were mocking the investigation, not ready to investigate the perpetrators of criminal offenses among those who are still its officers and actively apply official authority in Montenegro. We consider this fact as a continuing and frightening failure of the Government to ensure the rule of law, and we expect the European Court of Human Rights and other bodies of the Council of Europe to clearly state this, based on the complaint of the injured Vukčević and Baranin.
The following documents are available for download: the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office report to the Constitutional Court, the commentary of the report by the injured parties, as well as a a letter from the Supreme State Prosecutor to the President of the Constitutional Court, which we received on the basis of a request for free access to information.