Human Rights Action (HRA) and the Association “Goli Otok” have submitted to the Government of Montenegro i.e. Ministry of Justice, a proposal to launch an electronic petition entitled “Initiative for Adoption of a Law on Rehabilitation and Compensation of Victims of Political Persecution – Prisoners of Goli otok, Saint Grgur and other prisons” in order to ensure consideration of this initiative by the Government.
Within 20 working days the Ministry of Justice will evaluate whether the petition meets the requirements, and if accepted, the Ministry will publish it on the portal “Voice of Citizens – e-Petitions” and open it for voting. In order to be considered by the Government of Montenegro, the petition should gather 3000 signatures within 60 days from the date of its publication on the portal.
We expect the petition to be published on the portal “Voice of Citizens – e-Petitions” and that 3000 signatures will be gathered very soon, because three political parties (Civic Movement United Reform Action – URA, Democratic Alliance – DEMOS and Democratic Front) already supported the initiative, agreeing that it is about achieving justice for people whose rights have been fundamentally violated in the past.
We expect that this action will finally lead the Government to consider adoption of the law on the rehabilitation and compensation of political prisoners, bearing in mind that it has been at least 13 years overdue, since Montenegro’s declaration of independence.
We recall that the proposal to launch an electronic petition came after HRA submitted the same initiative to the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Duško Marković (Initiative for Adoption of a Law on Rehabilitation and Compensation of Victims of Political Persecution – Prisoners of Goli otok, Saint Grgur and other prisons), on 13 September this year, to which we received no reply two months since, although in 2013, while he held the position of Minister of Justice, Marković emphasized that the Ministry of Justice will deal with this issue, and the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro in 1992 declared in Declaration on Condemnation of Human Rights Violations and Abuse of Power pledged that “moral and legal satisfaction” for victims of “terror in the Goli Otok and other ill-kept prisons would be provided in Montenegro”.
The Association “Goli Otok” and HRA propose that the Government of Montenegro, through the Ministry of Justice, urgently begin drafting a law on the rehabilitation and compensation of persons deprived of their lives or liberty and other rights as political prisoners in the period from 9 May 1945 to 21 May 2006. The law would include the right to rehabilitation – annulment or invalidation of judgments, decisions and actions depriving those persons of their liberty and other rights for political reasons and compensation – compensation for damage they suffered. The rights prescribed by law would gain persons who would be recognized as political prisoners, that is, members of their families if those persons are no longer alive.
Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia adopted laws that allow former political prisoners to rehabilitate and compensate them and their families. It is devastating that Montenegro does not have such a law to this day, although Montenegrins made up 21.5% of the total number of prisoners, which was by far the largest in proportion to the population of the then Yugoslav republics.