The Judicial Council of Montenegro has announced that at its last session, held on 7th February, it had elected judge Mihailo Anđelić as president of the Basic Court in Žabljak, although he had previously been elected to that position four times. By electing Mr. Anđelić for the fifth time as president of the same court, the Judicial Council acted contrary to the Law of the Judicial Council and Judges, which prohibits a person from being elected president of the same court more than twice (article 42, paragraph 1 ,,No-one may be elected president of the same court more than twice”).
HRA reminds that the Judicial Council illegally conducted the election of as many as six presidents of the basic courts and president of the Supreme Court last year, all of whom had already served the presidential term for at least two times or more in their respective courts. In that way, despite the legal limitation of two mandates, for the third mandate were appointed Milica Jovović, President of the Basic Court in Danilovgrad, Radule Piper, President of the Basic Court in Bijelo Polje, Hilmija Sujković, President of the Basic Court in Plav, Goran Šćepanović, President of the Basic Court in Bar, and Vesna Medenica, President of the Supreme Court, for whose re-election also exists the constitutional prohibition. Also, as presidents of the basic courts in Rožaje and in Kotor were elected judges Zahit Camić and Branko Vučković, who now serve as presidents for as many as six and eight mandate.
There is an ongoing dispute before Administrative Court based on the lawsuit filed by the judge Predrag Krstonijević, countercandidate of president Branko Vučković. Mr. Krstonijević has, inter alia, challenged the Judicial Council for breach of prohibition of excessive election of the same person as president of the same court.
The Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (Groupe d’Etats contre la corruption – GRECO) recommended to Montenegro to limit the excessive concentration of powers in the judiciary. GRECO had recently criticized in that sense the third election of Vesna Medenica as President of the Supreme Court, as well as the elections of other presidents of courts, which were appointed at least three times to the same functions.