Human Rights Action (HRA) welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro which established that Braslav Borozan’s right was violated under Article 28 of the Constitution of Montenegro and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment – because there was no urgent investigation into his report of ill-treatment and torture against police officers at the Security Center in Podgorica on the night of 9 October 2015. Borozan was represented by a lawyer Dalibor Tomović on behalf of HRA.
The Constitutional Court found that the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica failed to fulfill its positive obligation under procedural aspect of prohibition of torture and act urgently on charges against police officers, because it took the state prosecutor (Mr. Vukas Radonjic) a total of 3 years and 6 months to decide on that charge (from 12 October 2015 to 19 April 2019). The legal deadline for the State Prosecutor’s Office to decide in such a case is one month.
The Constitutional Court himself made the decision after more than three years from the submission of the constitutional complaint.
In addition to finding a violation with regard to inefficient investigation, the Constitutional Court concluded that the investigation was thorough and impartial. Also, the Court did not find a violation of the substantive aspect of Article 3 of the Convention, as it it found that the allegations of police ill-treatment had not been proved “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
HRA considers those findings by the Constitutional Court as unfounded.
Regarding the “thoroughness” of the investigation, the Constitutional Court chose to ignore the fact that the state prosecutor did not immediately request the recordings from the Security Center room where Borozan claimed the ill-treatment took place and that the state prosecutor’s office unjustifiably took a passive and submissive attitude towards the Police Directorate.
Concerning “independence and impartiality”, the Constitutional Court did not consider that the same state prosecutor had acted both upon Borozan’s criminal charge against the police for ill-treatment and upon the police charge against him for assault on an official, contrary to the standards established in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Finally, the Constitutional Court based his conclusion that the abuse was insufficiently proven exclusively on the prosecutor’s conclusion rejecting the criminal charges against the police officers, despite the expert’s finding that Borozan had been beaten with a truncheon.
This is the fourth case in which the Constitutional Court of Montenegro has found a violation of the prohibition of torture by the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica upon constitutional complaints of the HRA. Previously, according to our complaints, it was determined that the investigation was not effectively conducted in the cases of Miodrag Mijo Martinović, Momčilo Baranin and Branimir Vukčević.
A more detailed statement and the decision of the Constitutional Court in Montenegrin are available here.