Human Rights Action (HRA) welcomes progress in the investigation of torture in the case of the investigation of “bombing attack” in relation to Marko Boljević. The Basic State Prosecutor in Podgorica, Romina Vlahović, recently accused five officers of the Police Administration from the Podgorica Security Center (SC) of extorting Boljević’s testimony on May 25, 2020 in the Podgorica SC. Boljević reported torture in the same way as Grujičić and Mugoša, electro-shocks to genitals and thighs, beating with boxing gloves, baseball bats and hands in the upper part of his body and on the soles of the feet, life threats with a gun pointed to his head, insults and humiliation. He claimed that during the interrogation, his torturers played loud music from a large speaker to drown out screams.
In the case of torture reports in the Podgorica SC filed by Benjamin Mugoša and Jovan Grujičić, which were also confirmed by medical documentation, no one has been charged yet.
HRA considers the recent decision of the Basic State Prosecutor in Podgorica, Maja Knežević, to dismiss criminal charges against all ten reported officers of the Police Directorate under whose jurisdiction Jovan Grujičić was the whole all day on 26 May 2020, when medical findings confirmed his ill-treatment, as the defeat of the rule of law. Prosecutor Knežević concluded that it was “obvious” that NONE of the reported officers, who questioned Grujičić and were constantly in charge of him, had tortured him because they did not confess and he did not recognize them because they were masked. Such conclusion is, unfortunately, an expected outcome of the otherwise ineffective investigation of this case, conducted slowly and without the necessary critical distance towards members of the Police.
HRA highlights that the state prosecutor Knežević determined that:
The list of suspects included Milos Vučinić, head of the Criminal Police Department in the SC of Podgorica, and Srđan Korać, head of the Criminal Police Station for Suppression of Blood Crimes and Domestic Violence, as well as inspectors Vukašin Leković, Dalibor Ljekočević, Bojan Vujačić, Nemanja Vujošević, Radoman Vujičić, Miodrag Jovović, Ivan Peruničić and Ljubisav Striković who dealt with Grujičić and his case on the day he was tortured in the SC Podgorica. Their names have become known thanks to the Council for Civil Control of Police, which submitted the documentation of the Police Administration regarding the deprivation of liberty to Jovan Grujičić’s mother.
In the investigation of the so-called „bombing attacks“, the Police officers of Podgorica SC, by extorting testimonies from Marko Boljević, Benjamin Mugosa and Jovan Grujičić, tried to blame innocent people for the crime they did not commit, and thus protect those who had done it. However, due to circumstances beyond the reach of the police, both suspects in the “bombing attacks”, Benjamin Mugoša and Jovan Grujičić were acquitted of all suspicion of having planted bombs, Judge Nenad Vujanović in the case of the accused Grujičić while acquitting him assessed that his testimony had been extorted, and medical experts determined that the victims were tortured with blows and electro-shocks. Foreign experts, hired by the HRA with the help of the UN Fund for Victims of Torture, in detailed reports for Boljević and Grujičić, beside physical torture, determined the existence of post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence.
HRA expects from the Police Director Zoran Brđanin and the Acting Supreme State Prosecutor Maja Jovanović, concrete, impartial and thorough actions in the direction of punishing this triple torture case and preventing the Montenegrin police from continuing to abuse people and extort testimonies.
HRA recalls that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) warned in its two previous reports that “the use of ill-treatment is an accepted practice among crime inspectors” as wall as of complaints of unacceptable use of „electro-shocks“, and that they found “non-standard objects” such as baseball bats in the Podgorica SC.
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), an organization that brings together 160 centers for the rehabilitation of torture victims in 76 countries, announced in August 2021 that “The State investigation and medico-legal evaluations conducted into the alleged torture of Jovan Grujičić and Marko Boljević are incompatible with the obligation to carry out an effective investigation into acts of torture under Article 12 of the Convention Against Torture, as defined by the Istanbul Protocol”.
HRA reported this case also to the UN Committee against Torture, which will soon consider the situation in Montenegro.
An effective investigation into allegations of torture in this case was previously demanded by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Mr. Nils Melzer, and the Vice- Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Elina Steinerte, as well as the coordinator of the UN system Montenegro, Fiona McCluney, the European Commission and the embassies of the United States and Great Britain.
 “The Montenegrin authorities must recognise that the existence of ill-treatment by police officers is a fact, that it is not the result of a few rogue officers but appears to be an accepted practice within the current police culture, notably among crime inspectors.” CPT Report on the visit to Montenegro in 2017, para. 14, published in Strasbourg on 7 February 2019 (https://rm.coe.int/1680925987 ).
 “Montenegro: State Authorities Must Address Failure to Investigate Torture”, IRCT, 13 August 2021, available at: https://www.irct.org/media-and-resources/latest-news/article/1106