Verdicts in war crimes cases were inconsistent with international law. Defamation was decriminalized. Roma from Kosovo remained without personal documentation.
In December, the European Council agreed that talks on Montenegro’s accession to the European Union could begin in June 2012. They requested the European Commission to report on the implementation of measures related to the rule of law and fundamental rights, including combating corruption and organized crime.Top of page
Verdicts in war crimes cases were inconsistent with international human rights and humanitarian law. Senior officials were rarely indicted.
The Law on the Ombudsperson, adopted in July, empowered the Ombudsperson’s Office to act as the National Preventive Mechanism, with authority to conduct unannounced visits to places of detention, in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. The Ombudsperson reported in July on overcrowding and inadequate detention conditions in almost all police stations. In November, six NGOs were authorized by the Ministry of Justice to monitor prisons and other institutions for possible violations including torture and other ill-treatment.
In May, police officer Zoran Bulatović fatally shot Aleksandar Pejanović, allegedly after an argument. The trial was ongoing at the end of the year.Top of page
Defamation was decriminalized in June; the Supreme Court had ruled in March that levels of non-pecuniary compensation in such cases should not exceed European Court of Human Rights standards. Journalists continued to receive threats.
In June, the Administrative Court annulled the Ministry of Justice’s 2010 decision prohibiting the NGO Human Rights Action from accessing information on the investigation of 14 human rights cases. However, the NGO had still not received the information by December. The cases included unresolved political killings and attacks on journalists and human rights defenders.Top of page
The Ombudsperson’s Office began to review complaints under the Anti-Discrimination Law in August but lacked experienced staff. Twenty complaints were submitted in 2011.
In March, youths attacked an anti-homophobia concert with tear gas; two people were later assaulted. Organizers cancelled the Podgorica Pride planned for March; the Minister for Human and Minority Rights had refused to support the Pride and continued to make homophobic remarks. He was removed from office at the end of the year.
Based on national census data, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, estimated that at least 4,312 people, 1,600 of whom were predominantly Roma refugees, were at risk of statelessness.
Montenegro’s implementation of the Strategy to Improve the Status of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Population was identified as a priority by the European Commission, but municipalities were slow to use funds allocated for Roma housing.Top of page
Approximately 9,367 internally displaced people, including 2,994 Roma and Ashkali from Kosovo, and 3,504 displaced persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, remained in Montenegro. Only 54 returned to Kosovo in 2011.
By 29 December, from 3,780 internally displaced people who applied, 1,957 acquired the status of “foreigner with permanent residence”. Only around 150 Kosovo Roma met the November application deadline, which was extended until December 2012; few possessed personal documentation, including passports, required to obtain residency.
Under an Action Plan agreed with the European Commission to provide durable solutions for Roma and Ashkali from Kosovo, plans were developed to demolish camps at Konik in Podgorica and replace them with adequate housing.
Only three out of 235 asylum-seekers, mostly from north Africa, were granted subsidiary protection.Top of page