They announce the imminent start of work on the formation of a special court: We will start after IBAR, it will take several years

The department headed by Andrej Milović says that the establishment of a special court is a "strategic project of the Montenegrin judiciary".

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He has been advocating the formation of a special court ever since he was State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice: Milović, Photo: BORIS PEJOVIC
He has been advocating the formation of a special court ever since he was State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice: Milović, Photo: BORIS PEJOVIC
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The Ministry of Justice announced to "Vijesti" the night before yesterday that the work on the establishment of a special court will follow after receiving the Report on the Assessment of the Fulfillment of Temporary Criteria (IBAR) in the negotiations with the EU, which is expected at the end of June, and that this work will last several years because, as said, for understandable reasons of complexity and the goal of achieving the highest quality and most efficient solution.

Within the jurisdiction of that court, the establishment of which was announced by the Minister of Justice on several occasions Andrej Milović, should be cases in the field of organized crime, high corruption and war crimes, that is, as the Ministry states, proceedings under the jurisdiction of the Special State Prosecutor's Office (STP).

The Ministry says that the formation of a special court is one of their most important long-term plans, that it represents a "strategic project of the Montenegrin judiciary", and that the basis for the establishment of that institution is found in the Law on Courts.

"The special court, when it starts working, will be crucial in the fight against organized crime and high corruption, because it will significantly improve the judicial system of our country", says the Ministry.

Milovicphoto: Boris Pejović

Milović has been advocating the idea of ​​a special court for two years, since the time he was the state secretary in the Ministry of Justice in the previous, 42nd Government. He claims that, due to the accumulated problems with organized crime and high corruption, it would be much more effective to form such a court, than to fight against these problems based on only one department of the regular court instance (the special department of the High Court in Podgorica).

"We need a new court, whose composition would be judged by the best judges that this country has, not excluding foreign experts in the fight against organized crime and high corruption, who would help in the work of the court. We need a powerful court, which would judge corrupt public officials, prosecutors and judges who have destroyed the institutional system of Montenegro for the last 30 years, degraded public morals and ethics, and provided themselves, their families and related persons with huge financial benefits..." , said Milović.

The establishment of a special court is also advocated by part of the non-governmental sector, which says that this court should decide both in criminal and civil proceedings, in order to be ready for confiscation of property without criminal conviction, based on Italy's experience.

"The conditions for the admission of judges to that court should be essentially the same as for the vetting - that the judge has no hidden assets or that persons connected to him do not have them, that he has no ties to organized crime and that he passed judgments in accordance with the law," she said. is the executive director of the Network for the Affirmation of the Non-Governmental Sector (MANS) at "Vijesta" in the fall Vanja Ćalović Marković.

Vanja Ćalović Marković
Vanja Ćalović Markovićphoto: Boris Pejović

The Ministry of Justice says that their current focus is on determining the laws that are key to obtaining IBAR and the final benchmarks in the negotiations with the EU. They state that these plans are based on concrete steps taken through work on the laws on the State Prosecutor's Office, on the Judicial Council and judges, on confiscation of property benefits obtained through criminal activity, on the prevention of corruption and on the Special State Prosecutor's Office, as well as "through intensive communication with international partners in this process, so that everything results in success".

"Work on the aforementioned laws, judicial strategy, digitization of the judiciary and other initiated projects is key to closing Chapter 23 and obtaining IBAR, which is the current priority of Montenegro, and which opens the door for a much faster realization of all other long-term plans, among others, and the special court", the Ministry's answers say.

They are abolishing the basic courts in Zabljak and Danilovgrad

The Ministry of Justice recently published the "Plan for the rationalization of the judicial network", which foresees the abolition of "small unsustainable" basic courts in Žabljak and Danilovgrad, i.e. the establishment of court departments at the basic courts in Pljevlja and Podgorica, and in the area of ​​Žabljak and Danilovgrad.

The document states that since September 2023 there is no judge in the Basic Court in Žabljak, and that cases from that court have been delegated to the court in Pljevlja.

"Also, for a long period of time, there has been no interest in candidates for judges for the Basic Court in Žabljak...".

The plan states that the fact that the Basic Court in Danilovgrad is only 17 kilometers from Podgorica, and that the road infrastructure between them has been improved, influenced the abolition of that court.

It is stated that due to the merger of the Žabljak and Pljeval courts, current annual expenses (salary, travel expenses, individual expenses) will decrease by over 66 thousand euros, and due to the merger of the Danilovgrad and Podgorica courts, by around 54 thousand.

The merger is planned for 2025.

Ministry: The Second Basic Court in Podgorica is a real need

When asked whether Milović still believes that a second Basic Court should be established in Podgorica, and if so, when he plans to take steps in this regard, the Ministry replies that the establishment of a second Basic Court in Podgorica is a real need "given the large number cases that are now assigned on average by one judge of the existing court".

"And a very important role is played by the growth of the population, as well as the correspondingly increasing volume of judicial cases in the capital. We believe that in this way, the existing Basic Court would be relieved, and that the second Basic Court would significantly contribute to speeding up the process of making judgments and reducing the burden on the existing court system, which would result in more efficient and timely resolution of disputes", the Ministry assesses.

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