Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger (left), former Judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court; Dragoljub Drašković (eighth from left), President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro; Zoran Pažin (centre), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of  Montenegro; Zlatko Knežević (to his right), President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger (left), former Judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court; Dragoljub Drašković (eighth from left), President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro; Zoran Pažin (centre), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of Montenegro; Zlatko Knežević (to his right), President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Montenegro

From 5 to 7 June 2019, a regional conference on the “Division of powers and balance between powers” was held in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica. This conference was organised jointly by the Constitutional Court of Montenegro and the IRZ and was funded by the German Foreign Office. Representatives of the Constitutional Courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia and Serbia attended the conference.

The significance of the conference was underlined by the fact that, following the opening of the conference by the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Montenegro, Dr. Dragoljub Drašković, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice for Montenegro, Zoran Pažin, also gave a welcome speech.

This was followed by the following speeches on jurisdiction by the participating constitutional courts:

  • The relationship between the Parliament and the Constitutional Court of Montenegro in the implementation and protection of the constitutionality of the law (Hamdija Šarkinović, a judge at the Constitutional Court of Montenegro)
  • The division of powers and balance between powers – the independence of constitutional courts with a particular focus on the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Zlatko Knezevic, President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina) 
  • The role of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia in the implementation of the division of powers (Sali Murati, a judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia) 
  • Constitutional legislature and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia: a relationship based on cooperation and mutual control (Dr. Mato Arlović, a judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia)
  • The normative and actual prerequisites for the independence of the constitutional court – the experience of the Republic of Serbia (Dr. Nataša Plavšić, a judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia)

During this part of the conference, the participants already took the opportunity to join the discussions and ask critical questions.

Afterwards, Professor Dr. Michael Eichberger, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court, presented the role of the basic principle of the division of powers in German law in general and various decisions made by the German Constitutional Court in this regard. 

The discussions following this speech and the general discussions during the plenary session addressed a wide range of topics. The main focus was on the relationship between the constitutional court and the legislator, in particular on the practice of constitutional courts in the event of unconstitutional laws. The participants also discussed the position of the constitutional court in the structural organisation of the state. 

As well as working together in a plenary session, the conference also allowed the judges from the participating constitutional courts to make full use of the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences and to take part in bilateral talks.