- Published: May 5, 2014
Legal policy starting pointMontenegro, which has been independent since 2006, is a young state on course for political and economic reform in a context of EU integration. The country was officially awarded the status of an EU candidate on 17 December 2010. It made further progress towards EU accession in 2012, when the European Commission’s proposal to take up accession negotiations with Montenegro was confirmed at the summit of heads of state and government. Despite this progress, considerable action still has to be taken in legal harmonisation. Furthermore, the European Commission sees that further efforts are needed in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. The IRZ is therefore placing a focus of its work in the region on Montenegro. As it only became an independent state several years ago, as well as with a view to further EU integration, Montenegro, which only has limited staff resources, requires particular attention. This is also expressed in the conclusion of a cooperation agreement that was reached between the Ministers of Justice of Montenegro and Germany in 2014.
The IRZ established a separate project area for Montenegro in 2007. Longstanding working relationships were subsequently established with the Ministry of Justice, the country’s Judicial Training Centre, which is incorporated into the country’s Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and academics from Podgorica Law School. The IRZ has also been represented in the country since 2013 by a long-term consultant to the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Justice. The IRZ is therefore very well networked in Montenegro.
For reasons of economic expedience, the project work in Montenegro, which with a population of 600,000 is very small, has particularly taken place in the past by involving Montenegrin legal experts in activities in neighbouring countries where the same language is spoken, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia. In view of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Montenegro, which has been ratified by all the Member States of the EU, the IRZ stepped up its activities once more in 2010 and placed the emphasis on support for the judiciary. This approach was successful and led to further approximation to the EU.
Foci of activity in 2014
Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability
- Working visit by the Montenegrin Constitutional Court to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and to Brandenburg Constitutional Court prepared in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection on the topic of “The individual constitutional complaint – significance, case-law and the preliminary examination procedure”
- Participation of the President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro in the regional conference entitled “Fundamental and human rights issues in the context of measures involving deprivation of liberty and prohibition of torture”, organised in Serbia in cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court
- Seminar entitled “The impact of constitutional court rulings on the caselaw of the ordinary courts” in cooperation with the judicial training centre
Administration of justice
- Long-term advisor Mr Haußner, State Secretary, ret., with the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Justice
- Participation of Montenegrin judges in a seminar on judicial ethics at the Serbian Judicial Academy
- Translation of statements Nos. 12-17 of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) regarding the independence, impartiality and competence of judges
- Support for two working visits to Bonn and Cologne by Montenegrin notaries on notary practice in Germany, co-organiser: Rhine Chamber of Notaries
- Support for the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in preparing a cooperation agreement between that Ministry and the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice
- Dissemination of regional specialist legal publications (e.g. “Nova Pravna Revija”, “New Legal Revue”) and of a translation of the German Insurance Contract Act (VVG) published by the IRZ
Criminal law and the law on the prison system
- Expert talks on the establishment of a specialist public prosecution office on the fight against corruption and organized crime in Montenegro
- Participation of a German expert in the 8th national conference on the fight against corruption and organised crime, which was organised by the NGO MANS
- Participation of a penitentiary law expert in a regional justice conference in Budva (follow-up activity to the twinning project in the field of the prison system, which was ended in 2014)
The IRZ will be continuing its successful work in Montenegro in 2015. For instance, it will be offering further seminars together with the Judicial Training Centre. Cooperation with the Constitutional Court will also be continued. Furthermore, the IRZ will involve Montenegrin lawyers in various topics in its other activities in the region.