Montenegro - annual report 2014

Länderbericht Montenegro 2014
Representatives of the Montenegro Chamber of Notaries discussing on the premises of the IRZ

Strategic framework

Legal policy starting point

Montenegro, 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.

Overall concept

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)

Outlook

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.

Montenegro - annual report 2013

Länderbericht Montenegro 2013Launch event for the regional project “Implementation of European anti-discrimination standards”: Ambassador Pius Fischer talking with Duško Marković, Montenegrin Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Justice

General – Conceptual orientation

Legal policy starting point

Montenegro, which declared its independence in 2006, is a young state on course for political and economic reform within the framework of EU integration. The country was officially awarded the status of an EU candidate on 17 December 2010. Further progress towards EU accession was made on 12 October 2011, when the European Commission proposed in its annual progress report on the candidate countries to take up accession negotiations with Montenegro. Despite this progress, considerable action still has to be taken in legal harmonisation. Furthermore, the European Commission stresses that further efforts are needed in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Because it only became a separate state some years ago, as well as with regard to the abovementioned progress that has been made in EU Integration, which is accompanied by corresponding tasks in the field of law, Montenegro, which only has a limited amount of staff resources of its own, requires particular attention within the IRZ's project work in the region.

Cooperation to date

The IRZ's activities in Montenegro have been implemented in a separate project area since 2007. Long-standing working relationships have now been established with the country's Judicial Training Centre and the Constitutional Court.

Major partners

  • The country's Judicial Training Centre
  • Constitutional Court
  • Prime Minister's Permanent Advisor for Human Rights and Protection Against Discrimination
  • Academics from the Law Faculty of Podgorica

Strategy and method

For reasons of economic expedience, the project work in Montenegro, which with a population of 600,000 is very small, has taken place in the past especially 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 activities were stepped up in 2010 once more. In line with the Federal Republic of Germany's focus on democracy promotion in Montenegro, the emphasis was placed in this regard on support for the judiciary as a sub-area of legal reform. The fact that the country officially received the status of an accession candidate to the European Union at the end of 2010 confirmed that this approach was right.

Foci of activity in 2013

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

  • Participation by Montenegrin constitutional court judges in the international conference supported by the IRZ on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Serbian Constitutional Court on the topic of "The situation of and prospects for constitutional courts" in Belgrade
  • Launching event of the regional project "Implementation of European anti-discrimination standards in Montenegro and other states in the region" in Podgorica in cooperation with the Montenegrin Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Montenegro, Duško Marković, in cooperation with the Government of Montenegro as well as with the Judicial Training Centre of the Supreme Court
  • Presentation of the book publication entitled "Practical introduction to European anti-discrimination standards" at the above mentioned event and publication on the website of the Montenegrin Government

Civil and commercial law

  • Seminars for judges at the Judicial Training Centre in Podgorica on the topics of "Property law" and "Private international law"
  • Participation by Montenegrin legal experts at the 16th Cartel Conference in Berlin

Administration of justice

  • Long-term consultation for the Montenegrin Minister of Justice by State Secretary, ret., Michael Haussner
  • Regional workshop "Basic and further training of legal trainees, judges and public prosecutors – experience in the development and implementation of training programmes" in Podgorica together with the Judicial Training Centre
  • Distribution of specialist publications drawn up in the project work of the IRZ to selected project partners in other countries of the region where related languages are spoken

Outlook

The IRZ will be continuing its successful work in Montenegro in 2014. For instance, it will be offering further seminars together with the Judicial Training Centre. Cooperation with the Constitutional Court will also be continued. The IRZ will also involve Montenegrin legal experts in various topics in its other activities in the region.