Telecommunications surveillance: The public prosecutor’s office of Montenegro attends talks in Berlin

From 4 to 6 July 2016, expert discussions were held between the public prosecutor’s office of Montenegro, which specialises in fighting organised crime and corruption, the public prosecutor’s office in Berlin and the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) in Berlin. These talks are part of the action plan to implement the momorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro and the BMJV.

On the German side, senior public prosecutor Thorsten Cloidt and public prosecutor Katja Anders held talks with the head of the specialist public prosecutor’s office of Montenegro, Milivoje Katnić, and specialist public prosecutors, Sasa Čadjenović and Veselin Mazić.

The focus of the working visit was on the requirements for telecommunications surveillance measures and their practical application. The talks were held at the public prosecutor’s office in Berlin and at the public prosecutor general’s office in Berlin, where the guests were welcomed by the public prosecutor general Ralf Rother and senior public prosecutor Thomas Fels.

The speakers from the BMJV, Dr. Susanne Claus (“criminal proceedings, investigative proceedings and enforcement measures” division) and Karla Brambati (“competition law; telecommunications and media law; foreign trade law” division) introduced the guests from Montenegro to the legal requirements and the current legal situation in Germany.

The specialist public prosecutors were given a practical insight into telecommunications surveillance measures on a visit to the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Berlin, where they were informed about the technical side of proceedings and given a practical demonstration.

The exchange of experiences was regarded as very valuable by the delegation from Montenegro, since the specialist public prosecutor’s office of Montenegro was established only a year ago.

As well as telecommunications surveillance measures, the focus was also on the cooperation between the public prosecutor’s office and the police during investigative proceedings. As the legal provisions in Germany and Montenegro are similar, it was very helpful for the guests to learn about German practices and the knowledge they have gained will be used to establish future practices in Montenegro.

The talks were considered by both sides to be very cooperative and fruitful and there are plans for further talks in the autumn, with a return visit to Montenegro by the Berlin public prosecutor’s office.

German section of the International Commission of Jurists makes its annual trip to Montenegro

From 29 to 31 March 2016, the German section of the International Commission of Jurists visited Podgorica in Montenegro for their annual trip, which the IRZ helped to organise. German law professionals from various specialist fields took part in the trip, including Professor Dr. Michael Eichberger and Professor Dr. Andreas Paulus, two practising judges at the German Constitutional Court.

The delegation held talks with the Minister of Justice for Montenegro, Zoran Pažin, the President of the Constitutional Court, Desanka Lopičić, the President of the Parliament, Ranko Krivokapić, and representatives of various non-governmental organisations and specialised public prosecution offices. The programme also included an introduction by the German Ambassador, Gudrun Steinacker, and an embassy reception.

The wide range of professional profiles covered by both the German and the Montenegrin participants in this event gave both sides the opportunity to hold open, and sometimes also controversial, discussions.

For the Montenegrin project partners of the IRZ, the meeting with German law professionals represented an excellent opportunity to learn first hand about current trends in German law. Likewise, the visitors were given a broader insight into the current legal situation in Montenegro.

The visit from the German section of the International Commission of Jurists to Montenegro is another good example of the synergy effects, which the IRZ achieves through its many years of networking in its partner countries.

Regional conference of constitutional courts on voting rights in Montenegro

From 14 to 16 February 2016, a regional conference on the "judicial review of elections and voting regulations" was held by the IRZ and the Constitutional Court of Montenegro in Budva, Montenegro. The conference was attended by constitutional judges from the host country, as well as from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. The topic for this event was chosen because of the parliamentary elections, which are due to be held in both Montenegro and Macedonia in 2016. This conference will therefore be followed up in April by another seminar on the same subject to be held at the Judicial Academy of Macedonia.

The speakers at the event held in Montenegro were Dr. Dieter Hömig, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court and the German-speaking judge at the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, Dr. Vojtěch Šimíček. They introduced the relevant German and Czech regulations and case law relating to these regulations.

Other speakers at the event were Elena Goševa, President of the Constitutional Court of Macedonia, Mirsad Ceman, President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jadranka Sovdat, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Slovenia and Constitutional Judges Dr. Marko Babić and Mato Arlović from Croatia, Dr. Dragoljub Drašković from Montenegro and Predrag Ćetković from Serbia.

The purpose of the conference was to review elections and voting regulations. For the latter, it was pointed out, for example, that the Constitutional Court of Montenegro has in the past already overturned various voting regulations. One example of these is the rule stipulating that a party that had already been represented in parliament previously no longer had to produce supporting signatures for a new candidature. Another example concerns the regulation according to which support for the application of a presidential candidate had to be declared personally by two members of the election committee.

Following on from the intense professional part of the conference, a ceremony was held to mark Constitutional Court Day, with contributions from Minister of Justice, Zoran Pažin, and German Ambassador, Gudrun Steinacker, which highlighted the importance of the regional conference.