Funding of political parties and election campaigns

During the event
During the event

On 26 May 2021, a conference on the “Funding of political parties and election campaigns” took place in Podgorica. The hybrid event was organised by the non-governmental organisation MANS (a network for strengthening the NGO sector) in cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, the British Embassy and IRZ. In addition to participants who had arrived at the venue in compliance with hygiene restrictions, many listeners and also some speakers joined the event online.

The event was opened by:

  • Aleksa Bečić, President of the Parliament of Montenegro,
  • Oana-Kristina Popa, Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro,
  • Dr. Robert Weber, German Ambassador,
  • Steve Arrick, Deputy Head of the British Embassy, and
  • Vanja Čalović Marković, Director of the NGO MANS.

The welcome was followed by two rounds of discussions. In the first round of discussions, delegates from various political parties represented in the Montenegrin parliament discussed the current situation in terms of party and campaign funding in Montenegro, with some irregularities and the need for improvement also being discussed.

Subsequently, foreign experts, including representatives of the OSCE and Transparency International, presented foreign experiences regarding party and election campaign funding.

The German-speaking Czech constitutional judge Prof. Dr. Vojtech Šimiček, who has a doctorate in comparative law on party financing and is a member of the advisory board of the Institute for German and International Party Law in Düsseldorf, spoke on behalf of IRZ. Professor Šimiček, who has also provided international legal advice in other West Balkan countries, presented the legal regulations in Germany as well as in his home country. He worked out the similarities and differences between the two and went into the considerations behind each. He began by noting that internationally, major changes in the legal regulations governing party financing usually had one of two causes, namely the case law of the Constitutional Court or a party financing scandal.

The event, which was also streamed on the internet, received widespread media coverage across the country, e.g.: Šimiček: Partije ne smiju trošiti državni novac proizvoljno.

Here you can watch the whole conference:
Finansiranje političkih partija i izbornih kampanja (VIDEO)

Seminar on “Mediation in labour disputes”

Grafik: IRZ
Grafik: IRZ

On 14 April 2021, IRZ, together with the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro, organised an online seminar on "Mediation in labour disputes". Mediation, as a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), makes an important contribution to relieving the judiciary and accelerating proceedings in Montenegro. Supporting Montenegro in this area is also part of the “Joint declaration on legal cooperation” between the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro and the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. The event was primarily aimed at certified mediators and those interested in the topic of "mediation".

The seminar was opened by Marina Lutovac, Director of the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Dr Stefan Pürner, Head of Section at IRZ.
The introductory lecture "Protecting employees in individual labour disputes" was given by Ivan Knežević, a member of staff at the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution and a specialist in labour disputes. He presented how labour law has developed since Montenegro's independence and as it prepares to join the EU.

The German speaker Martin Michaelis, a mediator and lawyer with over 20 years of experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution, focused on the essential elements of mediation in his presentation and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of mediation as a means of alternative dispute resolution. The IRZ expert also used German practices to explain the use of mediation in labour law. Lively discussions between the participants ensued straight after this lecture.

After a short break, Martin Michaelis divided the participants into small groups to discuss previously defined questions. The results of these discussions were then addressed in a plenary session and recorded on a virtual pinboard. The results showed that there is a requirement for further training for mediators in Montenegro and that mediation in Montenegro needs to gain more acceptance among the population.

The large number of participants, with around 70 people interested in mediation attending, as well as their exceptionally lively participation and numerous proposals from the small group discussions, underline the relevance of the topic for Montenegro.

Online seminar on the “Prevention of money laundering in notary services”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 9 April 2021, IRZ organised an online seminar on the “Prevention of money laundering in notary services” alongside the Notary Chamber of Montenegro and the German Federal Chamber of Notaries (BNotK). The background for this seminar was the rating of Montenegro by the European Commission as only “moderately prepared” in this area, with the law in its written form already being largely harmonised.

The event was opened by Igor Stijović, Vice-President of the Notary Chamber of Montenegro, Justizrat Richard Bock, Chief Representative of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries for international affairs, and Simon Kiunke from IRZ. Dr. Robert Weber then went on to welcome the participants on behalf of the German Embassy.

IRZ Head of Section Dr. Stefan Pürner started the event with a lecture on “IRZ support for notary services in South-East Europe”, during which he emphasised in particular the role played by notary services as a traditional continental European legal institution of the preventive administration of justice.

The main lectures at the event were:

  • “Money laundering as a criminal offence in practice” by Evica Durutović, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Podgorica, special department for fighting organised crime and corruption
  • “The role of notaries in dealing with money laundering” by Dr. Andreas Bernert, a notary assessor at the German Federal Chamber of Notarie
  • “The prevention of money laundering in notarial practice” by Dr. Lovro Tomasic, a notary and representative of international affairs at the German Federal Chamber of Notaries.

The event established that Montenegro has largely implemented the EU legal framework, which means there are many similarities between the applicable legal provisions in the two countries. This ensured that the information provided about experiences in Germany was all the more relevant for the Montenegrin participants.

The many examples of standard cases in which there was a suspicion of money laundering were also helpful. Based on cases from judicial practice in Montenegro, it became clear that the investigation authorities there frequently do not investigate complaints of money laundering with sufficient thoroughness. Unlike in Germany, lawyers in Montenegro have a privileged position over notaries with regards to their reporting obligations as professionals providing legal advice.