IRZ with the organiser of the 14th National Anti-Corruption Conference in Montenegro

 Graphic: IRZ

The 14th National Anti-Corruption Conference was held in Podgorica (Montenegro) from 9-10 December 2021 as a hybrid event.

The main organiser was the non-governmental organisation "Network for the Strengthening of the Non-Governmental Sector MANS". Other co-organisers were the IRZ and the EU delegation, the embassy of Italy, the Netherlands and the United States and the NGOs "The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)" and the "Balkan Tender Watch Coalition”.

The Prime Minister of the country, Zdravko Krivokapić, and various foreign ambassadors opened the event with words of welcome; a gesture that underpinned the importance attached to the anti-corruption conference.

The first day of the event was dedicated to the topic "Financing of political parties and elections", the second day to the confiscation of property. There were various panels on both topics, which brought together national experts and representatives of NGOs, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. An exchange of experiences also took place between international practitioners.

The IRZ has supported the conference for roughly five years, and Senior Public Prosecutor Dr. Gunnar Greier, who is also a lecturer at the University of Cologne and a specialist author of books on the subject, has worked as an expert in various international projects, and reported on the German experience with confiscation of assets for the IRZ.

In addition to the constitutionality of regulations on the confiscation of assets, the discussion also focused on the question of how appropriate investigative units can be organised in a relatively small state with limited human resources. In connection with corruption in general, some of the participants also stated that the Montenegrin rules on an understanding in criminal procedural law had meant that the facts of the case were not clarified, particularly in cases where prominent persons were suspected of corruption.

This year too, the event attracted broad national and international media interest, and was also broadcast via Facebook.

The national language programs of Radio Free Europe reported on the event among others: and Al Jazeera Balkans and various nationwide media

More information:

Network for the strengthening of the non-governmental sector MANS:

Two seminars on commercial law for judges and notaries

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

IRZ organised two online seminars on commercial law topics together with the Judicial Training Centre (JTC) for judges and public prosecutors in Podgorica:

  • "The new law on commercial companies and European corporate law” on 19 May 2021 and
  • "Intellectual property – copyright and related rights" on 20 May 2021.

The background to the first event was the new Companies Act passed in 2020, which initiated a paradigm shift. The previous law followed the Anglo-Saxon model of deregulation, which resulted in many loopholes. This is because in Montenegro, unlike in the US, there is no case law as a supplementary source of law. This has now been taken into account through increased regulatory density.

In copyright law, the legal situation largely corresponds to that in Germany. However, similar to the USA, punitive aspects are also taken into account when sentencing for damages due to copyright infringement, so that much higher damages are often awarded than in the case of pure compensation for a reduction in assets on the part of the injured party. 

The speakers at both events were German and Montenegrin judges, as well as professors from Montenegro and Serbia who work in comparative law and have gained extensive research experience in Germany, among other places. This not only enabled an exchange between practising legal experts and academics, but also ensured that the perspectives of different national rights as well as that of European supranational law were covered.

In both events, the speakers presented the participants a wealth of materials, further information and case studies. The intensive discussions and questions afterwards prove the considerable need for training in this area.

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)