There has been no progress in the composition and independence of Judicial Council, GRECO warns

Specialized anti-corruption body of the Council of Europe, GRECO, warns in its most recent report that the fact that Montenegro hasn’t made any progress concerning the composition and the independence of the Judicial Council is alarming.

“In that context, GRECO is concerned about the decision on re-appointment of five presidents of the court rendered by the Judicial council. GRECO will be required to monitor further actions taken in that regard”, reads the report.

The Second Report on the harmonization assesses the measures taken by the competent authorities in Montenegro with the aim of implementing recommendations provided in the Report on the Fourth round of the evaluation of Montenegro.

As far as judges and prosecutors are concerned, GRECO states that progress has been made in the domain of directing and counseling on the application of the Ethical code and conflict of interests in the judicial system.

In the part referring to MPs, GRECO hails adoption of the new Code of Ethics which encompasses integrity training and MP ethics and introduces request for MPs for signing statement on the absence of private interests before taking part in the decision-making process.

GRECO gave 11 recommendations referring to Montenegro. Six out of eleven recommendations were implemented in a satisfactory way, two were implemented partially and three recommendations were not implemented at all.

GRECO suggested introduction of mechanism for the promotion of the Code of Ethics for MPs and raising awareness of the standards and implementation thereof.

The Report highlights that the Parliament should establish training for Code of Ethics which would encompass all MPs on regular basis.

GRECO welcomes the adoption of the new Code of Ethics, including the procedure for the application of appeal and initiation of procedure against the violation of this Code. GRECO states that Parliamentary Committee only had several cases during the time previous Code of Ethics was valid.

GRECO recommended taking additional measures aimed at strengthening independence of Judicial Council by providing at least one half of the Council membership and by appointing one of the judges chairman function; establishment of objective and measurable criteria for the election of non-judicial members and establishment of working arrangements to avoid excessive concentration of power in the same hands.

In its report, GRECO expresses concern over the Council decision to appoint five presidents of the court. The purpose of GRECO recommendation was to limit excessive concentration of authorizations in the judicial system. In that context, Montenegro changed normative framework in order to limit duration of the mandate for the same functions.

GRECO recommended further development of disciplinary framework for judges with the aim of strengthening its objectivity, proportionality and efficiency.

GRECO states that this recommendation hasn’t been implemented.

All things considered, it is concluded that Montenegro acted in a satisfactory manner, implementing eight out of eleven recommendations contained in the Report on the 4th round of evaluation.


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