By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica
In the annual report of the Council of Europe on human rights Montenegro is required to work to overcome the legacy of war and to strengthen the media freedom. The report states that the failure to determine the full responsibility for certain offenders who have violated human rights and humanitarian law in Montenegro as a serious flaw in the process of achieving justice and lasting reconciliation in the region. The report also expressed concern about a series of acts of violence against journalists, who influenced to their freedom of expression.
Universal human rights in Montenegro are respected, but there are a number of issues in the country concerning the achievement of postwar justice, as well as the fight against discrimination and freedom of the media, with which the government should deal with in a decisive manner. All this is stated in the report about Montenegro, written by Secretary of Human Rights of the Council of Europe Nils Muižnieks, that has been prepared after his conversations with representatives from state institutions and civil society.
Muižnieks in his report highlights the crimes committed against Muslim-Bosniaks in Montenegro, as well as the murder of the family Klapuh in Plužine, the kidnapping of passengers from a train in Štrpci, the deportation of 79 Bosnian refugees and the crimes in Bukovica. In addition to these cases, the report mentions Morinj camp, where refugees from Dubrovnik had been detained and tortured, but also the Kaluđerski laz case, in which 21 persons of Albanian nationality were killed.
The recommendations to Montenegro are to have a close communication with the victims of war, the development of the program of compensation for the victims, not only financially, but also through rehabilitation, as well as programs aimed at social inclusion. The report also states that violators of international humanitarian law must be subject to serious investigation, prosecution and fair trial.
“Impunity of the crime encourages their recurrence, which leads to additional suffering of the victims and has a negative impact on the rule of law and public confidence in justice”, says the report. Failure to determine the full responsibility for offenders who have violated human rights and humanitarian law in Montenegro is a serious flaw in the process of achieving justice and lasting reconciliation in the region.
When it comes to freedom of the media, the report highlights concerns over a series of acts of violence against journalists that have impacted on the freedom of expression. “Authorities must not tolerate this phenomenon, and must effectively investigate all cases of threats and physical violence against journalists, as well as to bring the perpetrators to justice”, said Muižnieks.