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Montenegro encouraged to amend its Constitution and legislation

Strasbourg, 10.07.2013 – “We welcome the on-going discussions in the Montenegrin parliament to amend the Constitution with regard to the Constitutional Court, the State Prosecutor and the Judicial Council in light of the opinion of the Venice Commission. We hope that this process will soon be finalised. This will be an essential step to improve the independence of the judiciary,” said Nursuna Memecan (Turkey, ALDE) and Kimmo Sasi (Finland, EPP/CD), PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Montenegro, following their fact-finding visit to the country from 8 to 10 July 2013.

“We encourage all political parties to show responsibility and find the necessary compromises to meet the democratic requirements that are expected from Montenegro to comply with Council of Europe standards. We also note with appreciation the steps undertaken by the parliament to review a number of pieces of legislation, related notably to the voters’ lists, the financing of political parties and the electoral campaign, residence and citizenship, in order to build trust in the electoral system. It is of the utmost importance to have transparent, clear and undisputed regulations to enable citizens to have full confidence in their democratic institutions. Furthermore, we welcome the readiness of the Montenegrin authorities to continue to co-operate with the Council of Europe on these matters,” the co-rapporteurs added.

Ms Memecan and Mr Sasi addressed several issues with the relevant authorities, including the progress made in implementing PACE Resolution 1890 (2012), the fight against discrimination - notably against Roma and LGBT people - and the situation of refugees and IDPs. In this respect, they had contact with the UNHCR and visited the Konik camps on the outskirts of Podgorica, which hosts 2500 of the 11000 refugees and IDPs in Montenegro. “We welcome the measures undertaken by the Montenegrin authorities to find a sustainable solution and integrate those who wish to stay. However, we remain concerned by the fact that 43 per cent of refugees and IDPs still need to obtain ID documents and a legal status by December 2013, a pre-condition to be entitled to stay legally in Montenegro and have access to social rights."

During their visit, the co-rapporteurs met the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, the Ministers of the Interior, Human and Minorities’ Rights, the Montenegrin parliamentary delegation to PACE, representatives of political parties, the judicial authorities, the Ombudsman, representatives of state agencies and the Roma community as well as representatives of international organisations, the diplomatic community, NGOs and the media.