On the 10 and 11 November 2016 the AIRE Centre and the Supreme Court of Montenegro, with the support of the British Embassy in Podgorica, hosted a conference on the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the courts in Montenegro.
The Conference brought together President and Judges of Supreme Court of Montenegro with members of Montenegrin judiciary and international experts to discuss the jurisprudence of the ECHR and its application to national practice.
The event was opened by Biljana Braithwaite, Programme Manager for the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans at AIRE Centre, Vesna Medenica, President of Supreme Court, Gavin Vessey, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Podgorica and Judge Miras Radović, Judge of the Supreme Court.
This three year project builds on years of experience of the AIRE Centre in delivering rule of law programmes in Montenegro, the partnerships and credibility that has been established over this period, and applies it to supporting the Supreme Court and the presidents and judges of the lower courts, as they seek to amend their practice in line with the requirements of the EU's "Chapter 23" negotiations and the ECHR.
The aim of the project, which recognises significant progress made so far, is to identify and address important remaining areas where there are challenges in implementation of the ECHR, and contribute to harmonisation of jurisprudence across the country. At the very start of the project the Supreme Court conducted comprehensive consultation with presidents of all courts of Montenegro, and we are now systematically tackling issues identified through this exercise.
The agenda of this conference was therefore driven by specific demands of the Supreme Court and lower courts, and lead to adoption of conclusions on those issues that can then be translated into amended judicial practices of the Supreme Court and lower courts. The event focused on the right to respect for a home under Article 8 of the ECHR as well as interferences with the right to freedom of association and assembly under Article 11 of the ECHR.
Speakers included Judge Nebojša Vučinić of the European Court of Human Rights, Nuala Mole, Founder and Senior Lawyer at AIRE Centre and Svetlana Budisavljević, Judge of the Administrative Court of Montenegro.
In cooperation with the Supreme Court we will be monitoring changes in judicial decision making in areas discussed at the conference to establish track record of success which is essential for Montenegro in the context of EU integrations. And more broadly, essential for securing legal certainty, access to justice for all individuals and rule of law in Montenegro.