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Rule of Law and European Integration in Montenegro

 

Programme objective: To assist Montenegro’s integration into Europe through a rule of law programme that accelerates the adoption of European human rights standards in law and practice, and addresses key weaknesses at this critical stage in the EU integration process.

Background: The sustained long-term programme was established in 1999 by the AIRE Centre, CEDEM (Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, one of the leading Montenegrin NGOs) and the Council of Europe. It has the support and active participation of the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court of Montenegro, the Judicial Training Centre of Montenegro and the Montenegrin Government Agent before Strasbourg Court.

In the last ten years the AIRE Centre and its partners have organised over 40 seminars on specific aspects of European human rights law in Montenegro.  The topics covered have included many of the rights and provisions that were systematically abused during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia: the prohibition of torture; the right to liberty and security of person and the standards of a fair trial; the fight against organised crime; freedom of expression; freedom of religion, association and assembly; the right to family life and children’s rights; the protection of property; the right to legal aid; freedom of movement and the right to citizenship. Over 800 judges, prosecutors, government officials, trial lawyers and NGO representatives, including over 40% of all Montenegrin judges, have now participated in the Programme. Now that the basic training on the ECHR is being organised by official institutions in partnership with programme partners, our seminars have also entered a new phase. The more advanced training, through quarterly sessions, continues to analyse a wide range of specific issues. The objective is to develop an in-depth understanding of the European legal and human rights standards among not only judges and prosecutors, but also key law enforcement agencies and senior justice ministry officials; and to foster the legislative reform process and proper implementation.