Criminal Justice Civil Society Program
The Montenegro Criminal Justice Civil Society Program (CJCSP) was designed to increase citizen engagement in criminal justice reform efforts through watchdog and monitoring activities, advocacy and policy-making, research, and public education. The program’s activities contributed to more transparent judicial proceedings, improved access to justice and quality of judicial proceedings, increased dialogue between civil society and justice institutions, increased government accountability and increased public confidence in the justice system. Working in a strategic partnership with World ORT, Inc. (ORT), a leader in civil society education and training, EWMI provided grant funding and targeted technical assistance to selected CSOs, including groups working at the national level as well as regional and community-based organizations.
Under the program, EWMI grantee, Institute Alternative, was officially invited to join the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ working group tasked with drafting the special law that will regulate the jurisdiction and organizational structure of a special state prosecution agency for cases of organized crime and corruption. The grantee’s comparative research paper on the different regional models for the formation of the special prosecution agency provided a valuable reference point for the working group, which met six times since the start of the year. The working group produced a draft Law on Special Prosecution Office, which is now being analyzed by two expert missions of European Commission, after which it will be opened up for public discussion. The grantee made several additional policy proposals during the drafting phase, which were accepted and adopted by the working group and eventually formed key provisions in the final law draft.
EWMI grantee, Preporod, conducted a series of three training seminars for 45 property crime inspectors in three towns: Bijelo Polje, Budva, and Podgorica. The aim of the seminars was to train police officers in how to recognize and address drug abusers during the questioning process, with a view toward recommending drug treatment and rehabilitation. Almost 80% of all property crime in Montenegro – auto theft, burglaries, and muggings – is committed by drug addicts to get cash for drugs.
In February 2014, two experienced U.S. prosecutors, Erik Larson, the Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) at the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica, and Nicolas Mansfield, the Director of Legal Programs at EWMI and CJCSP Project Director, presented a program on the role of the prosecutor in the United States to students at the Niksic Economic High School. The event aimed to help students learn about the theory and practice of public prosecution, with a focus on the main differences between the American and Montenegrin models.