Civic Alliance: End the systematic impunity of police officers

“Practice has shown that institutions in prosecuting citizens react faster and more efficiently, while in the case of police officers this process is very slow and very often without a clear definition of responsibility and punishment.”

Photo: Civic Alliance

Montenegro cannot boast of an effective fight of the competent state institutions when it comes to police torture and ill-treatment, the Civic Alliance (CA) assessed and said that the systematic impunity of police officers must be stopped.

The CA said that the International Day for the Fight against Police Brutality in Montenegro was marked with a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which found that the competent state authorities did not conduct an efficient and effective investigation into brutal torture and ill-treatment of citizens during the October 2015 protests. years.

As they stated, more than five years later, the police officers who committed the crimes have not been identified, and the case is still in the pre-investigation phase.

The CA said that Montenegro cannot boast of an effective fight of the competent state institutions when it comes to police torture and ill-treatment.

“Practice has shown that institutions react faster and more efficiently in prosecuting citizens, while in the case of police officers, this process is very slow and very often without a clear determination of responsibility and punishment,” the CA pointed out.

In a number of cases, they added, responsible police officers who had committed or ordered torture and ill-treatment had not been identified and prosecuted.

“Once the officials are identified or prosecuted, the sanctions are mitigated and often meaningless,” the GA said, adding that the signing of plea agreements is increasingly present, where the punishment defined by the agreement is a suspended sentence.

The CA considers that such a practice is unacceptable and does not lead to the prevention or prevention of police officers from committing such and similar crimes, but on the contrary, it can encourage individuals to continue committing them, knowing that they will or will not be prosecuted. , or that they can get away with it without sanctions.

As they said, it is not difficult to measure progress in that area and come to the conclusion that fast and quality changes are needed.

“In a democratic state, it is unacceptable for police officers to demonstrate force and beat citizens on the streets, for those who abuse not to be identified and prosecuted, and for cases to become obsolete,” the GA said.

In that non-governmental organization, they believe that the systematic impunity of police officers should be stopped.

“We need efficient, effective and independent investigations that will yield results, and we expect the new leadership to deal with this issue in the strongest possible terms, and control mechanisms to be strengthened,” the GA said.

According to them, decisions need to be made on the basis of the evidence gathered, and not on the basis of signing a plea agreement.

“Only in this way will the message be sent that torture and ill-treatment are strictly prohibited and prevent future torture by police officers,” the GA concluded.