The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) conducted a two-day educational workshop for representatives of NGOs and the judiciary from Podgorica, Bijelo Polje and Berane entitled “Gender-Based Violence – Challenges and Future Perspectives”. The workshop was held from 29th until 30th July, 2021 at the Bianca Hotel in Kolašin. The aim of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of the Montenegrin judicial system and the NGO sector by referring to key achievements in judicial practice through analysis of: harmonization of Montenegrin legislation with the acquis communautaire and EU institutions such as the Council of Europe, analysis of the judgments and decisions of national courts and state prosecutor’s offices, and the practice of the Ombudsperson Institution in the field of protection of the rights of victims of gender-based violence.
Matija Miljanić, Project Coordinator at CEDEM, opened the workshop, emphasizing that the results of the Democracy Index for 2020 indicate a negative trend in terms of gender equality compared not only to the latest results from 2016, but also the results of measurements from 2007. The most pronounced negative trend is present in hate speech against women, while when it comes to equal participation of women in social life, discrimination in the process of getting a job, and discrimination inside companies and institutions themselves, the level of gender equality remains at the same place . Miljanić added that this educational workshop is necessary in order to increase the knowledge of the judiciary on the topic of gender equality and international and national standards in the field of legal protection of victims of gender-based violence. In addition, Miljanić noted that CEDEM contributes to fulfilling the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, where in one of the concluding observations in the second periodical report for Montenegro, it was noted that the member state should improve capacity building programs for judges, prosecutors, law enforcement staff and lawyers, in order to enable them to directly apply or invoke the provisions of CEDAW in judicial or administrative proceedings and to interpret domestic law accordingly.
During the first day, Valentina Pavličić, Representative of Montenegro before the European Court of Human Rights, introduced the participants to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). In addition, Pavličić spoke about the harmonization of Montenegrin legislation with anti-discrimination standards of the EU and the Council of Europe (conventions, directives and resolutions) in the field of gender equality, and about the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in the field of gender-based violence, leaving the participants with some practical advice for the end.
During the second day, Siniša Bjeković, Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, instructed participants in the practice of the Montenegrin judiciary and the Ombudsperson Institution in protection from discrimination against women (one of the example was the case before the Ombudsperson Institution – number: 578/16). Bjeković also analyzed the decisions and judgments of courts and state prosecutor’s offices in the field of protection of the rights of victims of gender-based violence (one of the examples was the case of Valiulienė v. Lithuania – 33234/07). In addition, he spoke about the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination (“Official Gazette of Montenegro”, No. 46/2010, 40/2011 – other laws, 18/2014 and 42/2017) in order to provide a clearer picture and better application of this law in the future the work of the participants (Bjeković also referred the participants to the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission).
The two-day educational workshop was conducted within the project “Capacity Building for the Implementation of Gender Equality Policies”, which was financially supported by the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights.