Podgorica, PR press service – The Ombudsman Institution needs to be strengthened and better links established with other institutions, and there should be crystallized oversight mechanisms in the security sector to protect human rights and freedoms and other values. This was assessed by the Deputy Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, Sinisa Bjekovic, at a press conference organized by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) on the occasion of presenting the results of the project “Strengthening the institutional capacity of the Ombudsman for Security Sector Oversight”. He believes that it is necessary to strengthen the system that operates within the Institution of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, but at the same time to “function” the relationship between that institution and other important institutions in the protection of human rights and freedoms. “By that, I primarily mean the Constitutional Court of Montenegro, courts and other state bodies, which are right on the primary line of protection of human rights and freedoms. Of course, within other state bodies, primarily in the security sector, we must have crystallized supervisory mechanisms, ie mechanisms that would deal not only with the protection of human rights and freedoms, but also other important human values, “Bjekovic said. He pointed out that there is extremely good communication between the Ombudsman Institution and the security sector in Montenegro. “It was a relative surprise for me. “I expected that other bodies would be much more flexible,” Bjekovic said.
The Ombudsman Institution, as he explained, is not a protocol obligation of the state, but a constitutional category and has a basic function to protect human rights and freedoms in Montenegro. “The state administration of the Ombudsman should understand and accept as someone who is the corrector of the government, and not the controller of the government. We do not perform the function of controlling the legality of work, but our basic and primary function is respect for human rights and freedoms, “said Bjeković. He believes that it is necessary to establish fast, efficient and useful cooperation with the civil sector, because he is “according to many one of the main reasons why the Ombudsman Institution should be better, more efficient and more functional.” Bjeković pointed out that, within the project on educational trainings, local and lecturers from the region and Europe were renowned.
The director of CEDEM, Milena Bešić, assessed that the transparency of the work of the security and defense services is of great importance for the democratization process, so, as she explained, special attention is paid to the mechanisms of their control. “When it comes to control carried out by independent institutions, the dominant place, of course, belongs to the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms. Aware of the fact that the Ombudsman is de facto an indispensable part of every democratic society, there is a logical need for constant strengthening of the internal capacities of this institution, “said Besic. According to her, within the past 11 months, CEDEM held five initial meetings with leading actors in the security sector, conducted a focus group with employees of the Ombudsperson Institution, and organized four educational trainings for employees of that institution. “It is important to note that, within the project, two analyzes were made and published. “One on the topic of internal regulations and operational guidelines for further work of security sector institutions, and the other is entitled Comparative analysis of Ombudsman institutions in selected countries: competencies, examples and recommendations,” said Besic.
Professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Montenegro, Drazen Cerovic, explained that the security sector is not a nightmare and that it is a very serious service, which serves the citizens and raises the level of their security. “Inevitably, along the way, he sometimes makes mistakes, as any other system does. “A specific circumstance, when we talk about the security sector, is that the consequences of violating certain rules have a much worse impact on the issue of human rights than, perhaps, violating procedures in other institutions,” Cerovic explained. He said that the issues of human rights on the one hand and the security sector on the other hand are issues “perhaps of the highest priority”. Cerovic explained that the security sector is closed to a certain extent and that this is the nature of his job, but on the other hand, as he added, it should not degenerate into a violation of human rights. “The original intention of the security sector is to protect the interests of citizens. The point is not to exceed a certain limit in the application of authority, so that good intentions would not degenerate into something negative over time, “said Cerovic. Drawing a clear line between human rights and the work of the Ombudsman on the one hand and the security sector on the other, he said, is not easy despite the best intentions and legal instruments. “But we have the experience of successful European democracies, which separated the two sectors in a very precise way, and on the other hand, gave powers to control institutions, such as the Ombudsman,” Cerovic said. He pointed out that it is very important for the Ombudsman Institution to impose itself on other institutions and to force proactive work.
The judge of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro, Desanka Lopicic, explained that the right to security of the person is a human right and an important precondition for exercising other rights. “Each of us wants and expects to live and work in a safe environment and legitimately expects the state, thanks to its powers, to fulfill this request.” We must not lose sight of the fact that the suppression of security threats must not be achieved at the expense of human rights and freedoms, “said Lopicic. According to her, human life, as the highest constitutional good, is a vital foundation of human dignity. The restriction of a right can be justified only by the state, which can prove that the restriction is necessary in a democratic society based on the rule of law. The restriction of human rights must not be in conflict with the guarantees, which are prescribed by the norms of national and international law, “said Lopicic.
The project “Strengthening the Institutional Capacities of the Ombudsman for Supervision of the Security Sector” is implemented by CEDEM in cooperation with the Ombudsman Institution, and with the support of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.