The Rule of Law and Human Rights Section's key programmes include judicial reform, administration of criminal justice, combating organised crime and corruption, strengthening human rights institutions, prison reform and human rights education.
The Mission supports the independence of the judiciary through the implementation of a new system for the selection of judges and prosecutors; adoption and implementation of Codes of Conduct for Judges and Prosecutors; assistance to the Ministry of Justice in drafting a new Criminal Procedure Code in order to transfer investigative powers currently vested in courts to prosecutors; supporting creation and implementation of strategies for the reduction of pending criminal cases; capacity building in order to meet newly adopted international standards.
The Mission co-operates extensively with the OSCE's Office for Democratic Insitutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in connection with various human dimension activities, in particular judicial reform.
With the support of an extra-budgetary donation, the Mission plans to engage in a systematic court monitoring programme in order to assess the practical impact of judicial reforms, identify shortcomings in the administration of criminal justice and make recommendations for improvement, strengthening court monitoring capacities within the civil sector.
The Mission supports implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan Against Corruption and Organized Crime. It works on strengthening the institutional capacity of the Special Prosecutor for the Suppression of Organized Crime; improving legislation regulating conflict of interest; supporting the Anti-Corruption Initiative Office; and supporting the planned Anti-Corruption Office of the Supreme Court.
The Mission provides support to the Ombudsman in fulfilling its mandate. Initially, the Mission assisted in the process of drafting the Ombudsman legislation and thereafter in helping the Ombudsman's Office to become operational. It now focuses on improving the Ombudsman's role in providing legislative commentary, and has also delivered continuous professional training to key staff and assisted in regional co-operation initiatives with similar institutions.
The Mission is working closely with the Government of Montenegro and other key parties in supporting the creation and functioning of a National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, facilitating negotiations between relevant stakeholders in order to create Montenegro-specific National Preventive Mechanisms in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture.
The Mission has been closely involved in the creation and functioning of the Montenegrin Prison Service Training Centre, facilitating various training sessions on drug abuse for key staff. The Mission currently supports the prison service in the implementation of recently-enacted criminal and penal legislation, and strengthening the capacity of professional staff by providing support to the Prison Service Training Centre, including a review of the existing training curriculum.
The Mission is currently undertaking a long term educational programme of human rights targeted at municipal level civil servants, the creation of human rights focal points covering all municipalities in Montenegro, the provision of human rights education to emerging key decision makers, as well as supporting and strengthening the civil sector and academia in delivering human rights education.
The Mission is also co-operating with the ODIHR on the reform of electoral legislation.