Sunday, October 24, 2010

CORRUPTION 101: Citing “lack of evidence” Podgorica court frees officers accused of torturing Albanians

Due to lack of evidence, Montenegrin police officers Kalezić Marko, Darko Šekularac, Nenad Scekic, Milorad Mitrovic and Branko Radičković were set free last week by order of the Court of Appeals and released of all charges stemming from their conduct in the “Eagle’s Flight” arrest in 2006. The police officers were accused of using excessive force in the arrests of several Albanian nationals in the Malёsia region, including three American citizens. The arrests followed suspicion that a group of Albanians were planning to destabilize the Montenegrin government by “terrorist” means.

Although international monitoring agencies cited numerous incidents of police brutality during the arrests, the appeals court did not refer to any such evidence in their final conclusions.

Facts that were ignored centered on details that the entire process was marred with inconsistencies and corruption. Immediately following the arrests, Amnesty International reported that the prisoners were subjected to “repeated beatings, including with the intension of forcing a confession, using hands, fists, feet, sticks, and on one occasion a computer cable.” The report went on to assert that “beatings were allegedly conducted by both individual and groups of police officers at the police station, by the antiterrorist police involved in the arrest and by police escorting the men to court” (eye-witness reports named Scekic, Mitrovic and Marko leading the way). Amnesty concluded that “one individual reported that a hood was placed over his head; another that he had a gun held to his head; all were subjected to racist threats on the basis of their Albanian ethnicity” (10/17/06).

In the same vein, the U.S. State Department in a recent Country Report cited the Helsinki Committee of Montenegro that “police had used disproportionate force against some of the arrested persons and their family members during the arrests and subsequent interrogations.” Concurringly, Freedom House reported similar abuses and stated that “the hospitalization of prison inmates after a police raid raised questions of brutality and resulted in a change in prison administration…accusations of political interference and complaints of lengthy judicial processes continued to plague the judicial and prosecutorial systems.”

According to a 2009 Report by USAID (Corruption Assessment: Montenegro), Montenegro’s police system has been criticized with having little independence from judicial and legislative influence. As with many political institutions in Podgorica, corruption continues to be a problem:

- The conflicts of interest law is too limited, the local self-government law is inadequate, and whistleblower protection is insufficient;

- Judges are insufficiently trained;

- Trials take too much time, in part, because the courtrooms are not equipped with, and the judges do not use, any form of court-reporting mechanism;

- Defendants who have insufficient resources to hire their own defense attorneys are given appointed counsel; appointed counsel does not necessarily have any experience or specialized training in criminal defense matters;

- There appears to be little or no communication between prosecutors of the Basic Courts, the police, and building inspectors at the local level;

- Political and economic elites as connected by durable networks based on sharing the benefits of corruption. Corruption is controlled from above with the spoils shared within clans based on family, friendship and regional ties – especially in the banking and construction sectors. They act with perceived impunity – there are few controls to detect and prevent corruption, and there is insignificant enforcement and prosecution of high-level corrupt acts. Corruption is seen as a high reward-low risk activity;

- The leading political party (DPS) has minimal competition, with the opposition parties severely fragmented along ethnic, religious or economic lines and no reasonable possibilities for coalition building;

- Public officials can act with impunity. There are minimal controls and oversight to ensure their accountability and, despite access to information laws, there are sufficient loopholes available to minimize government transparency;

- Weak oversight can be seen in the relatively ineffectual efforts by the criminal justice system to identify, prosecute and sentence corrupt officials, whether they are on the national or local scene;

The Directorate for Anticorruption Initiative (DACI) recently completed a survey research study of the justice sector (2008) where more than one-third of all interviewed parties (1788 respondents) and one quarter of companies had the perception that the judicial system in Montenegro is often or always corrupt.

Contributing to this lack of adequate political will is the minimal nature of political competition in Montenegro. Essentially, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), as the successor to the League of Communists, has served as the ruling party for 60 years. The opposition parties appear to be hopelessly small and fragmented, with few proponents of coalition building. Without political competition from other parties or from the legislature or judiciary, the ruling party feels empowered to wield its authority without need to modify its grip on the spoils of power.

If this corruptive behavior in Montenegro is not overhauled, the paternal relationships between the DPS, judicial and police apparatus’ will continue to function unabridged for many years to come.


Anonymous said...

The Montenegrin Government had “enough evidence” to torture those poor Albanian families; and, Of course, they will never have evidence to prosecute their criminals, cave and barbarian officials! That is Montenegro for all you Albanians that love it so much! Their judicial system is corrupted…. it’s a joke! Unfortunately, it is sad why blinded Albanians that live in Montenegro don’t see it!? Equality and equity for all citizens of Montenegro doesn’t exist! The Albanian Diaspora, experts, and western diplomats have been warning ethnic Albanians in Montenegro about it, but they turned their backs on all of us, and thoughtlessly embraced this institutionalized discrimination. This generation, especially their kids will pay for it. Shame on you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dying words from Diaspora to Malesia.
Malesia: It's better to burn out than to fade away.

Anonymous said...

Albanians are getting what they deserve. Better yet, what they are asking for.

Anonymous said...

What they deserve? I thought about that? If they see it differently, then why not stand up for what you believe in? Why not shout out loud at the corrupt judicial system? Why not confront the released police officers? Where are the youth? Where are the human rights NGOs? Where is the opposition? Where are "our" protectorates? Where are our elected officials who promised transparance in government? Where are the abused? Molested? Beaten? Those that were spat at? Where are the Maloks?

Where are they?

They are everywhere, but they will refrain from any of the above because they are complacent with their lives?

THey have been broken, assimilated, and terminated.

They have accepted their fate!

Anonymous said...

No one deserves to be tortured, regardless of the state you reside in or one's national, ethnic, class or racial background.

We are all born equal, it is man's natural right to be born free of any prejudices.

But as in the case of Montenegro, when people of all ethnicities submit to the laws of the state (pay their taxes, obey the laws, and act in allegiance), they MUST be protected (by the state) from criminals like the state police who serve in the name of that same state.

Montenegro has no regard for this. The DPS turns a blind eye to all of this.

Anonymous said...

Mesage nga Diaspora e Nju Jorkut:

We are with you Malesor!!!! Don't give up! We will stand with you all the way, 'til the end! Never forfeit your land! Never lay down your weapons! Never release what is yours!

Your ancestors died for that acre that you call atdheu!

For 500 years, the Turks could not take it away, for another 100+ years the Slavs can't take it either!

Fight on !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Chou Malesi mej dal zot vetit

Anonymous said...

Malesia ka vdek shoko

Anonymous said...

You guys are acting as if Montenegro is the only country on earth that has these problems.

Everyone shares these same issues, including the USA.

You cry foul at the thought of ethnic discrimination, prejudices, unfair employment practices, etc etc etc.

Wake up, this is a global problem, not something only found in Montenegro.

For example, look what is happening in France ... Sarkozy expelling Roma, banning religious expression, etc. What about that?

In the USA ... just turn on the news and you will witness racial discrimination in every facet of society. Just a few days ago it was reported that the USA ignored torture abuses in Iraq, and along those same lines continues to torture terrorist suspects all over the world -- isn't this the same thing what Montenegro tried to do with the supposed Albanian terrorists? Sometimes you have to beat it out of them (excuse the impression but this seems to be the intent when the USA performs waterboarding on terror suspects to get info out of them). Perhaps this is why the USA refuses to be a signatory of the ICJ (but you all cry if Montenegro is not).

Equality is a process, and if every counrty abided by international law (including the USA), then we would have utopia. But the reality is something else. A country the size of Montenegro, with its bloody past, its communist ideologies, its nationalist fervor, needs a lot of time. In fact, many European observers are saying that Montenegro is making remarkable strides in bridging the gap in some of the issues you all raise here. The international community understands there are issues to overcome, but they are being very patient with this country because of her history and available resources.

Which I now come to my point -- the affected society (i.e., Albanians in Montenegro) need to step up the pressure on those who are doing the oppression, and not the Diaspora.

How does it look if you Albanians in New York and Detroit continue with all the petitions, demonstrations, etc. and those in Montenegro just stand idle and do nothing? For God's sake, if you are being persecuted, then do something about it! If I am a third-party observer (i.e., Amnesty, EU...) I would say inter-ethnic relations in Montenegro are quite good, to say the least. Why? Because no one is saying otherwise (and I mean those that live and breath there).

Anonymous said...

Ndoshta ke pak te drejte.Por me sa e kuptova une ket shkrim te fundit, problemi i Malesise eshte kanceri qe vjen nga Podgorica, e jo Malesoret. Gjukanoviqi i ka disa Malesore qe manipulon me ta dhe keshtu e kontrollon Malesin. Vetem per informata i pardor ata, si agjenta per shtetitn e
alit te Zi, por ne prgjithesi ne ne Malesi jemi te vendosur per ti fituar te drejtata tona qe ne takojn me ligj; por jan disa individa qe kan tradhtua Malesin, dhe ne emer te saj punojne ne dem te Malesise. Nuk ka individe ose kombe ne bote qe nuk deshiron lirin, edhe ne jemi qenje njerzore dhe duam lirin tone! Mos be paragjykim pa baze!

Anonymous said...

Ndoshta ke pak te drejte.Por me sa e kuptova une ket shkrim te fundit, problemi i Malesise eshte kanceri qe vjen nga Podgorica, e jo Malesoret. Gjukanoviqi i ka disa Malesore qe manipulon me ta dhe keshtu e kontrollon Malesin. Vetem per informata i pardor ata, si agjenta per shtetitn e
alit te Zi, por ne prgjithesi ne ne Malesi jemi te vendosur per ti fituar te drejtata tona qe ne takojn me ligj; por jan disa individa qe kan tradhtua Malesin, dhe ne emer te saj punojne ne dem te Malesise. Nuk ka individe ose kombe ne bote qe nuk deshiron lirin, edhe ne jemi qenje njerzore dhe duam lirin tone! Mos be paragjykim pa baze!

Anonymous said...

...."No one is saying anything".... Say something against this government, and then you can kiss-good-by all your opportunities for yourself and your kids!

Anonymous said...

Individet te cilet nuk kane problem me Mal te Zi, besa e kan punen mire. Kjo eshte nje pakice e vogel, sic thoni ju atje ne SHBA "hand-picked" nga agjentat neo-komuniste dhe neo-krimenale te Gjukanoviqit dhe i sherbejn per te mbajte ne pushtet kliken e Gjukanoviqit dhe per ti uzurpua te drejtat tona. Ata ci nuk e shofin ket fenomen, ateher me te vertet nuk e kuptojne atmosferen politike ne Mal te Zi.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

When national unity is not present, all of this is done in vain.

I had 2 Albanian work for me, one was a 40-something year old catholic (Malsor) who barley spoke English and the other was a 23 year old Muslim. The way these 2 presented themselves was when I interviewed them, they showed humanity, sincerity when they spoke! even though they were not well qualified, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because they were Albanian. I was just happy to have my kind working with me, even though the other workers were sour spreading rumors that I showed these 2 favoritism, which was untrue. I personally hired both of them for the reason is I love my people! However, you know what? I found out the hard way that the feelings I have for my people are not always reciprocated. I went through hoops to train these 2 individuals.
If you notice I did not call either one of them, men and I would not! These two went behind my back contradicting everything that we had spoken about before I had hired them, they were sabotaging me. They would speak with the other workers who were Spanish and American decent about my whereabouts, when I was coming and when I was going and they would speak to each other watch my back and I’ll watch yours. You know how I caught them? I kept a 2way radio in my apartment that none of them knew about and I had one in my car that worked for about 6-7 blocks away from the building that I run. Needless to say they were both let go.

My point, how can we unite, how can we get along? When we try to cut each other off at the knees? These 2 individuals treated non-Albanians better then they treated one of their own. I never asked for information from any of my employees’ to report on each other indiscreetly. To me these two individuals did nothing to me! All they did was show me their true colors. The catholic has 3 kids at home all under the age of 9yrs old and the Muslim who’s father left him at a young age has a mother who he takes care of and is bed ridden. I tried to help them out even though I have no idea who they were and where they came from. However, if this is national unity they can keep it! I have a wife and 2 kids that I am responsible for and parents and a sister who I help as much as I can! Thankfully for the meantime, they are doing well! What are my options? Hire non-Albanians who I can mold into what I want and what I expect. Alternatively, hire an Albanian who talks the talk but at the end is killing me slowly. For me the choice is easy. Would I hire another Albanian absolutely! Under my conditions though.

I am not surprised by the verdict in the courts of Podgorica, if anything I would have been surprised if it went the other way quite frankly. But our people will not have freedom or prosperity when we cannot even trust each other. I am a catholic Malsor, I do not care what your religion is! If your Albanian for me that’s all that matters… But the feeling and the thought is not always reciprocated…

Anonymous said...

Gosh, this all sounds too familiar.

Like in politics of Montenegro/Malesia, Albanians are their own worst enemies.

Our struggle is not so much with Podgorica as it is with our own ethnie

Anonymous said...

The Diaspora Albania elite need to re-awaken and take control ...