Parliamentary elections in October cemented the rule of the governing coalition led by Milo Đukanović; independent election monitors reported irregularities in dozens of polling stations.
Counter-terror and security
In January and June, Montenegro resettled two former detainees from the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
In September, the government signed the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, to tackle the issue of “foreign terrorist fighters”.
Discrimination – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
In May, two LGBTI organizations brought a case before an administrative court against the Ministry of Interior for failing to guarantee the right to freedom of peaceful assembly by allowing the police authorities to ban an LGBTI Pride march in Nikšić, the second largest town, three times consecutively. The organizations’ initial complaint had been rejected by the Ministry. In June, the court rejected the applicants’ claims; the organizations have turned to the Constitutional Court to request a constitutional review.
By the end of the year, the authorities had not acted on the recommendations of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances to include disappearance as a separate criminal offence in the Criminal Code. The authorities also failed to enable access to justice and reparation for victims. Additionally, Montenegro failed to ensure that the continuous nature of enforced disappearance was recognized in its system of criminal law. The fate and whereabouts of the 61 individuals still reported missing following the 1991-1999 armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia were not investigated.
Freedom of expression – journalists
Journalists continued to receive threats and media offices were occasionally vandalized. The Minister of Interior announced in June that amendments to the Criminal Code would be introduced to address the prevalent impunity for attacks on journalists. A draft had not been submitted by end of year.
The trial of Jovo Martinović, an investigative journalist detained since October 2015, opened in late October. He was accused of being involved in the criminal network he was investigating. Human rights groups and journalist associations expressed concern that the charges were motivated by his investigative work.
Refugees and internally displaced people
Over 1,600 refugees who fled to Montenegro during the conflict in former Yugoslavia remained without durable solutions. They still lived in substandard conditions in camps without access to comprehensive integration programmes. The refugees, the majority of them Roma from Serbia/Kosovo, had not received adequate support to acquire formal international protection status, citizenship or permanent residency rights. This prevented them from accessing essential services, including health care and employment opportunities.