Project : Support to the Ombudsperson’s Office and the Constitutional Court of Montenegro in applying European human rights standards” (SOCCER)

Support to Human Rights National Implementation

Title Support to the Ombudsperson’s Office and the Constitutional Court of Montenegro in applying European human rights standards” (SOCCER)
Project area Montenegro
Budget EUR 500 000
Funding provided by European Union (80 %) - Council of Europe (20 %)
Partners Ombudsperson’s Office and Constitutional Court
Project team Based in Podgorica and Strasbourg
 

Objectives of the activities:

The Project’s overall objective is to contribute to improve the protection of human rights in Montenegro. This will be achieved through two specific objectives, namely the strengthening of the capacity of the Ombudsperson’s Office and the Constitutional Court to apply European human rights standards in their daily work.

Upon completion of the Project, the following results are expected:

  • 1. The capacity of the Ombudsperson’s Office to deal with anti-discrimination cases is strengthened. Its ability to recognise discrimination cases and act in line with the standards set under the main Council of Europe legal instruments (European Convention on Human Rights – ECHR, European Social Charter, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities), and according to the rulings of the main Council of Europe monitoring bodies (European Court of Human Rights – ECtHR, European Committee of Social Rights, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance – ECRI, Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities) is improved.
  • 2. The capacity of the Ombudsperson’s Office to carry out its responsibilities as National Preventive Mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture is improved. Its ability to make concrete recommendations and follow-up of cases of human rights violations and to report following on-site visits to places of deprivation of liberty is enhanced.
  • 3. The capacity of the Constitutional Court to deal with individual applications is strengthened. The modern electronic case filtering system and network will have a positive impact on the Constitutional complaint mechanism and its effectiveness.
  • 4. The capacity of the judges of the Constitutional Court to use ECHR-based arguments is enhanced. The IT-network newly developed in the Constitutional Court facilitates the access of judges of the Constitutional Court to the case law of the ECtHR and exchanges of best practices and know-how with other judges dealing with individual complaints enable the judges of the Constitutional Court to better apply European human rights standards.

This will be achieved through:

  1. needs assessment missions to identify the needs and proposition of recommendations to improve the situation,
  2. development of practical guidelines for the staff of the Ombudsperson’s office and the Constitutional Court,
  3. training seminars and workshops on European human rights standards to improve the knowledge and skills of the staff of the Ombudsperson’s office and the Constitutional Court,
  4. on-site visits to improve the practical skills of the Ombudsperson’s office,
  5. international conference and study visits to the Council of Europe and other member states to better understand the functioning of the ECtHR and exchange best practices
  6. expert support to the Ombudsperson’s office and the Constitutional Court to implement the recommendations,
  7. translations and publications.

The Project’s implementation will be based on the findings of violations identified in the judgments of the ECtHR against Montenegro, the reports of the Council of Europe’s bodies (ECRI recommendations, CPT reports, etc) and other international organisations and structural problems identified in the relevant decisions and/or interim resolutions of the Committee of Ministers.

All training activities will be carried under the umbrella of the European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP), which is the platform gathering all capacity-development resources for legal professionals of the Council of Europe.

The general approach selected will provide a good basis for multiplier effects as regards human rights protection and ensure that the process is fully owned by the Ombudsperson’s office and the Constitutional Court, and shared with the relevant stakeholders, to ensure the impact and sustainability of the Project.