Annual Report: Serbia and Montenegro 2010

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Annual Report: Serbia and Montenegro 2010

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Freedom of expression

In April, following a retrial, Damir Mandi? was convicted as an accomplice to the murder of Duško Jovanovi?, former editor of the newspaper Dan, and sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. No other suspects were identified. The newspaper subsequently received threats, including a bomb scare.

In August, the mayor of Podgorica and his son were charged with assaulting two journalists from the newspaper Vijesti. No progress was made in investigating the murder of Srdjan Voji?i?, bodyguard to author Jevrem Brkovi?, or the serious assault in May 2008 on journalist Mladen Stojovi?, after he requested police protection following his reports on organized crime in football.

In May, the Prime Minister publicly criticized NGOs and independent journalists, who were subject to punitive fines. In August, Andrej Nikolaidis and the journal Monitor were ordered by the Supreme Court to pay 12,000 euros in damages to film director Emir Kusturica.

Discrimination

A draft anti-discrimination law was prepared. In November the Minister for Human Rights and Minorities made discriminatory statements about homosexuals.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted in March "continued allegations of police brutality and ill-treatment and lack of prompt and impartial investigations of cases with respect to disadvantaged ethnic groups, particularly Roma." According to the YIHR, 75 per cent of Roma reportedly stated they would not make a complaint if ill-treated.

The CERD further concluded that socio-economic conditions for Roma were "precarious and discriminatory". UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, assisted Roma without birth certificates to obtain identity documents - required for eligibility to social security, health, education and employment.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

According to UNHCR, approximately 4,476 Roma, Askhali and Egyptians from Kosovo remained in Montenegro. A proposed amendment to the Law on Foreigners would allow them, and others displaced from Croatia and BiH, to apply for residency.

Violence against women and girls

In June the US State Department placed Montenegro on its 2009 Watch List of trafficking in persons, as it continued to be a transit country for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation, but failed to convict traffickers or identify victims. A draft domestic violence law did not include adequate provisions on the implementation of protection orders.

Amnesty International visit/report

Amnesty International delegates visited Montenegro in October.

Amnesty International's concerns in Montenegro: January-June 2009 (1 September 2009)