1. The Committee on Human Rights and Freedoms severely condemns behaviour of some MPs of the Democratic Front in the Parliament of Montenegro, after the Sitting of the First Extraordinary Session in 2017, held on 15 February 2017, during which the Parliament approved the initiation of criminal proceedings and ordering of detention against MPs of the Democratic Front Mr Andrija Mandić and Mr Milan Knežević.
The Committee assesses that aggressive, violent and inappropriate behaviour of some MPs of the Democratic Front as well as physical assaults against MPs of the Democratic Party of Socialists, and the use of abusive language, including insults on the grounds of national and religious affiliation, disability, and other personal characteristics are a gross violation of standards and practices relating to protection of human rights. The Committee considers that such behaviour is inadmissible and unacceptable in a democratic society, and particularly, if manifested by parliamentarians, representatives of citizens, who, in line with Article 6 paragraph 1 of the Code of Ethics, are “obliged to undertake their duties with utmost diligence and sense of personal accountability, to respect personality of all individuals and the Parliament, avoiding any action which may undermine their integrity and dignity”.
2. The Committee condemns behaviour of some MPs of the Democratic Front, after the Sitting of the First Extraordinary Session in 2017, by which, they, undoubtedly, violated the rights of MPs of the Democratic Party of Socialist on dignity, reputation and honour, because the insults by some of MPs of the Democratic Front are misuse of freedom of expression and do not reflect the culture of dialogue.
The Committee reminds that, in line with Article 6 para 3 of the Constitution of Montenegro, “everyone is obliged to respect the rights and liberties of others”, and Article 47 of the Constitution says that “everyone has the right to freedom of expression by speech, writing, picture or in some other manner, but the right to freedom of expression may be limited only by the right of others to dignity, reputation and honour and if it threatens public morality or the security of Montenegro”.
Despite the fact that MPs, as representatives of the citizens, are expected to stand up for democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms, tolerance, mutual respect and understanding more than everyone else, some MPs of the Democratic Front showed indecent behaviour before the entire Montenegrin public and international community, and that behaviour should be condemned and sanctioned by all available legal means.
3. The Committee on Human Rights and Freedoms, as a body responsible for oversight of application and compliance with the Code of Ethics for MPs, has been noticing the faults of the Code and inefficiency of its application since its adoption.
Inefficiency of application of the Code imposes the need for amendments to the Code of Ethics for MPs, therefore, the Committee urges the Collegium of the President of the Parliament to take action aimed at amending this act, for the purpose of its more efficient implementation in practice.
4. The Committee notes that, even though Montenegrin media were reporting accurately on the events after the Sitting of the First Extraordinary Session in 2017, and the Media Trade Union condemned the behaviour of MPs and security in the Parliament of Montenegro towards the media worker, they did not condemn physical and verbal attacks against MPs of the Democratic Party of Socialists, witnessed by the entire Montenegrin public.
5. It surprises that numerous non-governmental organisations for the protection of human rights remained silent this time and did not condemn the inappropriate behaviour of MPs of the Democratic Front in the Parliament on 15 February 2017, even though they frequently state their opinion regarding ongoings in the Montenegrin public.
6. Rhetoric and behaviour “from the street” that members of the Democratic Front are showing continuously in the Parliament of Montenegro undermine the integrity of the Parliament as institution as well as authority of other MPs, all of which is harmful to the democratic process and hinders the country's progress in Euro-Atlantic integration. The Committee urges for respect of human rights, culture of dialogue and tolerance in the Parliament, all other institutions and the entire Montenegrin society.
The Committee believes that relevant authorities will react efficiently, in line with Constitution and legislation.