Transparency International condemns yesterday’s decision of the Parliament of Montenegro to dismiss Vanja Ćalović Marković, executive director of MANS, our Montenegrin chapter, from the Council of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, even though the national court has not reached its verdict on her case. This decision suggests retribution against Ćalović Marković for her uncompromising fight against corruption.
Allegations of conflict of interest against Ćalović Marković are being disputed in a national court, with the case scheduled for 17 July 2018. Ćalović Marković has not been given an opportunity to respond to the allegations made against her, contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. Last month, more than 40 NGOs urged Parliament to wait for the court decision before voting on Ćalović Marković’s dismissal, however, despite this, Parliament voted yesterday.
The dismissal of Ćalović Marković was a politically charged move and raises concerns previously outlined by the European Commission in its 2018 report on Montenegro. The report highlights challenges around conflict of interest cases, particularly those concerning members of civil society organisations and media, including the public broadcaster, RTCG, and the Council of the Agency for Electronic Media.
The dismissal also adds to the mounting political pressure that MANS faces in its work to fight corruption, undermines citizens’ trust in political institutions and counteracts national accession efforts to join the European Union.
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