Building An Effective NPM in Montenegro

Monday, April 4, 2011

APT was in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, for two OPCAT related events which took place on 5-6 April 2011. The first event was a capacity building training for what is most likely to become the country's NPM, the Ombudsperson's Office or Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms. On 6 April the APT participated in a round-table event, 'International Standards in Torture Prevention and their Implementation in Montenegro'.

Date: 05 - 06 April 2011
Place: Podgorica, Montenegro
Purpose: To support the development of Montenegro’s future NPM.
Partners: Monitoring Centre – CEMI
Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro
Ombudsman - Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms
OSCE Mission to Montenegro
Activities: From 4th - 7th April, the APT was in Montenegro to carry out a one-and-a-half day capacity building workshop for what is most likely to become the country's NPM, the Ombudsperson's Office or Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms (PHRF). Draft legislation is currently before the Montenegrin parliament, which, if it enters into force, will designate this institution as the NPM. With this likely prospect in mind the APT conducted the capacity building workshop entitled 'Building An Effective NPM in Montenegro' in order to help prepare its staff to take on this important torture prevention mandate.

The workshop gathered 6 advisers (out of 7) from the Ombudsperson's Office. The specific objectives of the workshop were :
  • to strengthen participants understanding and knowledge of the conceptual and practical dimensions of prevention in the field of torture and other ill treatment (preventive approach).
  • to strengthen participants understanding and knowledge of the OPCAT, the bodies and NPM requirements.
  • to examine the practical challenges associated with the establishment and functioning of NPMs (NPM Analytical Framework).

The workshop was divided into 2 parts:
  • Part one (half day) focused on the key elements of a preventive approach to torture and ill-treatment and the NPM mandate and requirements under the OPCAT
  • Part two (one day) participants discussed, examined and identified the practical challenges and possible actions to take associated with the establishment and functioning of the NPM under five dimensions (working methods; activities; resources; internal organization and relations with external actors).
In addition, on the afternoon of 6 April, the APT participated in a half-day round-table event entitled 'International obligations in prevention of torture and their implementation in Montenegro''. A range of different representatives took part in this exchange, including from civil society, Ombudsperson’s Office, Prison Service, Supreme Court and Parliamentary Human Rights Committee.
Outcome: This workshop was relevant and useful in providing for a very fruitful exchange between the Ombudsman's staff and APT on the future NPM mandate and key elements to take into consideration.

The workshop allowed the participants to reflect on their needs and identify some key actions that could be implemented at an early stage in order to be an effective NPM. Some of the key actions identified included the need to develop decrees reflecting the law (such as on safeguards), to conduct activities to increase awareness on the preventive approach and to define a mixed programme of visits once a mapping of the different places of detention was completed.

During the roundtable on the 'International obligations in prevention of torture and their implementation in Montenegro' the APT highlighted the fact that the Proposal of the Law on the Ombudsman, currently in the parliamentary procedure, was not in line with the OPCAT that Montenegro ratified on 9 March 2009.

The capacity building training event for the Ombudsperson’s Office was the first to take place in the context of the OPCAT in Montenegro.
Next Steps: As a continuation of this first workshop, it is anticipated that once the law is adopted other activities aimed at bolstering the ability of the Ombudsperson’s Office to function as an effective NPM will be conducted.
Documents: Agenda, 05 April 2011 - 'Building An Effective NPM in Montenegro'

Agenda, 06 April 2011 - 'International Obligations in Torture Prevention and their Implementation in Montenegro'
Contact Persons: Audrey Olivier, APT OPCAT Coordinator
Tanya Norton, APT Detention Monitoring Adviser
Photographs courtesy of CEMI