Rule of Law

Montenegro is a civil, democratic, ecological and social justice state, based on the rule of law (Article 1, Constitution of Montenegro). The affirmation of the principle of equality before the law, as one of the fundamental postulates of the rule of law, is the primary function of Rule of Law Department.

CEDEM was the first NGO in Montenegro to organize seminars on international and European Union legal standards. Over 900 lawyers, judges, prosecutors and other civil servants have participated in our training programs since 1999. The Rule of Law Department prepares draft laws and draft amendments to the law; organizes round tables and seminars for representatives of judicial bodies; performs monitoring of court proceedings; and prepares, publishes and distributes publications with the ultimate goal to encourage a responsible, professional, efficient and transparent judiciary in Montenegro.




Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM), in cooperation with RT Pljevlja and  NGO Green Home, started the implementation of the project "Environmental reporting media Hub - NORTH". The two-year project is being implemented with the financial support of the European Commission through the Media Professionalization Program in Montenegro.

The Action is prepared at a time when Montenegro is required to intensify its efforts on implementation and enforcement, in particular on nature protection, industrial pollution, risk, and waste management, as well as civil protection, as outlined in Montenegro 2019 Report on Chapter 27 on one side, and enhancing media freedoms, as outlined in Action Plans for Chapter 23 which are at the heart of the negotiation process, on the other side.

In this regard, the overall objective of this action is to strengthen participatory democracy and the EU integration process in Montenegro by empowering and stimulating media quality, professionalism and investigative journalism in the area of environment and negotiating Chapter 27.

Specific objective(s) of this project are to enhance the capacity of journalists in the northern part of Montenegro to investigate and report on key environmental topics, by using free access to information tools, in a professional and ethical manner and through cooperation with civil sector in this field of interest.

Primarily target group(s) of this project are media professionals, as well as students of journalism from the Faculty of Political Science, free-lance and active citizen journalists, but also  CSOs dealing with environmental issues from northern Montenegro.

Activities are divided into three clusters that will contribute to:

  1. Upgrade media professionals’ skills, knowledge, and capacities for investigative reporting on the environment, through the use of new tools, mentoring and coaching;
  2. Strengthening content of investigative reporting on transparency and the right to information in the field of environment affecting social and economic issues;
  3. Raise awareness and interactions among journalists, CSOs and citizens


Floren Sans bijela slova


Center for Democracy and Human Rights is launching a contest for students of the Gender Equality School.

The school is being implemented as part of the project "We share responsibility - promoting gender equality policies!" ", which CEDEM implements with the support of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.

The aim of the School is to contribute to greater respect for women's rights and to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, by informing students about gender equality policies and the importance of women's representation in senior and managerial positions. The school also aims to strengthen its professional capacity to take specific measures to achieve gender equality, having in mind that it is aimed at young professionals from different fields.

The School is especially focused on:

  1. students of law, political science and journalism;
  2. young employees in government institutions;
  3. young leaders of political parties in Montenegro and
  4. young civil society actors.

Additionally, we encourage young people from the natural sciences to apply for participation in the School!

The lecturers are going to be national and regional experts in the field of gender equality and combating violence against women.

 The School will be held from 20 February to 20 March 2020 in Podgorica, in the afternoon hours. The number of students is limited to 25. All students upon graduation will receive a certificate and the right to participate in other project activities.

If you wish to attend the School, interested applicants can send a CV and a short letter of motivation (no more than 200 words) to the e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than February 7, 2020, with the indication: “Application for participation in the School of Gender Equality. "

For any additional questions regarding the School, project or program activity, please feel free to contact us via e-mail or telephone: 020 234 114.



The activities carried out within the project: “Support to the efficient management of the criminal sanctions mechanism in Montenegro” will contribute to the ethical responsibility of prison officers in accordance with European standards and good practices.

This was announced at a press conference on the completion of the project: "Support to the Effective Management of the Criminal Sanctions Mechanism in Montenegro", organized by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights - CEDEM, supported by the Ministry of Justice - Bureau of Criminal Sanctions (ZIKS).

CEDEM's director Milena Bešić said the project aimed to support the implementation of criminal sanctions laws and action plans, in line with international standards, through improving the framework for implementing relevant standards for the protection of prisoners' rights and detainees, improving the framework for the ethical responsibility of prison officers in accordance with European standards and good practices.

"Within this project, we have had several activities that we have implemented in previous months. Two-day training sessions were held for members of the training team on the prevention of torture and discrimination against prisoners. The training was attended by three deputy ombudsmen and nine independent advisers", Bešić said.

She said that two days of training for prison officers and parole officers on the application of ethical standards were held as part of the project, attended by 11 representatives of the Directorate of the Bureau of Criminal Sanctions and five representatives of the Ministry of Justice.

Bešić said that three publications were also published within the project.

General director of the Directorate for Execution of Criminal Sanctions of the Ministry of Justice, Nataša Radonjić, said that the project was an opportunity to work together and cooperate to achieve common goals, stating that this project was the right example of successful implementation of legislative innovations in the area of enforcement of criminal sanctions.

"We have a new value for cooperation, because by working together we have come to a common goal and understanding. This project had a significant area - strengthening the integrity of ZIKS officers and officers of the Ministry of Justice's Conditional Liberty Directorate working to enforce alternative sanctions, in terms of promoting and applying ethical standards", Radonjić said.

The Chief Structural Service in the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office (VDT) and social worker, Dijana Popović Gavranović, spoke about the application of an alternative sanction to minors, explaining that the delinquent behavior of that population bears the mark of social status and characteristic personalities in development.

"This is why juvenile proceedings are different from proceedings and criminal acts against adults. According to adult offenders, they are focused on punishment, and in the case of minors, on measures of upbringing, social assistance and protection without the use of repressive elements", "Gavranović Popović underlined.

According to her, the aim of the measures against minors is to eliminate all that impedes their development and directs them to delinquent behavior.

"Often, it is not understood regarding juvenile offenders when they come to criminal proceedings that they are still children in development, that they are vulnerable, that they are not mature enough and that they just look to us as adults", Gavranović said.



(Detail from the final conference that was held in PR center)


People with disabilities (PWDs) in Montenegro are in a very difficult socio-economic situation. They are exposed to discrimination and there is a need to monitor the effectiveness of measures aimed at their social inclusion.

This was announced at the final conference of the project: “Empowerment of Professional Capacities to Combat Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities”, conducted by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights- CEDEM, in partnership with the NGO Ekvista, funded by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.

CEDEM's director, Milena Bešić, said there were still serious shortcomings when it cames to implementing legal solutions, as well as measures defined in the Strategies and Action Plans.

"There are no comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data relating to persons with disabilities. In this way, it is almost impossible to monitor the effectiveness of measures and activities aimed at the social inclusion of persons with disabilities and their protection, ”Bešić said.

According to CEDEM's research, she said that PWDs in Montenegro are in a very difficult socio-economic situation and are one of the groups most exposed to discrimination.

"The prohibition of discrimination and the principle of equality are considered to be so fundamental to the protection of human rights that they are incorporated into all key international human rights instruments.
However, PWDs face discrimination on a daily basis, and despite good legal solutions in practice, access to all public facilities and institutions that they are referred to in daily life is still not adequately provided, ”Bešić said.

She pointed out that in the area of employment, employers would rather pay the prescribed amounts of money to the Fund for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of PWDs than to hire persons with disabilities.

CEDEM's program manager Ognjen Marković, presenting the survey "Position of persons with disabilities in Montenegro: identification of practices and patterns of discrimination", conducted in March this year by the method of group interviews, said that the respondents agreed that it was necessary to raise awareness and the responsibilities of not only the institutions of the system but also of all other actors who directly or indirectly participate in the implementation of the laws and policies in order to boost effective implementation of the adopted laws.

"There are very few cases of discrimination, which doesn't mean that there is no discrimination, but that citizens do not know their rights enough and are not always able to recognize discrimination or to be afraid to report it. That is why it's necessary to inform and educate the population, "Marković pointed out.

When asked how the Ombudsman institution, as a sui generis institution, acts in the field of protection of human rights and freedoms of PWDs, all interlocutors, both from state institutions, non-governmental organizations and LSI themselves, noted a high level of respect the contribution that the Ombudsman institution provides in this field.

"On the other hand, one of the leading objections to the work of the institution is reflected in the low visibility of its activities Marković said.

When asked about the media's coverage of the rights of PWDs, he said, he noted the negative attitude of almost all interviewees.

"Participants overwhelmingly think that this issue is sufficiently represented in the media, however, they see the problem in the way they report it, in a sensationalist approach that characterizes the "path from mercy to heroism". Often the impression is that the media reports on PWDs only when they need to fill their media space", Marković said.

He said that members of the NGO sector, as well as all institutions dealing with the rights of PWDs, noticed that, both and parents and carers of persons with disabilities were insufficiently informed.

"Therefore, parents are insufficiently informed, do not know their rights, nor the rights of their children, and what steps they have to take to exercise their rights, and often the parents themselves do not want to present the problem to the public.
On the other hand, referral syndrome often occurs with persons who are informed about their rights, but they are unwilling to do anything since bureaucratization of the system.

Presenting the results of the project, he said that two publications were published within the project: "Prohibition of Discrimination and Exercise of Employment Rights: Achievements, Problems and Recommendations" and "Guide to Legal and Institutional Protection Against Discrimination against LSI".

Also, a media campaign was conducted and three seminars on European anti-discrimination law and national substantive procedural law were held for representatives of the judiciary, NGOs, inspection services and the Secretariat for Social and Legal Normative Activities of the municipalities from the northern part of Montenegro.

Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, Siniša Bjeković, said PWDs are high on the list of those at risk of discrimination.

He stated that there are another number of vulnerable groups within the PWDs population, such as women and children with disabilities. The key state commitment, he said, is to implement positive obligations and create all conditions for PWDs to be equal to all other members of society.

A professor at the Law and Faculty of Political Science of the University of Montenegro and a member of the Judicial Council, Vesna Simović-Zvicer, emphasized that employment is crucial for the social integration of persons with disabilities.

"One of the basic principles underlying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that we are all born equal in rights and dignity. And that equality should be ensured for persons who for some reason were discriminated against in the previous period", said Simović-Zvicer.

She said that in the previous period, there were numerous measures taken by the state in relation to persons with disabilities, aimed at encouraging them to participate in educational programs, especially in higher education institutions.

Zvicer said that in the previous period it was present that the funds paid by employers to the Professional Rehabilitation Fund were not in all cases spent as they should have been spent.

"We had a terribly bad situation in practice. We had e.g. the situation that an employer who employs a PWDs can use the funds for job adjustment from the Professional Rehabilitation Fund. However, he had no restrictions on the length of the employment contract. He could hire a PWD for a month and he would receive these funds. Later, no one controlled him for whether he had intentionally used those funds. And then the question is whether we have fulfilled what was the goal", Simović-Zvicer said.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, Valon Dasharami, said that once again the successful cooperation that the ministry has achieved with the non-governmental sector is confirmed, adding that the level of discrimination of PWDs in the society is regularly monitored through the research of NGOs and based on PWDs protection policy.

“In the last two years, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights has published five open calls for proposals to support the NGO sector. Last year, we allocated one million and 13 thousand euros, while this year we distributed one million and 513 thousand euros. In terms of PWDs, last year we supported a total of 21 projects worth 440 thousand euros, while this year we supported a total of 25 projects in the amount of 491 thousand euros, said Dasharami.