Today, a hearing was held in the case of NGO Hiperion and LGBT Forum Progress against the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro; following the rejection of the complaint on the decision of the Ministry of Interior to ban the Pride Walk in Niksic, in September 2015.
As a reminder, the parties filing a complaint, NGOs Hiperion and LGBT Forum Progress have, after a triple ban on the Pride Walk, filed a complaint to the Ministry of Interior, claiming that their right to peaceful public gathering has been denied to them. The complaint was rejected by the Ministry, which resulted in a case being opened before the Administrative court in October 2015.
Today, eight months after the case has been opened, a first public hearing was held in this case.
Mr. Stevan Milivojevic, with an attorney, was present on the behalf of the complaining parties; as well as a representative of the Ministry of Interior, as a party being sued.
The complaining parties restated what was mentioned in the lawsuit, adding the opinions of independent institutions – Council for civil control of the Police and the Office of the Ombudsperson of Montenegro – confirming that there has been a violation of the right to a peaceful public gathering.
The Council for civil control of the Police has stated that there were many violations of the freedom of assembly, which was not necessary, and that the Police directorate failed to take all necessary and reasonable steps to enable a peaceful public gathering of the LGBT community.
The Council also stated that the Police directorate and the local precinct in Niksic had enough time, during the time all the requests for the gathering have been made, to prepare and neutralise any potential danger and violent conflict, considering that every Pride so far carried a similar risk.
On the other hand, the Office of the Ombudsperson of Montenegro states that they believe that, by banning the gathering, the organisers had their right to a peaceful public gathering violated, considering that the Police directorate had sufficient time, after the first two bans, to enable the gathering and minimise the security risks. This office also states that the complaining parties have been deprived of an effective domestic legal cure for having their right to freedom of assembly violated, since the Ministry of Interior has ruled that the complaint has no grounds or validity.
Representative of the Ministry in this case stated that she fully stands by the opinion of the Ministry, as a response to the lawsuit, which denies the complaint entirely.
Administrative court will make a ruling in this case no more than 8 days following the hearing, which will be made available to all parties involved no more than 30 days following the ruling.
NGOs Hiperion and LGBT Forum Progress