NGO Human Rights Action has, on the behalf of NGO LGBT Forum Progress and NGO Hiperion, filed a constitutional complaint against the verdict of the Supreme court from September of 2016, which confirmed the decision of the Police directorate and the Ministry of Interior to issue the temporary ban of the Academic Pride Walk in Niksic, in September of 2015.
Constitutional complaint states that the Supreme court has violated the right to freedom of assembly and protection against discrimination (in other words, equality before the law) to the members of NGOs LGBT Forum Progress and Hiperion; which is in direct violation of the Constitution of Montenegro, European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights.
LGBT Forum Progress and Hiperion have, as the organisations that work on protection and promotion of human rights and freedoms of LGBTIQ person, filed in July of 2015 a request to the Police for a peaceful gathering, called “Academic Pride Walk”, to be held on September 18 2015. Acting upon the request, head of local Police unit in Niksic issued a temporary ban on the Walk, due to the estimate that it poses a great security risk. This ban was supported by the Ministry of Interior. Later on, the Administrative court has rejected the complaint of the organisers, and the Supreme court has endorsed the ruling of the Administrative court. To this day, the Walk has not been held, even though the organisers have stated the readiness to find common grounds with the Police on the date, time, and the location of the peaceful gathering.
In the documents banning the Walk, issued by the Police directorate and the Ministry of Interior, which have been accepted by the courts, no plausible reasons were given as to why this gathering would pose a high security risk. Furthermore, no mention was made in the rulings as to why the Police failed to respond to such “high risk”, when it clearly managed to do so during the first two Prides in 2013 – one in Budva and one in Podgorica.
Police directorate banned the Academic Pride Walk, but allowed the Communist Party of Yugoslavia to have a gathering, despite having their members issue threats to members of LGBT Forum Progress and Hiperion. Not only was this a clear discrimination against the organisers, but also a major concern, since the Police did not file a single criminal report following the threats, but instead decided to ban the peaceful gathering of the two organisations mentioned.
We expect for the Constitutional court to apply the standards of practice of the European court for Human Rights, to which the Human Rights Action, LGBT Forum Progress and Hiperion hopelessly pointed out to the Ministry of Interior and the courts. We also expect that, by accepting this complaint, the court will show that Montenegro is bound to grant the right to peaceful gathering even to those people with whose views and ideas the majority of population disagrees, and especially the groups of bullies.
Tea Gorjanc-Prelevic, Executive director, NGO Human Rights Action
Bojana Jokic, President of the Managing Board, NGO LGBT Forum Progress
Ksenija Rakocevic, President of the Managing Board, NGO Hiperion