Openness of courts and prosecutor’s offices in the region is not at a satisfacory level while a level of openness of Montenegrin judicial institutions is significantly better.
In order to determine to what extent citizens of Western Balkans receive opportune and understandable information from their institutions, CDT developed the Regional index of openness with partners from a network of organizations Action SEE.
The research was conducted in the period from October to the end of December 2016. Based on results, a set of recommendations and guidelines for improvement of institutions’ openness was prepared.
Research results for the region
Courts and prosecutor’s offices must have an independent position in a system of power and in their work they must respect basic principles: impartiality, accountability, efficiency and transparency.
We have identified several critical points in the work of judicial bodies in the region and all countries must pay a special attention to these points, aimed at achieving international standards and those are the following: principle of random assignment of cases, publicity of trials, publishing of information and decisions and financial transparency.
When it comes to the principle of random assignment of cases, the research has shown that one third of regional courts does not respect the principle of random assignment of cases.
If courts do not properly organize assignment of cases, the public may have impression that judges are partial and their own interests are present in their work, which is a suitable ground for the development of corruption. It may have far-reaching consequences when it comes to citizens’ trust in judicial system.
The principle of publicity of trials, as one of basic conditions for a fair trial, is respected in more than 90% of courts in the region.
The analysis has shown that almost 30% of regional courts does not have active websites. More than a third of regional courts does not publish work reports. Just a half of courts in the region publishes other information regarding work: work plans and programs, scope of work, biographies of judges, listings and notifications, etc.
An annual budget of regional courts is available only in one third of countries. Data regarding public procurements in courts in the form of plans, decisions, contracts and annexes to contracts are not available in more than three quarters of regional institutions. In most countries salaries of judges and property records are not published.
Research results for Montenegro
Willingness related to increasing of openness is expressed through different documents and statements of judicial management.
In the following period a key task is a consistent implementation of proclaimed principles in practice.
Numerous activities of the international organization, initiatives of civil sector and reporting on problems in this area by Montenegrin media contributed to increase of openness.
Montenegrin courts and prosecutor’s offices meet around 75% of indicators of openness.
You can find more information in the policy “Openness of judicial bodies in the region and Montenegro”.