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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Releases > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Remarks > 2003 > June

Trafficking Case in Montenegro

Stephan M. Minikes, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Statement to the OSCE Permanent Council
Vienna, Austria
June 5, 2003

Released by the U.S. Mission to the OSCE

(As delivered)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We join the European Union in expressing our concern regarding the decision on May 30th of the Podgorica Municipal Court Prosecutor, Zoran Radonjic, not to indict any of the suspects charged with human trafficking and facilitating prostitution in the recent high-profile case in Montenegro.

We have closely followed this case since it was brought to our attention by the OSCE Office in Podgorica and by the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings. On February 6th and 13th in the Permanent Council, we urged the Government of Montenegro to follow through on its promise to conduct a fair investigation of this case. I personally, in a meeting with Prime Minister Djukanovic, urged him to do so and he gave me his personal assurance he would do so.

We are deeply disappointed that after a lengthy judicial investigation, the Prosecutor has closed the case and no indictments have been issued. The failure of Montenegro's legal system to indict any suspects or to hold a trial calls into question its ability to effectively fight against human trafficking. We urge the Government to intensify efforts to accelerate adoption, passage, and implementation of judicial reform legislation, including the Draft Law on the State Prosecutor. We also urge the Government of Montenegro to intensify efforts to protect the victims of human trafficking and to prosecute the perpetrators, including by ensuring that all relevant state authorities have the necessary legal, policy, and material means necessary to do their jobs.

We are extremely concerned by allegations of government complicity and expect all governments to exercise the utmost diligence in investigating cases involving complicity in human trafficking. The dismissal of this case very much calls into question the seriousness of the Government of Montenegro's efforts to prosecute such complicity. Thank you.


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