FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals
The goal of U.S. Government (USG) assistance in Montenegro is to support the country’s transition to a market-based democracy fully embedded in Euro-Atlantic institutions, including NATO and the European Union (EU). The United States assists these efforts by helping Montenegro ensure stability through broad-based prosperity, building an effective security partnership, strengthening the rule of law, and reinforcing democratic institutions. In addition, a top USG priority is building Montenegro’s capacity for combating corruption, thereby increasing public confidence in governance. Economic reform will also continue to play an important role in achieving U.S. goals for Montenegro. Job creation and economic revitalization, particularly in the impoverished and ethnically diverse North, are key elements to maintaining harmony among ethnic communities and sustaining Montenegro’s stabilizing influence in the region.
Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $10.65 million*
(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, not including centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries.)
Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
-- During FY 2010, the USG provided training and equipment to enhance the ability of Montenegrin Customs and Border Police to control Montenegro’s borders and interdict illicit trafficking. As a result, the Border Police mounted successful interdiction operations on Skadar Lake and elsewhere in Montenegro and continue to advance their maritime control capacity. Additionally, USG support contributed to Montenegro’s ability to conduct trade within the global rules-based system – in particular by enhancing its ability to license imports, exports, transits, transshipments and re-exports while ensuring compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, the multilateral nonproliferation regimes and EU requirements.
-- USG security assistance programs continue to prepare the Montenegrin defense establishment for future membership in NATO and for partnership in overseas contingency operations. In 2010, the Montenegrin Armed Forces procured night vision devices, GPS equipment, uniforms, and a variety of individual training equipment through USG funding.
-- USG programs trained over 100 prosecutors in asset forfeiture, cross-examination techniques, tracking of illicit proceeds, courtroom presentation of asset forfeiture cases, and in major case management. Programs also provided training to police and prosecutors on anti-money laundering.
-- USG assistance supported the formation of the Joint Investigative Team (JIT), a task force headed up by the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The JIT has already returned indictments for corruption against 21 customs and border police officers and is now pursuing the financial assets of a high-ranking global drug trafficker in cooperation with the Italian anti-mafia prosecutors. Fifty-one persons have been arrested on charges of trafficking one ton of cocaine from South America to Europe, with suspects arrested in several European countries. The JIT has overseen the arrest of one of the key drug traffickers in Europe and will be conducting a subsequent financial investigation aimed at seizing the assets of the suspect and his organization.
Governing Justly and Democratically
-- In FY 2010, USG assistance continued to help Parliament improve its lawmaking and oversight capacities and provided technical assistance and training. As a result, 55 public hearings were held in front of nine (out of 11) different parliamentary committees, demonstrating that Parliament has significantly increased its oversight of the Executive through the instrument of hearings. In addition to ministerial representatives, the police and the Agency for National Security, who participated in hearings over the last year, a number of representatives of NGOs, universities, governmental agencies, and the Supreme Audit Institution appeared before parliamentary committees to testify on a number of different topics. For the first time, the Secretary General testified to the Committee on Economy, Budget, and Finance, presenting transparent reports of parliamentary expenditures over the past year. The committee also invited the anti-corruption NGO MANS to attend a committee session and testify on its assessment of the reports.
-- As a result of USG efforts, Parliament now functions with a new administrative structure and operates with improved rules of procedure, and the political opposition has greater responsibility within parliament in the form of committee chairmanships and co-chairmanships. The role of parliamentary staff continued to develop through 2010, both through work with clerks on essential skills building and with parliamentary officials on devoting more resources to creating a professional staff.
-- The goal of the anti-corruption program, which ended in February 2010, was to work in partnership with a broad coalition of non-governmental and civil society organizations to advocate for the adoption of concrete anticorruption reforms that reflect the concerns of Montenegrin society as well as to monitor and assist in the implementation of such reform efforts. After 24 months of the implementation of the anti-corruption program, there has been an increase in the number of citizens reporting corruption, submitting complaints, requesting information, giving suggestions to local NGOs, and participating in an anti-corruption campaign. A total of 175 calls were made by citizens to hotlines sponsored under the program over a period of five months, making an average of 35 calls per month, or a 17 percent increase over 2009 figures.
-- During the reporting period, a local NGO and a team of investigative journalists drawn from three different independent media outlets in Montenegro continued to produce in-depth stories across six different thematic categories (all connected to corruption). These stories were posted on the internet portal created by the project and accessible to all media in Montenegro who are able to print the stories in their own media or elaborate on the stories themselves freely and without copyright problems. Training and technical support improved the capacity of journalists for investigative journalism.
-- Under the Legislative Strengthening & Watchdog Program, a total of five sub-grants were awarded to watchdog NGOs. One illustrative example of the success under this program is the NGO CDT (Center for Democratic Transition) initiative to monitor state and municipal political parties’ expenditure. The NGO collected all financial documentation on state and municipal expenditures for the period of 2004-2008 and a complete set of documentation from the Ministry of Finance pertaining to money transfers to the political parties from state and local government budgets for regular and campaign expenses. CDT reported to the public serious discrepancies in the amounts transferred to political parties compared to the limits prescribed in the Law on Financing of Political Parties. CDT reports and various TV shows on this subject provoked a sizeable political debate in the country about the use of government budget funds to support political parties. This NGO will continue its work through other funding.
-- Interest in USG exchange programs is steadily rising and alumni from both the high school and adult programs have joined together to officially register their alumni association as an NGO that is working in the fields of environmental awareness and academic development. Leveraging their experiences with volunteerism and civic participation in the U.S., these alumni will play an increasing role in program design in the future based on their increasingly active role in society.
-- Working with the Montenegrin Office for Fighting Human Trafficking, an education initiative was conducted to raise the awareness on the part of judges, prosecutors, police officers, social workers, labor inspectors and representatives of national and international organizations involved in combating human trafficking. This high profile event received widespread media coverage and raised awareness of trafficking in persons and its consequences. Raising awareness and understanding about human trafficking will be followed by training for police and other law enforcement officials as well as for prosecutors and judges.
-- In FY 2010, the USG provided significant help to the Association of Paraplegics of Montenegro. With USG support the association monitored the implementation of the Law on Spatial Adaptation and Building which states all new school buildings constructed must contain physical access for the disabled. During 2010, the association monitored 39 construction sites resulting in significantly increased awareness of the law and the challenges faced by the disabled community. Following this monitoring, the association worked in conjunction with in-house legal advice to compile and submit information to the National Building Inspection on five cases in which the Law on Spatial Adaptation and Building was being violated.
-- In FY 2010, training programs were conducted for judges, prosecutors, legal advisors, police and other criminal justice actors and stakeholders on significant changes to the Criminal Procedure Code including plea bargaining, investigation of corruption, asset forfeiture and investigation of financial crimes. As a result of introductory trainings, prosecutors recognize the benefits of resolving cases short of full evidentiary hearings/trials, but are not comfortable with the process of plea bargaining and are struggling with how to negotiate a plea agreement with defense counsel. Defense counsels are not convinced of the benefits of plea agreements, believing that resolving cases more quickly and without full trials will reduce their earnings. In FY 2011, the program will identify the specific obstacles to implementation of plea bargaining and develop training programs to address them.
-- Training in investigating corruption cases, along with extensive education on professional integrity and what constitutes corruption has succeeded in increasing the visibility of official corruption and raising the awareness of judges, prosecutors and other government officials involved in criminal justice. Montenegrin prosecutors are sensitive to the need to demonstrate diligence and competency in handling corruption cases, but are not performing proactively when it comes to leading investigations into corruption as required under the new Criminal Procedure Code provisions. A proposal is being prepared for training programs to teach prosecutors how to direct investigations and to work with police to take a proactive approach to crime, particularly organized crime and corruption.
-- With the overall goal of fostering private sector growth in the North as well as linking private sector producers and entrepreneurs in the North with investors and customers in the southern and central regions, in FY 2010, USG programs provided technical assistance as well as grants to support small and medium size businesses. As a result of collaboration at the local level, a Business Service Center concept was implemented in order to foster public and private partnerships and boost the competitiveness of enterprises, establishing the Center for Hospitality and Tourism Education – hospitality and tourism-specific skills training; the Center for Entrepreneurship – a hub for practical and environmentally sensitive business development and enhancement advice and services; and the Offices for Tourism and Entrepreneurship – establishment of a local tourism office as well as a new office to house a young entrepreneurship center.