The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Despite its accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and continued progress towards membership in the European Union (EU), Montenegro still faces significant domestic challenges in the law enforcement and criminal justice sectors involving organized crime and corruption.
Goals: INL supports Montenegro’s efforts to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate serious forms of crime via modern investigative and prosecutorial procedures, which strengthen civil society organizations and promotes reform and transparency. INL will continue to assist with law enforcement and criminal justice sector programs to help Montenegro meet European and international standards in line with its aspirations for European integration. Key missions include: (1) assisting in ongoing legal and institutional reform and development support to criminal justice institutions fighting transnational criminal organizations, corruption and other forms of serious crime; (2) improving the capacities of the Center for Training in Judiciary and State Prosecution (CTJP) and supporting the institutional development of this independent institution; and (3) developing civil society responsibility and involvement in monitoring and supporting criminal justice operations.
- INL played a key role in establishing, equipping, and training the new Montenegrin Office of the Special State Prosecutor, which has already investigated and indicted dozens of organized crime and corruption figures, and convicted two Russian intelligence agents and others for their role in a Russian-backed coup attempt.
- INL played a key role in establishing, equipping, and training the new Special Police Unit, which supports the Office of the Special State Prosecutor.
- INL helped in establishing, equipping, and training the new Agency for Prevention of Corruption, which manages campaign financing, public official asset declaration, and other preventive anti-corruption efforts.
- INL equipped three “smart courtrooms” used to prosecute high-level organized crime cases, and INL is in the process of equipping a fourth courtroom, which are used to adjudicate sensitive cases and include the capability of remote video testimony for foreign witnesses and special measures for protected witnesses such as video-scrambling.
- INL supported the first undercover unit in Montenegro, which is now working closely with European and U.S. law enforcement partners, and has seconded undercover agents to EU law enforcement agencies.
- INL recommendations led to efforts to amend Montenegro’s Criminal Code on Foreign Fighters, adding a new provision about foreign terrorist fighters in conflict areas in the Middle East and Eastern Ukraine. This law already has been used to prosecute foreign fighters who fought in both Syria and Donetsk.
- INL provided specialized support and training to Montenegro on international financial investigations, including working with overseas financial centers.
- INL provided analytical software and forensic equipment, which has been used successfully in the most complex organized crime cases in Montenegro.