Challenges: Despite progress towards membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), and maintaining good neighborly relations with other countries in the region, Montenegro still faces significant domestic challenges in the law enforcement and criminal justice sector. Weak criminal justice institutions, a deteriorating economy, and wide-spread corruption prevent Montenegro from effectively fighting organized crime and strengthening the rule of law.
Transnational organized criminal networks based in the Balkans and former Soviet Union have a direct impact on the U.S. through criminal activities, some internet based and some through trafficking.
Goals: INL supports Montenegro's efforts to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate organized crime cases via modern investigative and prosecutorial procedures, and to strengthen civil society organizations so they may promote reform and transparency. INL will continue to assist in law enforcement and criminal justice sector programs to help Montenegro meet European and international standards in line with their aspirations for European integration. Key priorities include: (1) assisting in drafting key criminal legislation; (2) providing training on criminal investigations, prosecutions, and adjudications; and (3) providing grants to the NGO community for civil society engagement in rule of law issues.
- INL programming helped establish a Joint Investigative Team to combat organized crime and corruption, resulting in charges filed against more than 20 suspects in human trafficking cases, prosecution of a global drug trafficker, and prosecution of politicians from the prime tourist city in Montenegro.
- 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 efforts laid the legislative foundation for establishing a national police team of elite investigators to become the operational arm of the Special Prosecutor.
- INL provided an embedded advisor and extensive equipment support to the new Agency for Prevention of Corruption that allowed it to become operational and capable of conducting its administrative anti-corruption functions.
- INL efforts helped pass amendments to the Criminal Code on Foreign Fighters, strengthening the law as it relates to the recruitment and participation of foreign terrorist fighters serving in the Middle East and Eastern Ukraine.
- INL facilitated direct communication between the Montenegrin Special Investigative Team for Organized Crime and Corruption and Serbian counterparts, which resulted in fast and effective cooperation in concrete cases.
- INL provided analytical software and equipment successfully used in most complex organized crime cases in Montenegro.
INL facilitated fast and efficient two-language trials initiated in a predominately Albanian town by using donated audio-video equipment.