National frameworks to address hate crime in Montenegro

This page provides information on the national frameworks to address hate crime in Montenegro. The information provided here should be viewed alongside data presented on Montenegro's hate crime report page.

Hate crime recording and data collection

The Police do not have any specific data collection procedures for recording hate crimes.

Hate crimes can be reported to the police in person, by phone or anonymously, as well as through an operational work of officials or based on public information. Hate crimes are recorded using the same methodology as for all other criminal offences.

When an offence is recorded, the competent state prosecutor is informed. If the prosecutor qualifies the event as a "criminal offence", the police officer submits a criminal charge in writing to the competent prosecution office and the records unit. The case is then recorded in the register of criminal offences via an electronic application and in the Criminal Register.

The following protected characteristics are monitored: "race", religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, social status, and political affiliation. There is a dedicated "LGBTIQ Support Team" in the police administration.

The Criminal Code recognizes the following criminal offences that may have characteristics of a hate crime, namely: Endangering security (Article 168), Violation of freedom of religion and practicing religious rites (Article 161), Inciting national, racial and religious hatred (Article 370), and Violent behaviour (Article 399). All reported incidents, including those that do not reach the threshold of a crime, are monitored and, depending on the severity of the incident, criminal or misdemeanour charges are brought by prosecutors or misdemeanour judges and further processed by the competent judicial authorities.

In judicial statistics, hate crimes are included on the basis of an underlying base offence, without distinguishing the bias motive. There is no recording system specifically for hate crimes. The Judicial Council is responsible for ensuring the use, functionality and uniformity of the Judicial Information System (PRIS). The system is used by all courts to monitor cases, for some aspects of case management and to communicate with the parties. PRIS also collects comprehensive statistics that are included in annual court reports.

The PRIS system allows to follow a court case from the very beginning to the end, and provides detailed statistical reports on various indicators, including: the total number of cases in the work, the number of completed and unfinished cases, the type of decision (conviction, acquittal and refusal), as well as the type and the amount of the criminal sanction when it comes to condemning decisions. Apart from using the PRIS database, other sources for data collection are the manual records kept by the courts.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Police Administration do not conduct victimization surveys.

Hate crime victim support

Montenegro offers support to victims of hate crime as part of its general victim support system.

The general victim support system focuses mostly on victims of domestic violence, trafficking and child victims. Services are present at all courts that handle relevant cases, and are tasked with providing support to victims, informing them about the judicial procedures, rights and obligations, the available protection measures, and other issues related to providing testimony in court.

Specialized services for hate crime victims are mostly delivered by civil society organizations (CSOs). However, these services are not fully integrated into the general victim support system, and co-operation with state institutions is not always formalized. The state does offer support to specialized service providers in the form of small annual grants. Although the specialized service providers are mostly based in the capital, their activities cover the entire country and some have branch offices in other cities. The services they offer include shelters, psychological assistance, social support, mediation, and legal aid and representation. There are no state quality standards for the provision of these services.    

On contact with the victim, police officers conduct a basic individual needs assessment (INA). A different model of INA is undertaken by CSOs working on these issues. Police or prosecutors refer victims to either general or specialized service providers. Victims often contact these providers before reaching out to the authorities. Some police stations in the country are equipped to enable special conditions for interviewing victims.

Under Montenegro’s law, restorative justice solutions are available.

Hate crime capacity building

Montenegro implemented ODIHR's Training Against Hate Crimes for Law Enforcement (TAHCLE) programme in 2014 and updated the training in 2022 following changes to hate crime legislation in 2018. Police officers have the opportunity to attend hate crime training sessions as part of a course on Human Rights and Ethics, as well as during ad hoc courses on specific bias motivation, such as anti-LGBTI hate crimes. 

Training of judicial bodies is carried out by the Centre for Training in the Judiciary and the State Prosecutor's Office. Training for judges and state prosecutors is organized and conducted as part of the initial and continuous training programmes. Within the initial training programme, a one-day module is offered on the concept of hate crime and the legal framework and criminal protection in hate crime cases. As part of continuous training, a course on hate crime and hate speech is conducted at least once a year.

Since 2014, the Centre for Training in the Judiciary and State Prosecutor's Office has been a beneficiary of the HELP programme (the European Human Rights Education Programme for Legal Professionals) of the Council of Europe for the Western Balkans and Turkey.