Call for Comments on the Montenegro Draft Law on Protection from Violence in Family
Friday, February 17, 2006 4:45 PM

In 2005, the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with Save the Children UK program in Montenegro and Professor Radoje Korac, PhD, Law Faculty, department for family law, formed a working group to develop a draft law on the protection from violence in the family. The project also received funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which hopes Montenegro will adopt accessible and effective judicial remedies in combating domestic violence.  In January of 2006, a draft version of the law, entitled “Law on Protection of Domestic Violence,” was circulated amongst local NGOs in Montenegro and international organizations abroad, seeking comments or suggestions for improving and strengthening the law.  Gathering opinions on the draft law from a range of professionals, field-workers, and scholars will assist the working group in developing and refining the eventual document. The domestic violence law is expected to pass in June of 2006.

While the Law represents a sincere step forward in recognizing domestic violence as a societal problem, initial criticisms of the draft law express concern that women who suffer or who have suffered violence will not be adequately protected under the current version. The Law relies upon vague language, and enables the police or non-governmental organizations to apply for protection measures against the batterer without consent of the adult victim. The Law also imposes lighter criminal penalties on perpetrators of domestic violence than those provided by general criminal assault laws. Commentators stress the need to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes in order to provide real protection for victims of domestic violence.

A general evaluation of the first draft Law on protection from violence in the family by the NGO SOS hotline Podgorica is that this draft law does not follow the intensity and the scope of the serious social problem as domestic violence is, nor does it provide adequate protection to the critical target group of women who suffer or suffered violence in the family – the Law is systematically drafted in a wrong way, first of all because it transfers violators’ sanctioning from the criminal-legal regulation to the law of torts by which this incriminated behavior gives lower (lighter) level of social danger.

SOS Hotline for Women and Children Victims of Violence Podgorica is seeking experts to review and comment on the draft law. Genoveva Tisheva of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation and Cheryl Thomas of The Advocates for Human Rights have reviewed and provided commentary on strengths and weaknesses of the law. 

To view commentary or to post your own commentary, please click here.