Communications plan to enhance judicial transparency and trust

Judicial transparency

The unveiling of Montenegro’s Communication Strategy for the Judicial Council and Courts, spanning from 2024 to 2026, alongside the accompanying 2024 Action Plan, marked a pivotal moment as it was presented to a distinguished audience comprising court presidents, press judges, and members of the Judicial Council.

Crafted within the framework of the joint European Union and Council of Europe Programme known as the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye,” this strategy sets out a comprehensive roadmap for engaging with the public and media. Its overarching goal is to bolster the accountability of the judicial system and enhance the delivery of justice for all citizens.

Bolstering public trust

During the presentation, Radoje Korać, President of the Judicial Council of Montenegro, underscored the indispensable nature of trust in the judiciary within modern democratic societies. He highlighted the pivotal role of the Judicial Council in fostering judicial transparency, emphasizing the collective responsibility of council members and other judicial stakeholders to actively engage in public education and information dissemination. Korać affirmed that rebuilding citizens’ trust in judicial institutions hinges upon informed engagement with the public.

Safeguarding citizens rights

Acting President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, Vesna Vučković, emphasized the imperative of providing the public with accurate and timely information concerning the judiciary’s operations. She stressed the delicate balance between safeguarding citizens’ rights and freedoms while ensuring transparency and accountability in judicial proceedings.

Lejla Dervišagić, Head of the Council of Europe Programme Office in Podgorica, highlighted the strategic significance of the Communication Strategy in fostering improved dialogue between the judiciary and the public. She underscored its potential to benefit journalists through a proactive and enhanced approach to media relations. Dervišagić emphasized the synergy between the Communication Strategy and two key Horizontal Facility actions: Protecting freedom of expression and of the media in Montenegro, and Strengthening accountability of the judicial system and enhancing protection of victims’ rights in Montenegro.

Engaging with media

Vesna Jočić, Supreme Court judge and Chief Spokesperson, outlined the ambitious 2024 Action Plan, which encompasses engagements with journalists, representatives of the non-governmental sector, and specialized training sessions for judges on effective communication with the media. Additionally, Jočić highlighted the inclusion of new strategic projects aimed at advancing the interests of the judiciary.

Judge Rade Ćetković, a member of the Judicial Council, emphasized the overarching objective of the Communication Strategy: to cultivate greater trust in the judiciary and the Judicial Council by fortifying transparency and accountability. He underscored the pivotal role of the strategy in fostering public confidence in the workings of the courts and judicial institutions.