Does the statement of the Judicial Council, signed by the President Vesna Simović Zvicer, regarding the Opinion of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption on the procedure for electing Seka Piletić as a judge of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, constitute a public document?
Is it the duty of the Judicial Council to tell the truth? Is entering false statements into a public document an act that in a state based on the rule of law has the characteristics of a criminal offense?
Is faking an evaluation for the selection of a judge of the Supreme Court of Montenegro a common practice or a service for the privileged ones and for whom?
Were the Rules for the evaluation of judges and court presidents, which entered into force in 2021, known to judges in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and, if so, why were certain judges engaged as lecturers or authors of scientific papers, when they could simply attend a workshop or roundtable and be evaluated as excellent?
Do the criteria for evaluating judges have to be so strict in the part of the completed trainings where a certificate is not issued?
When new judges are elected, will the conditions stipulated in the Rules continue to be adapted to individual candidates, or should the candidates for judges fulfill the conditions from the Rules that are predetermined and known to them?
The Judicial Council of Montenegro is obliged to answer these questions to all judges and citizens of Montenegro, whom it should serve.
The Judicial Council lashed out at the Agency for Prevention of Corruption because it pointed out the corruption risks caused by violating the regulations during the election of the judge of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, Seka Piletić, which enabled her to benefit, and caused damage to other candidates who participated in the disputed public competition. Damage to the public interest will only be assessed in the following period.
Perhaps, for the sake of simple clarification, the Agency could create a table with two columns. In the first, we would include certain statements of the president of the Judicial Council, including the one that all judges are evaluated equally, and in the second - the truth.
Judge-candidate N. B. was evaluated as “unsatisfactory” under the sub-criterion of “participation in various professional activities”, with the explanation that she attended seminars / courses / workshops / trainings within the Centre for Training in Judiciary and State Prosecution Service, which were previously evaluated through the sub-criterion of “professional development”.
On the other hand, the judge-candidate Piletić was evaluated as “excellent” under the same sub-criterion, with the explanation that the courses / trainings organized by the Center for Training in the Judiciary and the State Prosecution Service must be treated as participation in workshops.
Participation of candidate Piletić in courses organized by the Ministry of Justice of the United States and the State Department in April and October 2019 in Cavtat and Budva were assessed both in the sub-criterion of “professional development” and in the sub-criterion of “participation in various professional activities”, which was not the case with candidate N. B.
By doing so, the Judicial Council, among other things, tried to obscure the essence and divert attention from the arbitrary and self-interested interpretation of the “professional development” sub-criterion. According to this sub-criterion, in order to receive a “good” grade, a judge must have at least three working days of training during the calendar year. In the specific case, Judge Piletić was assessed as “good”, even though the training she had in 2020 lasted below the minimum prescribed for that rating.
And how does the Judicial Council explain the application of the Rules with retroactive effect, that is, the fact that it applied the Rules that came into force in 2021 to period of 2018, 2019 and 2020? The amended Rules, according to their statement, were equally applied to all candidates before the evaluation procedure was completed.
Such an explanation is insulting even to citizens who are not familiar with law and legal terminology, and lawyers should have to deeply reconsider things.
In the past, the judges of the Supreme Court of Montenegro were involved in explaining the application of substantive and procedural rules and their retrospective effect. Today, judges of the Supreme Court are elected with retroactive effect of substantive conditions, which is unheard of in judicial practice.
For everyone to understand: first check what trainings the judge has, and then adjust the rules to those trainings. That’s legal, right?