Montenegro is the smallest of the former Yugoslav republics and maintained a federated relationship with Serbia until 2006, when it formally declared its independence. In the early 1990s, the republic were genuinely allied with Serbia, but transitions in its leadership eventually moved Montenegro into the opposition of political opposition to Slobodan Milosevic and his policies. By 2000, the time transition occurred in Serbia itself, Montenegro was essentially an independent actor.
The Helsinki Commission staff observed Montenegro’s first multi-party elections in December 1990, and observed subsequent elections in 1997, 2006 (referendum) and 2009. Staff delegations also visited Montenegro to assess developments in 1993 and 1996. Members of the Commission leadership have also visited the country to attend OSCE Parliamentary Assembly meetings or other events. Commission hearings in the 1990s focused on threats to Montenegro’s stability due to its oppositions to Milosevic’s policies, and hearings since the country asserted its statehood the focus at hearings has been increasingly on advancing the country’s integration, including NATO membership.
In addition to adhering more firmly to the rule of law, recent Commission concerns have generally focused on Montenegro’s record regarding trafficking in persons and on accommodating diversity within the country, which has several national minorities and a substantial portion of the Orthodox Slavic population that wishes to maintain close ties with Serbia rather than stress a distinct identity. The threat to investigative journalists in Montenegro has been an ongoing concern.
Staff Contact: Everett Price, senior policy advisor