Criminal Justice Grants Program

Purpose of the Program

The United States Embassy in Podgorica supports specific projects and initiatives that facilitate the engagement of Montenegrin citizens’ in criminal justice reform efforts through grant awards up to $50,000, although most awards are smaller. The main goal of the program is to help Montenegro transition to a more effective and transparent criminal justice system by engaging citizens in the process through watchdog and monitoring activities, advocacy and policy-making, research, and public education. Grants are awarded to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), media, or other organizations that have a proven track record in the criminal justice field and good organizational capacities. Proposals will be evaluated according to the ability of the applying organization to carry out a project with clearly formulated goals, that reaches the intended audience or beneficiaries, and which has the potential for positive impact in the subject areas listed below.

The Commission is interested in projects that support the engagement of the Montenegrin society in the criminal justice reform process. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Organized Crime.  (Examples:  support to the work of the new independent Special State Prosecutor for Organized Crime and Corruption; encouraging citizen watchdog activities involved in fighting organized crime; use of integrated, multi-agency approaches to fight organized crime.)
  • Corruption. (Example: support to the work of the new preventive Anti-Corruption Agency; sector specific corruption proposals, focusing on particular corruption risk areas such as procurement, education, health care, etc.; avoiding public official conflict of interests; citizen watchdog activities regarding the public official asset declaration form system.)
  • Transparency in criminal justice institutions. (Example: support to Press and Public Information Offices in courts, prosecution offices, and police; use of freedom of information procedures.)
  • War crimes (Example: avoiding use of Montenegro as a ‘safe haven’ for those who committed war crimes; analysis of international documents regarding war crimes committed in the 1990s in Montenegro.)
  • Countering Violent Extremism (Example: public information and education campaigns to discourage Montenegrin citizens from serving as foreign fighters in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere; programs supporting religious tolerance and moderation; reintegration and rehabilitation of former foreign fighters.)
  • Counter-Narcotics (Example: demand reduction campaigns; diversion efforts; rehabilitation of addicted persons.)

The Commission is interested in projects that foster constructive work with criminal justice institutions across multi-stakeholder and multi-institutional lines.

In an effort to promote capacity development in the NGO sector, as well as geographical and demographic diversity, preference will be given to applications that include collaborative activities with other NGOs, applications of NGOs from underserved areas, as well as those which include activities for minority and underserved groups.