U.S. Ambassador Judy Rising Reinke, together with the Senior Anti-Corruption Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Erik Larson, joined the President of the Basic Court in Podgorica, Zeljka Jovovic, for a tour of the court’s newly renovated large courtroom on January 29, 2021. Through the U.S. Embassy’s Rule of Law Program, approximately $280,000 was allocated to fully renovate and equip the largest courtroom in the country.
This courtroom is used for trials in the Basic Court, as well as for trials in complex organized crime cases that involve a large number of defendants, witnesses, and members of the public. The newly renovated and equipped smart courtroom, which allows for the hearing of video-link testimony, including for protected witnesses, is fully compliant with social distancing measures, thus allowing the vital work of the judiciary to continue during the pandemic. The courtroom also includes a designated place for the media to observe proceedings in public trials.
“This thoroughly modern, state-of-the art courtroom will support the work of an accountable and transparent judiciary, enabling justice to be carried out in a fair and impartial manner. This ensures that all citizens are treated equally before the law,” said Ambassador Reinke.
The U.S. Embassy’s Rule of Law Program, which is supported by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, provides technical and expert assistance to the Montenegrin Judiciary, including donations of equipment and technology aimed at improving the operating conditions of the judicial system. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Embassy’s Rule of Law program has enabled many judges and prosecutors to telework through a series of donations of laptops and notebooks.
For more information on the U.S. Government’s programs in Montenegro, please visit the Embassy’s web site at https://me.usembassy.gov/.