Strengthening capacities of the Ministry of Justice


Opening of the legal aid office in PodgoricaOpening of the legal aid office in Podgorica. Photo: Public Relations Bureau of the Government of Montenegro

A wide range of substantial reforms are going on across all public institutions. The Government itself has been committed to reforming the public sector, while ministries are facing an urgent need to develop more efficient and transparent systems, including policy, organizational and financial management.

In support to these reform efforts, UNDP Montenegro is helping the country with the capacity building of the Ministry of Justice in its key areas of priority, since 2009. The purpose of the project is to contribute to the achievement of an efficient, effective and transparent system, which is able to manage and implement its challenging mandate.

What is the project about?

The project is structured around five overall objectives, which are aimed at ensuring good functioning of the Ministry of Justice:

Goal 1: Improve the organizational setup of the Ministry of Justice. As part of this goal, international experts will be deployed to the Ministry with a view to produce a comprehensive study on the work and efficiency of the Ministry of Justice. It is expected that this assessment, along with several study visits to gain best practices, will help the Ministry make informed decisions on its new model of work.

Goal 2: Develop management capacities of senior staff, as well as project management skills of staff members of the Ministry of Justice. In order to build on the first goal’s achievements, this segment of the project will seek to improve management skills amongst the senior staff of the Ministry, building on the existing competence and know-how.

Goal 3: Strengthen the capacities of the Ministry to plan, develop and implement European integration and international legal assistance/co-operation policies. This goal of the project is aimed at raising the capacities of the Government of Montenegro for the EU Accession Negotiations on Chapters 23 and 24. It implies provision of assistance to the working groups for negotiations on Chapters 23 and 24 which are headed by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior, in strengthening institutional and administrative capacities to perform its functions in the process of negotiations with the EU, as efficiently and effectively as possible, in accordance with the existing fiscal constraints and the supply of human resources with suitable qualification and experience. Also, the analysis of the harmonization of national legislation in the area of international legal assistance with international standards is being conducted, along with the creation of the training programmes for judges and prosecutors in the stated field.

Goal 4: Advance the Ministry’s information technology capacities. The project will seek to contribute to the modernization of the Ministry’s IT department by acquiring adequate computer hardware, necessary for raising efficiency in everyday work.

Goal 5: Contribute to raising the capacities of judiciary to fight corruption and organized crime. As a result of a new organizational structure of the Ministry of Justice, Directorate for Anti-corruption Initiative (DACI) has become an authority under its jurisdiction. In the light of the aforementioned, one of the project’s objective is further strengthening of the capacities of the Montenegrin judiciary to fight corruption and organized crime more efficiently and  implement the improved criminal legislative framework. This will be performed through continuous education of judges and prosecutors in line with the judicial anti-corruption and organized crime training programme developed by UNDP in 2008 and implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, Judicial Training Center and the OSCE Mission to Montenegro development and implementation of integrity plans for judiciary and improvement of the Codes of ethics for the courts and prosecutor’s offices.

What have we accomplished so far?

  • Through this project, the Capacity Assessment of the Ministry of Justice was drafted, which served as a basis for the creation of a new Act on systematization and internal organization of the Ministry and restructuring of the Ministry that took place subsequently.
  • Agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal and civil matters, as well as on extradition, between the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro and the Ministries of Justice of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Macedonia were concluded with the project’s support.
  • Revision of the existing Strategy and Action plan for the reform of judiciary (2007-2012), created with the Project’s support in 2007, was performed in order to formulate the basis for drafting of the new Strategy and Action plan for the reform of judiciary (2013-2018), which will be done in the scope of the project.
  • In view of responding to the rising challenges of the fight against organized crime and corruption, assistance was provided in drafting of the new Criminal Procedure Code and implementation of the anti-corruption and organized crime training programmes for judges and prosecutors, in cooperation with the Judicial Training Center of Montenegro, Embassy of the United States and the OSCE. This was a valuable contribution to raising professional capacities of the holders of judicial function, and was specifically recognized in the Montenegro 2011 EU Progress Report. The implementation of the anti-corruption training programme for judges and prosecutors is singled out as a positive example of a structured and sustainable approach to the subject and well-organized trainings, attended by 291 participants so far.

Who finances it?

Donor name

Amount contributed

Government of Norway

USD 241,720


USD 120,813


British Embassy to Montenegro

USD 251,784


USD 614,317

Delivery in previous fiscal years

December 2013

USD   82,770

December 2012

USD   31,103

December 2011

USD   24,230

December 2010

USD 103,409

December 2009

USD 158,747