The Position of the President of SOVCG

Reputation and Responsibility

The reputation of the armed forces of Montenegro (AFoM) and their members is not protected by an armour that cannot produce information on illegal actions, corruption, mobbing and crime of individuals holding high positions, but by institutional openness, responsibility and legal actions taken by the command staff. Mirrors of each army are its commanders. It is their responsibility to oppose everything that violates law and damages the reputation of the armed forces. It is up to them to be accountable for actions or omissions that caused enormous damage to employees in the army and entire state of Montenegro in the period behind us. The only thing that commanders can be entitled to is to strictly abide by the Constitution, laws, rules of service and nothing more, no matter the situation or persons involved. However, the situation in practice is quite different.

Those who work in the MoD and AFoM are well aware that commanders adopt illegal, corruptive and arrogant behaviours that are tolerated and even considered as successful. It is high time to put an end to that, to raise the question of command responsibility before the Chief of General Staff of the AFoM and his deputies and commanders, as well as before the Minister of Defence and her deputies. It is time to end discrimination and deprivation of rights to AFoM’s employees, stop putting hands in their pockets, stop enforcing discipline by untouchables and simply ignoring the problems of the military personnel.

It is time for taking responsibility against those who silently approve and irresponsibly cause material, moral and other damages to the army and the state. Some commanders have illegally obtained substantial property through illicit actions in the interests of some individuals in the detriment of employees of the AFoM.

When a member of the AFoM initiates a procedure of liability of someone in the command structure, the responsible structures often do not even try to examine claims and proves or hear witnesses. This behaviour clearly indicates that corruption and joint illegal actions pose an obstacle to the application of the law, rules of service and code of military ethics in the chain of command. Some commanders’ past is such that the only thing you can expect from them is servility that ultimately led them to those positions.

In the recent formation of the army, such individuals have progressed in the service so we have to ask openly: “Where is this boat sailing to?” The MoD and AFoM must find the strength to launch the issue of accountability for all forms of violations of the law and rules of service and on this question no one should remain untouchable. This is almost impossible to carry out if the President of the State and the Council for Defence do not issue a clear directive in this direction. It is necessary that the the MoD and the AFoM leave their armour, when it comes to the misdeeds, act with openness towards the citizens and oblige each individual to think before daring to violate the Constitution, law and rules of Montenegro.

By Nenad Cobeljic, President of SOVCG, Montenegro

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