At the end of September, Montenegrin police arrested Momčilo Vukotić and Zika Vuksanović on suspicion of committing war crimes in Kosovo. Vukotić and Vuksanović were in custody awaiting extradition to the Kosovo judicial authorities.
The Montenegrin courts decided to hand the case over to the Kosovo authorities, but the Montenegrin Minister of Justice, Marko Kovač, rejected the court’s decision. The latter took this decision a week before the end of his mandate.
The Montenegrin newspaper Pobjeda reported that Kovač justified his decision by saying that “there is a suspicion of political persecution” and that Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms had been violated, saying that it was a “political moment”.
Montenegrin lawyer and Executive Director of Human Rights Action (HRA) Tea Gorjanc Prelević said that Minister Marko Kovač had exceeded his powers by opposing the court’s decision to refuse extradition, which constituted an abuse of official position.
Marko Kovač was a minister in the government of Dritan Abazovic, to which he was elected from the Socialist People’s Party (SPLP) quota, which was formed by the break-up of Đukanović’s DPS after the split with Milošević in 1998. His father, Miodrag Kovač, was a minister in the FRY during the last years of Slobodan Milošević’s rule. After the election of the new government of Milojko Spajić, Kovač was dismissed. The new Justice Minister is Andrej Milovic of Spajic’s Evropa Sad movement.
After refusing to extradite the Serbs, they were released from custody.