Convention on the Rights of the Child
1 October 2010
Committee on the Rights of the Child
13 September – 1 October 2010
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict
1. The Committee considered the initial report of Montenegro (CRC/C/OPAC/MNE/1) at its 1560 meeting (see CRC/C/SR. 1560), held on 20 September 2010, and adopted at its 1583rd meeting, held on 1 October 2010, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the State party’s initial report under the Optional Protocol as well as the written replies to its list of issues (CRC/C/OPAC/MNE/Q/1/Add.1). The Committee also appreciates the open, frank and constructive dialogue held with the high-level multi-sectoral delegation. However, it regrets that the report did not follow the revised guidelines regarding form and contents of initial reports to be submitted by States adopted in 2007 (CRC/C/OPAC/2/).
3. The Committee reminds the Sate party that these concluding observations should be read in conjunction with the concluding observations adopted on the State party’s initial report on the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and its concluding observations adopted on the State party’s initial report under the Convention adopted on 1 October 2010, contained in CRC/OPSC/MNE/CO/1 and CRC/C/MNE/CO/1 respectively.
4. The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State Party of:
(a) The Convention on the rights of the Child and the Optional protocol on Children The Sale of Children, child Prostitution and Child Pornography in October 2006; and
(b) The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols (I and II) in
(c) The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in June 2006.
I. General measures of implementation
National plan of action
5. The Committee regrets the lack of information on strategic goals and provisions specifically related to the Optional Protocol contained in the National Plan of Action for Children 2004-2010 (NPA).
6. The Committee recommends that the State party include in its new NPA goals, provisions and activities related to the implementation of the Optional Protocol, including by making reference to peace education and dissemination of the provisions of the Optional Protocol.
7. The Committee notes that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Defense are in charge of implementing and monitoring the Optional Protocol. However, it is unclear as to what extent this function is exercised consistently and systematically. Furthermore, the Committee regrets the absence of a mechanism or procedure established for the evaluation of the implementation of the Optional Protocol.
8. The Committee recommends that the State party considers strengthening the competencies of the Council of Child Rights with a view to have an institutional mechanism for effective coordination among ministries involved and provide it with the competency and vest it with adequate human, financial and technical resources, in order to evaluate the compliance with the Optional Protocol.
Dissemination and awareness
9. The Committee regrets that the State party has not taken sufficient measures to raise awareness on the Optional Protocol among the general public.
10. The Committee recommends, in light of article 6, paragraph 2 of the Optional Protocol that the State party ensure that the principles and provisions of the Optional Protocol are widely disseminated to the general public, including children and to state officials.
11. The Committee welcomes the information provided by the State party during the dialogue that personnel of Peacekeeping Missions receive a two-weeks training for the purpose of acquiring the knowledge necessary for performing duty in war which includes training on the Optional Protocol. However, the Committee is concerned, that participants of peacekeeping operations and relevant professional groups working with children may not receive systematic and sufficient training on the provisions of the Protocol.
12. The Committee recommends that the State party consider introducing into the Law on Involvement of the Armey of Montenegro Units in the International Forces and on the Participation of Civil Defence, Police forces and Employers from Public Administration Authorities in Peacekeeping Missions the obligation to provide personnel of Peacekeeping Missions systematic education and training programmes on the provisions of the Optional Protocol. Furthermore, the Committee recommends the State party continue and strengthen education and training programmes on the Optional Protocol for members of the armed forces, including those deployed to international peacekeeping forces. It also recommends to develop systematic education and training programmes on the provisions of the Optional Protocol for all relevant professional groups working with and for children and in particular among military officials involved in recruitment, judges, prosecutors, immigration officials and social workers.
13. The Committee regrets that legislation does not explicitly prohibit persons under the age of 18 from joining the armed forces in all circumstances, including in state of war and state of martial law.
14. The Committee recommends that the State party review the Law on Defense and Law on the Armey of Montenegro in order to prohibit the direct involvement in hostilities of persons under the age of 18 in all circumstances and in that regard proceed to amend the declaration made upon ratification of the Protocol.
15. While noting that human rights education is included in the curricula of primary and secondary schools, the Committee is concerned that there are no programmes to systematically include peace education into the school curricula. With reference to its general comment No. 1 (2001) on the aims of education, the Committee recommends that the State party undertake efforts to include peace education in the school curricula, with special reference to crimes covered by the Optional Protocol.
III. Prohibition and related matters
Criminal legislation and regulations in force
16. While noting that there are no armed groups in the State party, the Committee is nevertheless concerned, that there is no explicit provision criminalizing the recruitment of children by armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of the State.
17. The Committee recommends that the State party provide an explicit provision in the Criminal Code to criminalize the recruitment of children into armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of the State.
Jurisdiction and extradition
18. The Committee notes that extraterritorial jurisdiction may be exercised on the grounds of approval by the Supreme State Prosecutor. However, it regrets that extraterritorial jurisdiction is subject to the criterion of double criminality.
19. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to ensure that domestic legislation enables it to establish and exercise extra-territorial jurisdiction over crimes covered by the Optional Protocol and recommends establishing extraterritorial jurisdiction over crimes under the Optional Protocol without the criterion of double criminality.
IV. Protection, recovery and reintegration
Assistance for physical and psychological recovery
20. The Committee regrets the paucity of information on measures taken to identify children entering Montenegro who may have been involved in armed conflict abroad.
21. The Committee recommends that the State party establish an identification mechanism for children, including asylum-seeking, refugee children and unaccompanied children, who may have been involved in armed conflict abroad. The Committee further recommends that the State party take measures to provide these children with appropriate assistance for their physical and psychological recovery and their social reintegration.
V. International assistance and cooperation
22. The Committee encourages the State party to support multilateral and bilateral activities to address the rights of the child involved in armed conflict, in particular by promoting preventive measures as well as physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims of acts contrary to the Optional Protocol.
Arms and arms export
23. The Committee appreciates the information provided by the State party delegation during the dialogue of campaigns undertaken in order to encourage citizens to deliver small arms and light weapons in their possession to destroy them under the supervision of the State authorities. Furthermore, the Committee notes that a permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Internal Affairs is required for each sale, export or transit of military weapons and equipment and that a list of countries to which the State party would not deliver to as they are known to be, or may potentially be recruiting or using children in hostilities. However, the Committee regrets that the national legislation does not contain a specific prohibition of sale of arms, including small arms and light weapons, to countries known to be, or may potentially be recruiting or using children in hostilities.
24. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to raise awareness through information campaigns on the dangerous effect regarding the storage of arms and weapons. Furthermore, the Committee recommends the State party to take measures to ensure that those responsible for controlling the sale, export or transit of arms, including small arms and light weapons, and military equipment are made aware of the Optional Protocol and are guided, during the relevant decision-making processes, by its provisions. The Committee also recommends that the State party consider introducing a specific prohibition with respect to the sale of arms, including small arms and light weapons, when the final destination is a country where children are known to be, or may potentially be recruited or used in hostilities.
VI. Follow-up and Dissemination
25. The Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures to ensure full implementation of the present recommendations, inter alia, by transmitting them to the Head of State, the Supreme Court, Parliament, relevant ministries and local authorities for appropriate consideration and further action.
26. The Committee recommends that the initial report and written replies submitted by the State party and the related concluding observations adopted by the Committee be made widely available to the public at large, including through the internet (but not exclusively), civil society organizations, youth groups, professional groups, including social workers, media and children, in order to generate debate and awareness of the Optional Protocol, its implementation and monitoring.
VII. Next Report
27. In accordance with article 8, paragraph 2, the Committee requests the State party to include further information on the implementation of the Optional Protocol and these concluding observations in its next periodic report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in accordance with article 44 of the Convention due on 1 October 2015.