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Montenegro Pledges to Solve Theft of Firearms from Higher Court

Montenegro’s outgoing Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, said on Friday that authorities would soon solve the case of the Higher Court storage robbery in which 19 firearms were stolen.

On September 13, authorities identified six persons involved in digging a tunnel into the Higher Court’s storage rooms in the capital, Podgorica, where trial evidence is stored.

The day before, the head of the Higher Court, Boris Savic, reported that unknown persons had dug a tunnel into the court’s storage rooms where material evidence seized by the police during investigations is kept – reportedly including drugs, weapons and documents.

After Friday’s National Security Committee session, Abazovic said police had identified the robbers. “I cannot say anything concrete, nor the evidence we have seen. But we will quickly have a solution to this case. Hour by hour, the situation is changing in favour of the state,” he told the media.

“As soon as the robbers are brought to justice, it will become clear who the perpetrators were,” he added.

On Thursday, Justice Minister Marko Kovac said 19 pieces of firearms were now missing from the storage.

“It is weapons found in cases that have been legally concluded, and some in cases that have not been closed. I’m talking about different cases, some finished 20 years ago, but also from some current cases related to organised criminal groups,” Kovac told television Vijesti.

Higher Court judge Vesna Kovacevic said the storage area was not covered by security cameras, noting that the check on all the evidence in the storage will last at least six months. Kovacevic refused to confirm if the missing firearms belonged to members of organised crime groups on trial before the court.

On Friday, the Special State Prosecution questioned court security staff and management, inculding the head of the Higher Court, Boris Savic.

Head of Police Directorate Nikola Terzic said on Thursday that the robbers used a green van to get to an apartment near the court, were dressed in green and carried backpacks. Earlier, police found a van left near Podgorica, while media reported that the apartment in question was rented by a woman with a false ID.

“My personal opinion is that the goal was to get possession of certain items that could potentially bring down the investigation against a serious criminal group tomorrow. I am talking about the ‘Kavac’ drug gang,” Terzic told television Vijesti.

Media reported that the tunnel was dug for more than 45 days from the nearby apartment. Reportedly the apartment, located in the basement of the building, had been rented since July, while the tunnel was dug while the court administration was on its summer break.

Since February, the Higher Court has begun trials of several high-ranking state officials, including the former head of the Supreme Court, Vesna Medenica, and the head of the Commercial Court, Blazo Jovanic.

Former high-ranking police officer Petar Lazovic and the alleged head of the “Kavac” drug gang, Slobodan Kascelan, along with members of his gang, are also being tried by the Higher Court.

Source : Balkaninsight