27 June 2006
Consequences of the referendum in Montenegro
Political Affairs Committee
Rapporteur: Lord Russell-Johnston, United Kingdom, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Following the referendum on the State-Status of Montenegro of 21 May 2006 and the Declaration of Independence adopted by the National Assembly of Montenegro on 3 June 2006, the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved and Montenegro has become an independent and sovereign state with full international legal personality. This decision, taken in a democratic manner, has to be respected.
The Assembly hopes that, by satisfying the aspirations to independence of Montenegro and thus marking the end of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia as a federation, the outcome of the referendum will contribute to the further regional stabilisation of the Western Balkans.
The Assembly will spare no effort to support Serbia in tackling the urgent reforms which it will have to approve in a difficult political climate. Equally, the Assembly resolves to assist Montenegro in facing the challenges ahead, even before a final decision is reached regarding its application for membership in the Council of Europe.
A. Draft resolution
1. Following the referendum on the State-Status of Montenegro of 21 May 2006 and the Declaration of Independence adopted by the National Assembly of Montenegro on 3 June 2006, the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved and Montenegro has become an independent and sovereign state with full international legal personality. This decision, taken in a democratic manner, has to be respected.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly congratulates both Montenegro and Serbia on the peaceful and democratic way in which the dissolution took place. This process exemplifies the willingness of both states to respect European values and is all the more significant given the background of conflict and bloodshed that accompanied the creation of independent states in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Likewise, Montenegro should be praised for its good organisation of the referendum, which took place in accordance with relevant international standards.
3. The Assembly hopes that, by satisfying the aspirations to independence of Montenegro and thus marking the end of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia as a federation, the outcome of the referendum will contribute to the further regional stabilisation of the Western Balkans.
4. The months to come, however, will be fraught with daunting challenges for the two states concerned, domestically, internationally and in their bilateral relations.
5. Montenegro will be engaged in drafting a new constitution and reforming its institutions and administrative structures. A process of constructive dialogue will have to be established with the political forces that were in favour of preserving the State Union and continue to refuse to recognise the referendum results and have been boycotting parliament. In this regard, the parliamentary elections due next autumn will be a major test for the democratic viability of the newly independent state.
6. The Assembly resolves to assist Montenegro in facing the challenges ahead, even before a final decision is reached regarding its application for membership in the Council of Europe as set forth in two letters addressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 6 and 12 June 2006. The participation of an ad hoc parliamentary delegation from Montenegro in the Assembly's third part-session is a step in the right direction.
7. Furthermore, the Assembly welcomes the commitment expressed by Montenegro in its membership application to respect and implement all the Council of Europe conventions and protocols that had been signed and ratified by the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Similarly, the Assembly commends the decision of the Committee of Ministers, as an ad interim measure, to invite representatives of the government of Montenegro to attend its meetings and to take part in all the intergovernmental committees of experts as observers.
8. Moreover, the Assembly takes positive note of the decision of the European Union (EU) and its Member States to ‘develop further their relations with the Republic of Montenegro as a sovereign, independent State’ as well as of Montenegro’s recent acceptance as a Participating State of the OSCE and its pending membership application to the United Nations.
9. The Assembly will spare no effort to support Serbia, where there is a risk that the outcome of the referendum might further increase political instability and lead to early parliamentary elections, just as the country should be engaged in tackling urgent reforms, especially in the field of the judiciary and local government, and adopting a new constitution.
10. As the successor state of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia continues its membership in the Council of Europe. However, its obligations and commitments will have to be reviewed and redefined to adapt to the new situation.
11. As regards bilateral relations between Montenegro and Serbia, the Assembly strongly affirms the importance for the two countries of establishing friendly and neighbourly relations and ensuring that all the issues pertaining to the dissolution of the State Union are handled in the most constructive and responsible way. In this respect, the Assembly welcomes the recognition of the Republic of Montenegro by Serbia as well as the promise made by the Serbian government to grant Montenegrin residents Serbian citizenship and to allow Montenegrin students to pursue their studies under the same conditions as Serbs. For its part, Montenegro had honoured its commitment to allow Serbian citizens to freely travel to Montenegro without visa or passport obligations.
12. The Assembly notes that following pressure from the EU, the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro agreed to a 55% threshold, in a clear political attempt to maintain the State Union. The Assembly believes that this threshold should not be considered as a precedent for future referenda and that the Council of Europe should establish common criteria for referenda both in terms of turn-out and threshold.
13. In light of the above, the Assembly decides to:
13.1. allow the participation of an ad hoc delegation of the parliament of Montenegro in its activities, upon its request, pending a decision on the membership of Montenegro to the Council of Europe;
13.2. pursue and step up its Programme of parliamentary assistance to both Serbia and to Montenegro by adjusting it to the specific needs of the two republics;
13.3. instruct its Political Affairs Committee to devote the greatest attention to the issue of the political stability in the Western Balkans, with particular emphasis on areas such as Kosovo, Republika Srpska, the Sandjak, Southern Serbia and Vojvodina, and report back to it in a debate on general policy when appropriate;
13.4. instruct its Monitoring Committee to:
13.4.1. review and redefine the commitments originally entered into by the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, to make them applicable to the Republic of Serbia, in co-operation with the Serbian authorities, and present a report to it at the earliest convenience;
13.4.2. contribute to the negotiation of the commitments that Montenegro will enter upon accession, by fully taking into account the applicable commitments entered by the State Union in 2003 as well as those which stem logically from the initial obligations and those related to the Statute of the Council of Europe, which are applicable to the present situation;
13.5. instruct its Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population to continue to follow the issue of displacement in the Balkans and report to it when appropriate.
14. The Assembly also calls on Montenegro to:
14.1. reform its institutions and administrative structures to adapt them to its new status as an independent state in the most efficient and democratic manner, in full co-operation with the Council of Europe and other international organisations;
14.2. ensure the efficient functioning of parliament and a spirit of constructive and inclusive dialogue between political forces, including those who object to the referendum results;
14.3. adopt a new Constitution as soon as possible, in full compliance with European standards and in consultation with the Venice Commission;
14.4. organise and hold free and fair parliamentary elections under international observation;
14.5. guarantee in law and in practice the rights promised to Serb citizens;
14.6. guarantee the protection of national minorities;
14.7. ensure that no protection gaps affect the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) present in its territory, including those originating from Kosovo, irrespective of their ethnic origin, as well as refugees, and take all the appropriate steps to avoid statelessness;
14.8. complete the reform of the judiciary;
14.9. fight efficiently against corruption, organised crime and trafficking;
14.10. ensure full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and pursue programmes aimed at enhancing public understanding and acceptance of its objectives;
14.11. endeavour to create all the preconditions conducive to the signature of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union in the nearest possible future.
15. Moreover, the Assembly calls on Serbia to:
15.1. reform its institutions and administrative structures to adapt them to its new status in the most efficient and democratic manner, in full co-operation with the Council of Europe and other international organisations;
15.2. adopt a new Constitution as soon as possible, in full compliance with European standards and after due consultation with the Venice Commission;
15.3. in the meantime, not to delay the reforms which are already possible within the present constitutional framework and which are crucial for the fulfilment of Serbia’s obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe, such as those of the judiciary and decentralisation;
15.4. find constructive legislative and institutional solutions to problems faced by national minorities and between ethnic groups in different areas of the republic, in particular the Sandjak, Vojvodina and Southern Serbia;
15.5. ensure full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and pursue programmes aimed at enhancing public understanding and acceptance of its objectives, as well as educational and public awareness activities aimed at raising the level of understanding of the population with regard to the crimes of the Milosevic regime committed in the name of the Serb people;
15.6. continue and strengthen domestic prosecution of war crimes;
15.7. act with resolve to comply with all the other relevant recommendations previously made by the Assembly in the context of the monitoring procedure of the then State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and in particular those concerning the media, NGOs, religious communities, the reform of the police, the army and security services, the fight against corruption, organised crime and trafficking and the situation of refugees and IDPs.
16. In addition, the Assembly calls on Montenegro and Serbia to settle all matters related to the dissolution of the State Union in the fastest, most efficient, democratic and consensual way.
17. Finally, the Assembly calls on the European Union to:
17.1. pursue its involvement in Serbia despite the suspension of the negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), by maintaining appropriate channels for political dialogue and stepping up financial assistance;
17.2. begin negotiations with Montenegro for the conclusion of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) as soon as the relevant conditions are met.
B. Explanatory memorandum, by Lord Russell-Johnston, Rapporteur
1. On 21 May 2006 Montenegro chose to become an independent state. The referendum held on the future status of the Republic of Montenegro offered voters the choice between independence and remaining in the State Union with Serbia. The result saw 55.5% of the voters vote in favour of independence. The turn-out exceeded 86 percent, which illustrated the political awareness of the electorate and the democratic maturity of Montenegro.
2. The referendum was found to be in line with international standards for democratic electoral processes by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. The peaceful and smooth way in which it was held is to be commended. Indeed, never has the Balkan region experienced such an extraordinary political change without any violent incident.
3. It is worth recalling that the possibility for each party to the State Union to hold a referendum for independence was laid down in the Constitutional Charter of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (2003). After the elapsing of the three-year moratorium, on 1 March 2006 the Parliament of Montenegro adopted the Law on the Referendum on State Legal Status (LRSLS) and decided to pursue the process which would then lead to the dissolution of the State Union.
4. The very creation of the State Union had been strongly encouraged and influenced by the European Union (EU), in an effort to preserve regional stability. Likewise, the EU played a decisive role in imposing a qualified majority of 55% as a minimum threshold for the ‘yes’ vote. This was made for overt political reasons and would have created a crisis if the result had been, for instance, 54% - while normally the requirement should have been 50% +1.
5. Following the outcome of the referendum, the National Assembly of Montenegro adopted a Declaration of Independence on 3 June 2006. Montenegro is now a new, independent and sovereign state with full international legal personality. In accordance with the 2003 Constitutional Charter of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the Republic of Serbia is the successor state to the State Union, also as regards the membership in international organisations.
6. A transitional stage has now begun, during which both countries will have to go through a process of administrative reorganisation. In addition, Montenegro is in the process of applying to the international organisations of which it wishes to be a member. On 22 June the OSCE Permanent Council welcomed Montenegro as its 56th participating State. On that same day the UN Security Council unanimously recommended that Montenegro become the 192nd member of the United Nations. The General Assembly is expected to approve the Security Council’s recommendation on 28 June.
7. As far as the Council of Europe is concerned, Montenegro applied for membership in two letters addressed by its Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 6 and 12 June 2006. The request was transmitted on 14 June by the Committee of Ministers to the Parliamentary Assembly for opinion. The Bureau of the Assembly decided on 26 June to refer the issue of Montenegro’s membership to the Council of Europe for report to the Political Affairs Committee and to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights for opinion.
8. In this new political context, I consider it of the utmost importance to review the consequences of the referendum in Montenegro, all the more so considering that Montenegro has applied for accession to the Council of Europe. In this light, I shall analyse the domestic consequences of the vote both in Montenegro and in Serbia as well as its impact on regional stability. I would like to highlight that in my work I have acted in consultation with the Rapporteur for opinion of the Monitoring Committee, and I hope that the preliminary draft resolution which I propose reflects our common views.
II. Political situation in Montenegro
9. There are some major challenges awaiting Montenegro domestically: Montenegro will be engaged in drafting a new constitution and reforming its institutions and administrative structures. A process of constructive dialogue will have to be established with the political forces that were in favour of preserving the State Union and continue to refuse to recognise the referendum results.
10. The Assembly’s monitoring process of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro has already highlighted some weaknesses that Montenegro now has to tackle as an independent state:
• A reform of the law enforcement and criminal justice systems is needed;
• The fight against corruption and organised crime should be addressed with no further delay.
11. The acquisition of independence should not be considered as a point of arrival but as a starting point: Montenegro has to demonstrate the political and economic viability of its choice, the maturity of its political forces and its commitment to pursue the path already undertaken towards a mature democracy.
12. In this sense, the forthcoming parliamentary elections planned for autumn 2006 will be an important test for Montenegro’s democracy.
III. Political situation in Serbia
13. The vote for the independence of Montenegro arrives for Serbia at a very delicate time: the country is engaged in negotiations over the future status of Kosovo and the negotiations with the European Union for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) have been suspended as a result of Serbia’s lack of cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
14. The outcome of the referendum risks further increasing political instability by reinforcing radical and nationalist forces. It could also lead to early parliamentary elections, just as the country should be engaged in tackling urgent reforms, especially in the field of the judiciary and local government, and adopting a new constitution.
IV. Consequences on regional stability
15. The outcome of the referendum in Montenegro should not be considered as a destabilising factor for the region. On the contrary, this referendum:
• provides further clarification to the geopolitical configuration of the western Balkans with all the federate states once belonging to the former Yugoslavia now being independent and sovereign countries; and
• sets an example of how capital issues such as the acquisition of statehood can be solved through peaceful means.
16. That said, some additional remarks should be made:
i. Montenegro and Serbia should endeavour to establish close and wide-ranging cooperation.
17. The official recognition of the Republic of Montenegro by the government of Serbia on 15 June 2006 should be welcomed as a step in the right direction, even if such recognition came somewhat later than it could have been hoped for – perhaps further confirmation that Serbia was not prepared for the outcome.
18. Similarly, the decision taken by the Serbian government to allow Montenegrin citizens to pursue their studies in Serbia under the same conditions as Serbian citizens is to be commended, as well as the engagement to grant Montenegrin citizens residing in Serbia Serbian citizenship. The exact scope of these concessions and their practical implementation will have to be clarified in the months to come.
19. For its part, Montenegro has honoured its pre-referendum promise to allow Serbian citizens to travel freely to Montenegro without visa or passport obligations.
20. There are, however, further areas where a pro-active attitude from both Montenegro and Serbia should be encouraged. Amongst these are:
• the situation of national minorities in both countries, as well as issues relating to the status of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), mainly from Kosovo, who cannot be considered as such any longer given that Montenegro is now separate from Serbia;
• access to employment and social services;
• the payment of pensions;
• the guarantee of property rights; and
• the mutual recognition of diplomas.
21. Furthermore, it should be recalled that a protocol between Montenegro and Serbia was signed on 22 June 2006 to start diplomatic relations. It is to be hoped that this will lead in the future to a close cooperation in the economic and foreign-trade fields, also in the wider regional context.
ii. Possible impact on the negotiations on Kosovo status
22. It is predictable that the outcome of the referendum in Montenegro will be used as an argument to support a similar solution for the Kosovo province: Montenegrins and Serbs have a lot in common in terms of ethnic origin, language, religion, history, etc. If Montenegro has been given the chance of becoming independent from Serbia why should Kosovo not enjoy the same right?
23. I also happen to be Rapporteur on the current situation in Kosovo on behalf of the Political Affairs Committee. Without addressing the merits of what I think would be the best solution for Kosovo, I would like to make a call for extreme caution: every situation has its specificities and it is not always possible to draw parallels. It may well be maintained that the outcome of the referendum in Montenegro gives more strength to the argument in favour of the independence of Kosovo but this is far from saying that the referendum will have a decisive impact on the status negotiations as there are a number of other essential elements to be considered.
24. On the other hand, it is a matter of concern that in the aftermath of the referendum in Montenegro several episodes of violence broke out in the northern part of Kosovo. The manipulation of the outcome of the referendum for political purposes by Serbian elements to try to increase tension in Serbian-majority areas and create arguments to be used in the negotiation process should be condemned and averted in so far as possible.
iii. Risk of destabilisation in the region
25. I can think of a few areas in the western Balkans where the population, who belong to ethnic minorities having a kin-state, are not completely satisfied with the present institutional framework, aspire to increased autonomy or have even hinted at the wish of uniting with their kin-state in the future.
26. It is noteworthy for instance that, following the referendum in Montenegro, the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik announced that in case Serbia also lost Kosovo he would call for holding a referendum with a view to uniting with Belgrade.
27. These areas, including the Sandjak (split between Montenegro and Serbia), the Presevo Valley (in South Serbia) and the Republika Srpska (an autonomous entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina) should be the object of the most attentive scrutiny by the Council of Europe in the months to come, with a view to preserving peace and stability while improving good governance, democracy and minorities’ rights, including in the form of use of minority languages and political participation.
V. Consequences on the process of European integration
i. Council of Europe
28. Both in its Declaration of Independence and in its request for membership in the Council of Europe, Montenegro committed itself to respecting and implementing all the Council of Europe conventions that had been signed and ratified by the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and to become a party to the Partial Agreements by which Serbia and Montenegro was bound. The Montenegrin government has accepted in their entirety the commitments and responsibilities set forth in these documents and is determined to act in accordance with their principles.
29. Following the transmission of the accession application by the Ministers’ Deputies, the Bureau of the Assembly has referred such an issue to the Political Affairs Committee for report. A Rapporteur will have to be appointed and I will abstain from entering into the substance of the matter.
30. I shall, however, mention, that even prior to a decision as to its accession, an intense and fruitful cooperation with the Council of Europe will be instrumental in accompanying Montenegro in the major challenges ahead, such as strengthening its institutions, ensuring good governance and – in a nutshell – proving to be a viable and well-functioning democracy capable of existing as an independent and sovereign state and to aspire to the full integration in the European families of democracies. The participation of an ad hoc parliamentary delegation from Montenegro in the Assembly third part-session 2006 is a step in the right direction.
31. I should also commend the decision of the Ministers’ Deputies to invite representatives of Montenegro to attend their meetings and to take part in all the intergovernmental committees of experts as an observer, as an interim measure. Similarly, I appreciate that Montenegro becomes a signatory or a party to the Council of Europe Conventions opened to non-member states as of 6 June 2006 and that as far as the closed conventions are concerned – including the European Convention on Human Rights – retrospective application will be possible so as not to leave a gap as regards the rights that Montenegrin citizens have enjoyed so far.
ii. European Union
32. As already mentioned, in May 2006 the European Union suspended the negotiation of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, as a result of its failure to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
33. While it is of crucial importance to see Serbia engage in serious cooperation with the ICTY, I would like to reiterate the importance for the EU to keep assisting Serbia especially in this difficult transitional period. As mentioned in the EU Council Conclusions of 15 and 16 June, a ‘peaceful and prosperous Serbia’: for this reason the EU should not waver in its assistance to Serbia and aim at finding means to pursue it.
34. In this respect, I believe that the EU’s declared intention of looking into the possibility of facilitating the issuance of visas seems to be a step in the right direction but should not be considered as a sufficient measure. In particular, I think that the EU should be encouraged to take further concrete steps towards Serbia, especially in terms of financial assistance.
35. These steps are all the more important considering that the EU is planning to submit to its member states a proposal for negotiating a new Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the Republic of Montenegro.
36. At the same time, it is important that the obligation of cooperation with the ICTY is also imposed on Montenegro, to avoid this country from becoming a safe-haven for indicted who are still on the run.
VI. Conclusions and recommendations
37. In light of the above, I would like to draw the following main conclusions:
a) the outcome of the referendum of 21 June should be respected as it reflected the will of the people of Montenegro, expressed through a free vote which took place in accordance with international standards;
b) the independence of Montenegro closes a phase of insecurity concerning the fate of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and will thus contribute to regional stability;
c) regional stability will be enhanced provided that Montenegro addresses some fundamental issues such as good governance, corruption, fight against organised crime, and endeavours to establish a fruitful and close cooperation with all the countries in the region, in particular Serbia;
d) international attention should focus on the risk of nationalism and political radicalisation, feeling of victimisation and anti-European attitudes throughout the Serbian political spectrum: the stability of Serbia is a pre-requisite for the stability of the western-Balkans and should be supported by international organisations such as the Council of Europe and the European Union, each of them acting within their means and remits;
e) the independence of Montenegro can be considered as a model in so far as it was achieved in a peaceful way and through a legal and democratic process, legitimised and supervised by the international community.
* * *
Reporting Committee: Political Affairs Committee.
Reference to Committee: 3247, 26.06.06
Draft resolution unanimously adopted by the Committee on 27 June 2006
Members of the Committee : Mr Abdülkadir Ateş (Chairman), Mr Konstantion Kosachev (Vice-Chairman), Mr Zsolt Németh (Vice-Chairman), Mr Giorgi Bokeria (Vice-Chairman), Mr Miloš Aligrudić, Ms Birgir Ármannsson, Mr Giuseppe Arzilli, Mr Claudio Azzolini, Mr Miroslav Beneš, Mr Radu-Mircea Berceanu, Mr Gerardo Bianco, Mr Alexandër Biberaj, Mr Luc Van den Brande, Ms Beáta Brestenká, Ms Anna Čurdová, Mr Noel Davern, Mr Dumitru Diacov, Mr Michel Dreyfus-Schmidt, Mr Adri Duivesteijn, Ms Josette Durrieu, Mr Mikko Elo, Mr Joan Albert Farré Santuré, Mr Per-Kristian Foss, Mr Jean-Charles Gardetto, Mr Charles Goerens, Mr Daniel Goulet, Mr Andreas Gross, Mr Jean-Pol Henry, Mr Joachim Hörster, Mr Renzo Innocenti (alternate: Ms Tana de Zulueta), Mr Ivan Ivanovski, Mr Tadeusz Iwiński, Mr Elmir Jahić, Mr Miloš Jeftić, Mr Oleksandr Karpov, Mr Oskars Kastēns, Mr Yuriy Kostenko, Ms Darja Lavtižar-Bebler, Mr Göran Lindblad, Mr Younal Loutfi, Mr Mikhail Margelov, Mr Tomasz Markowski, Mr Dick Marty, Mr Frano Matušić, Mr Murat Mercan, Mr Jean-Claude Mignon (alternate: Mr Denis Badré), Mr Marko Mihkelson, Ms Nadezhda Mikhailova (alternate: Mr Ivan Ivanov), Mr Mirzazada, Mr Joāo Bosco Mota Amaral, Ms Natalia Narochnitskaya (alternate: M. Ilyas Umakhanov) , Ms Carina Ohlsson, Mr Boris Oliynyk, Mr Theodoros Pangalos, Ms Elsa Papadimitriou, Ms Porteiro Garcia, Mr Christos Pourgourides (alternate: Mr Andros Kyprianou), Mr Gordon Prentice (alternate: Mr John Austin), Mr Gabino Puche, Mr Lluís Maria de Puig, Mr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Lord Russell-Johnston, Mr Peter Schieder, Mr Ingo Schmitt, , Mr Adrian Severin, Ms Hanne Severinsen, Mr Samad Seyidov, Mr Leonid Slutsky, Mr Michael Spindelegger, Mr Rainder Steenblock, Mr Zoltán Szabó, Baroness Taylor of Bolton (alternate: Lord Tomlinson), Mr Mehmet Tekelioğlu, Mr Tigran Torosyan, Mr José Vera Jardim, Ms Biruté Vesaité, Mr Varujan Vosganian, Mr David Wilshire, Mr Bart van Winsen, Mr Wolgang Wodarg, Ms Renate Wohlwend, Mr Marco Zacchera, Mr Krzysztof Zaremba.
Ex-officio: MM. Mátyás Eörsi, Mats Einarsson,
N.B. : The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in bold
Head of the Secretariat : Mr Perin
Secretaries to the Committee: Mrs Nachilo, Mr Chevtchenko, Mrs Sirtori-Milner, Ms Pieter