Successful implementation of the Horizontal Facility Action “Enhancing human rights protection for detained and sentenced persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, was acknowledged at the final meeting of the Steering Committee held on 22 May 2019 in Sarajevo. This Action was co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe for 34 months. The persons deprived of liberty in prisons, law enforcement agencies and forensic staff, benefited from its effective implementation.
The Steering Committee unanimously concluded that the overall purpose of the Action was fully achieved. This encompasses detecting challenges in dealing with persons deprived of liberty across custodial environment, offering timely and well balanced remedies aligned with Council of Europe and other relevant international standards and, finally - providing technical support to local authorities in meeting international human rights obligations, by improving custodial operational procedures.
Senior justice policy makers and representatives of the Directorate for European Integration in Bosnia and Herzegovina endorsed the key results produced by the team work of local professionals and international short term consultants. The main results are recognised in the harmonisation of operational procedures with respect to human rights standards across custodial environment, in the changes that this harmonisation brought to the domestic regulations with particular emphasis on the importance of the custodial staff training structures, and in the capacity building for the custodial staff in closed environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Local prison authorities were particularly grateful to both project partners, the European Union and the Council of Europe, for the flexibility of this Action and the prompt and co-ordinated response to their immediate needs. This is specifically reflected in the procurement of hardware for pilot prisons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a precondition for development of software solutions at a later stage, which will, all combined, lead up to the more efficient and sound processing of electronic data among law enforcement agencies.
˝This Action was beneficial to both, normative developments and raising the level of professionalism and competence among the law enforcement staff˝, said Mustafa Bisic, Assistant Minister for execution of criminal sanctions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His entity level’s counterparts particularly emphasised the contribution of prison and police professionals to embedding good practices in the region.