Different ways to prevent impunity and promptly respond to allegations of ill-treatment while ensuring that rights of detainees are properly protected throughout the deprivation of liberty were the key issues discussed at the meeting of 52 most senior police officials at the meeting held on 16-17 May in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
These discussions follow from one of the priorities agreed between the European Union and local authorities in December 2022, necessary to evidence the country's progress on the European integration path. Robust complaints procedures against ill-treatment also correspond with the long standing recommendations from the European Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment reports addressed to BiH authorities.
„We are grateful to the European Union and Council of Europe for providing us with the first ever opportunity to exchange good practices and harmonise our approach to the upholding of human rights protection mechanisms in such a forum. Noone in the police structures knowingly intends to infringe upon or violate human rights of those deprived of liberty, regardless of the length or nature of their detention. But such high level meetings enable us to formulate the joint message of zero tollerance against ill-treatment and to make them widely available to the police officers in our competence. Equally important is to spread the message on the availability of channels to lodge complaints against the alleged ill-treatment whenever they may arise“, said one of the participants.
The senior police officials also recognised that implementation of human rights standards requires decent conditions and functional detention premises. They reiterated invitation to donors to reinforce their support to infrastructural initiatives to provide detention conditions also aligned with European standards.
The activity was organised within the framework of the action “Further strengthening the treatment of detained and sentenced persons in line with European standards in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ which is a part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye".