Anti-torture Committee publishes report on Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has today published its first report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, following a visit in April/May 2003.
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In its report, the CPT calls upon the authorities to ensure that a thorough, independent and impartial investigation is carried out into allegations of large-scale ill-treatment following a riot in Zenica Prison in February 2003. The report also draws attention to inadequate staffing levels, which constitute a major problem throughout the prison system of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to the total lack of out-of-cell activities offered to remand prisoners.

The CPT recommends that the Zenica Prison Forensic Psychiatric Annexe be relocated, and highlights major deficiencies at Sokolac Psychiatric Hospital and Jakeš Institution for Chronic Mental Patients.

Many people indicated to the CPT that they had been treated correctly whilst detained by the police. Nevertheless, some persons did allege that they had been physically ill-treated by police officers. The Committee emphasises the importance of strict selection criteria during recruitment of police officers and of professional training.

In their response to the report, the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina refer to progress in the field of legislative reform, including as regards the development of a new State Law on the Execution of Criminal Sentences, and to measures taken to improve police training and to step up the control of police activities. However, they also make reference to significant budgetary difficulties, which pose an obstacle to tackling problems such as those observed in psychiatric institutions.

The CPT report and the response of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been made public with the agreement of the national authorities. They are all available on the CPT's website: