During the visit, a primary objective of the delegation was to assess the treatment of persons held in prisons, and to see what progress had been made by the authorities to develop a professional prison management system, with clear reporting lines and accountability. In particular, the delegation examined whether prisoners held at Idrizovo Prison were provided with safe and decent conditions of detention following the Committee’s highly critical previous assessments of this establishment. To this end, the President of the CPT had an open and constructive exchange with Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski on Idrizovo Prison in the light of the commitments and actions agreed upon at their previous meeting in May 2022. Three other prison establishments and a correctional educational institution for juveniles were also visited.
In addition, the delegation examined the treatment and legal safeguards afforded to persons deprived of their liberty by the police and the effectiveness of investigations carried out by prosecutorial and police oversight authorities into complaints of alleged ill-treatment of persons detained by the police.
A further focus of the visit was the examination of the treatment of patients held in two psychiatric hospitals and of residents accommodated in a social care home.
In the course of the visit, the delegation also held consultations with Oliver Spasovski, Minister of Interior, Jovanka Trenchevska, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Igor Arsovski, Assistant Minister of Internal Control, Viktorija Avramovska Madic, Deputy Minister of Justice and Maja Manoleva, Deputy Minister of Health. It also met with Jovica Stojanovic, Director of the Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions and other senior government officials. A separate meeting was held with the judicial authorities of Bitola Basic Court on the issue of involuntary placement in a psychiatric hospital.
The delegation also met Naser Ziberi, Ombudsman and Head of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), and representatives of non-governmental organisations active in areas of concern to the CPT.
The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:
- Alan Mitchell, President of the CPT (Head of Delegation)
- Sanja Bezbradica-Jelavić
- Dagmar Breznoščàkovà
- Nikola Kovačević
- Slava Novak
- Aleksandar Tomčuk
- Tinatin Uplisashvili
They were supported by Christian Loda and Paolo Lobba of the CPT’s Secretariat and assisted by an expert, Patricia Gilheaney, former Inspector of Prisons in the Republic of Ireland.
At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary findings to the national authorities.
The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:
- Kičevo Police Station
- Butel/Chair Police Station, Skopje
- Bit Pazar Police Station, Skopje
- Centar Police Station, Skopje
- Gazi Baba Police Station, Skopje
- Veles Police Station
- Bitola Prison (targeted visit to newly admitted pre-trial detainees)
- Idrizovo Prison
- Prilep Prison
- Skopje Prison
- Štip Prison
- Tetovo Education Correctional Institution
Institutions under the authority of the Ministry of Health
- Demir Hisar Psychiatric Hospital
- Skopje Psychiatric Hospital (Bardovci)
Institutions under the authority of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
- Demir Kapija Special Institution for Mentally Disabled Persons