A study visit to North Macedonia, which took place on 05-06 July 2022, provided an excellent settings to selected prison staff from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo* to exchange practices and learn from the North Macedonia’s approaches when it comes to screening, risk assessment, management and post-penal support to violent extremist prisoners (VEPs).
The participants jointly discussed staff training on combatting radicalisation and violent extremism, how to extend outreach and ensure sustainable training provision. They also benefitted by sharing their experiences on rehabilitation tools and multi-disciplinary approaches and interventions. One of the most complex aspects, namely securing preconditions for inter-agency engagement during VEPs’ preparation for release and ensuring their active involvement in providing assistance towards their reintegration back into their communities, was also discussed and practices were exchanged.
The delegation visited premises of the prison in Kumanovo and the prison staff training centre located in Idrizovo prison near Skopje. They also met the Director of the Directorate for Execution of Sanctions of the Ministry of Justice, the National CT/CVE coordinator and representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Centre for Social Care in Skopje.
The activity was implemented under the regional action “Enhancing penitentiary capacities in addressing radicalisation in prisons in the Western Balkans”, within the Horizontal Facility Program for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, and implemented by the Council of Europe.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.