Voltar Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee publishes report on ”the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published today the report on its ad hoc visit to "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" in July 2004, together with the Government's response.

On this fifth visit to "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", the CPT’s delegation focussed on the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty by the law enforcement agencies, the system of accountability for ill-treatment, and the situation in remand prisons.

The CPT found that, although the magnitude of the problem of ill-treatment of persons in police custody appeared to have diminished, the amount of information indicative of ill-treatment remained significant.

As regards the system of accountability, the CPT found that no effective follow-up action had been taken by the authorities in response to cases raised by the CPT in previous reports. The CPT also examined the effectiveness of action taken by judges and prosecutors in respect of two further cases. It recommended that the authorities ensure that allegations of police ill-treatment are thoroughly and promptly investigated.

No allegations of physical ill-treatment of inmates by custodial staff were heard at Gevgelija or Štip Remand Prisons. However, a few allegations of ill-treatment were received at Skopje Prison. The CPT recommended that the authorities deliver a clear message to custodial staff at Skopje Prison that ill-treatment of prisoners is not acceptable and would be the subject of severe sanctions.

As for material conditions in remand prisons, the CPT called on the national authorities to ensure that all prisoners are granted at least one hour of outdoor exercise daily and one shower weekly. The CPT also made a series of recommendations concerning prison staffing, overcrowding, the lack of activities for prisoners, problems with health care and the importance of proper medical screening upon admission.

In their response, the national authorities describe the various measures taken to implement the CPT's recommendations.

The CPT's report and the Government's response, which have been published at the request of the national authorities, are available on the Committee's website: http://www.cpt.int

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