Späť Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has today published the report on its second periodic visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which took place in March 2007, together with the responses of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The CPT’s March 2007 visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina provided an opportunity to assess the progress made since the first periodic visit in April/May 2003 and the ad hoc visit in December 2004. The Committee’s delegation examined in detail various issues related to prisons, including the regime and treatment of remand prisoners and those prisoners placed in isolation. Particular concerns were expressed in the visit report about the unsafe nature of some of the prisons visited, notably those in Zenica and Doboj, where it appeared that prison staff were not in complete control.

The situation of forensic psychiatric patients was another focal point of the visit. The CPT recommended inter alia that the living conditions of patients at Sokolac Psychiatric Clinic be improved, and that measures be taken to reinforce the staffing levels and to introduce individual treatment plans for each patient. As regards Zenica Prison Forensic Psychiatric Annexe, the CPT called upon the authorities to take immediate steps to improve the conditions, treatment and staffing levels in the Annexe. The CPT also encouraged the authorities to take a more multidisciplinary planning approach towards the establishment of a State-level forensic psychiatric hospital.

The situation of residents in two social care homes was examined for the first time, and the authorities were urged to improve the safeguards afforded to persons placed in such homes. The importance of developing a proper legal framework for social care homes in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was also stressed.

Particular attention was also paid to the treatment of persons detained by the police and to the practical operation of safeguards against ill-treatment.

In their responses, the authorities make reference to various measures taken to improve the situation in the light of the recommendations made by the CPT. As regards law enforcement agencies, the responsible Ministries state that they have reiterated the message to all police units that ill-treatment of detained persons is illegal, unprofessional and will be the subject of severe sanctions.

Information has been provided on the steps taken to make Doboj and Zenica Prisons safe for inmates, and on the measures to improve conditions in the prisons visited. Reference is also made to the appointment of a health-care coordinator for prisons in the Republika Srpska. Some improvements in the living conditions are reported in relation to Sokolac Psychiatric Clinic and Višegrad Institution for the Protection of Females.

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