The Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms has demanded that prisoners receive more attention from the state.
A press release from the CDHRF states that prisoners’ human rights were violated during the pandemic.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, one of the most marginalized groups whose human rights have been violated are persons deprived of their liberty and convicts serving sentences,” the statement said.
The CDHRF also requested that the remaining convicts under one year of imprisonment be pardoned.
“Forgiveness of the sentence of convicts who have less than one year left in prison for all convicts convicted of offenses that do not pose a high risk, and that their release would not affect the endangerment of general security,” it is said. further in the announcement./Voice
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most marginalized groups whose human rights have been violated are those deprived of their liberty and convicts serving sentences. In reality, the Kosovo Correctional Service, in order to protect the health and lives of prisoners and staff of this service has been obliged to implement some restrictive and restrictive measures due to the fact that it had to respect the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and NIPHK – ës.
According to the assessment of the CDHRF, the Kosovo Correctional Service has reacted quickly and has taken measures to protect the health of prisoners and staff, has successfully managed the situation in an almost unmanageable situation and deserves praise for this. Realistically, the damage to the health and lives of prisoners due to COVID-19 has been minimal while the correctional staff has been found in a more serious situation losing the lives of a number of staff who worked with great dedication.
CDHRF, as an organization that for more than 20 years monitors the observance of human rights of persons deprived of liberty, had come up with concrete proposals that due to the circumstances created, the responsible institutions of Kosovo should take swift action that would alleviate the situation of persons deprived of their liberty as well as that of the Kosovo Correctional Service, based on the actions taken by countries with a much more developed democracy than Kosovo and with a long and successful tradition in the field of execution of criminal sanctions.
CDHRF, according to the proposal of the lawyer Artan Qerkini who is now a member of the Presidency, had proposed the maximum depopulation of detention and correctional institutions, without endangering the security situation abroad through: Forgiveness of convicts who have less than one year left in prison for all convicts convicted of offenses that do not pose a high risk, and that their release would not affect the endangerment of general security.
– Temporary release for all those who are regular beneficiaries of the benefits who would stay at home while the time spent at home would be counted as repayment of the sentence.
-Replacement of imprisonment with alternative punishment measures in cases of lighter sentences.
-The imposition of detention on remand only in those cases when there are no other options.
Forgiveness or termination of the sentence for convicts in old age and those with tertiary diagnoses (incurable diseases).
Involvement in the release of a larger number of women convicts, convicted juveniles or juveniles with educational measures because the CDHRF has strong remarks that these categories are treated unfairly and that they are not treated in accordance with their behavior.
-Intensification of the work of the Parole Panel
-Using the constitutional right of the President to pardon persons deprived due to extraordinary circumstances
-Establishment of an Ad Hoc Commission that would serve as a catalyst for accelerating the procedures for the release of persons deprived of their liberty, according to the above criteria.
Kosovo institutions, for objective and subjective reasons have not complied with these recommendations and thus have become human rights violators of persons deprived of their liberty, have hampered the work of the Kosovo Correctional Service which has been put under pressure by prisoners , families and organizations that monitor the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty.
The CDHRF has assessed that in emergency situations such as it was at the beginning of the pandemic and which is still today, extraordinary decisions must be made and this has not been done. Thus, the courts have rejected requests for release even to convict with tertiary diagnosis, with inevitable fatality and, therefore, we have had an increase in the number of convicts who have died in prison within a short time precisely because of incurable diseases.
CDHRF has reacted several times as if even now it demands that all convicts who have been denied the right to use benefits due to the pandemic, in case we return to normal, they should be compensated, without any hesitation!
The CDHRF has previously reacted to the criteria of the Parole Board, which make it more difficult to release those who have met the conditions than to enable them to exercise this right.
For the CDHRF, the main, determining and decisive criterion should be the behavior of the convict while serving the sentence because this includes everything that means a successful re-socialization. Meanwhile, for the CDHRF, from the point of view of human rights, the criterion of the nature and weight of the sentence is a big problem, which turns out to be the main criterion of the PLK, while this criterion is and should be the exclusive responsibility of the competent court. imposes the sentence, up to the final sentence. Continuation of the treatment of this criterion as a determinant for PLK, for CDHRF represents an additional sentence for the convict by the competent court and demotivation for the convict. Criminal past and recidivism can be considered as an aggravating circumstance when sentencing by the court but that in no way can be considered as an obstacle during the review of the request for parole panel, if the convict proves that he has distanced himself from the past through good manners. Therefore, sincere, written repentance and attitude towards the victim is an abstract criterion that can not be measured by anything. Only good behavior can convince that the convict has accepted the resocialization program.
For the CDHRF, the composition of the PLK poses a problem due to the lack of professional profiles that have the power to decide whether the convict has met the conditions for parole. And, finally, about the PLK, for the CDHRF it is completely unacceptable and unprofessional for the content of the refusal for parole where it is stereotypically and generally repeated that: “the convict has not passed the resocialization program”, without giving no concrete reason why he has not yet passed the resocialization program, although the applicant for parole has been using all the benefits for years and has not committed any disciplinary offense.
Forgiveness from the President is the most sensitive and ineffective point to date. Although, the President, according to the Constitution of Kosovo, on certain dates has the right to pardon a convict based on the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Commission but that he has no obligation to heed this recommendation, so far it turns out that this pardon is far from expectations of convicts and in great discrepancy with the requirements. If out of 500 or 600 requests for pardon we have only 4-5 pardons, the CDHRF considers this more a mockery than a pardon. This way of pardon causes many problems precisely the Kosovo Correctional Service that prepares requests and files for 500 or 600 convicts while the pardons are symbolic. The Law determines which acts cannot be included in the pardon by the President, therefore for the CDHRF it is unacceptable the pressure that is then made for any pardon which is not included among the prohibited acts for pardon.
Amnesty Law: The CDHRF considers that the drafting of an Amnesty Law should begin as soon as possible, taking into account the good practices of countries in the region and others. This missing Law has been and continues to be a source of dissatisfaction of persons deprived of liberty in Kosovo and which has been manifested by prisoner strikes and other objections as if it is a concern for human rights organizations.
CDHRF encourages the Ministry of Justice, in the framework of the promised reforms, to pay special attention to improving the conditions for persons deprived of liberty and correctional and administrative staff, especially in the field of execution of criminal sanctions, ie more efficient implementation. of legal mechanisms that regulate the benefits of convicts who have good behavior such as: increasing weekend breaks at home, for those who work regularly, using annual leave in accordance with the Labor Law, exemption from PLK eliminating bureaucratic obstacles, Law on Amnesty, Replacement of prison with alternative punishment measures after serving a part of the sentence for lower risk offenses and the possibility that the year of serving the sentence is not calculated 12 months but 10 months. These measures would significantly help the successful implementation of the resocialization program, would motivate convicts for good behavior because the state is offering a concrete offer for those convicts who behave well, would save the Kosovo budget and would greatly help the work of the Kosovo Correctional Service.