Council of Europe anti-torture Committee (CPT) and CEB hold high-level talks on prison reform in North Macedonia

18 May 2022

Skopje – The President of the European Committee for Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Alan Mitchell, and the Vice-Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Tomáš Boček, have met the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovačevski, to exchange on prison reform.

They urged government officials to pursue their commitment to develop a professional prison service in line with the CPT recommendations.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee (CPT) and CEB hold high-level talks on prison reform in North MacedoniaIn talks held with Prime Minister Kovačevski, Minister of Finance Fatmir Besimi and Minister of Justice Nikola Tupančevski, the CPT and CEB delegation reiterated the need to establish clear reporting lines and effective management oversight in the prison service.

Delegation members stressed the importance of improving detention conditions for persons held in Idrizovo and Skopje prisons.

“Prisons are complex institutions which require professional managers and staff to run them,” said Alan Mitchell, President of the CPT. “In order to effectively prevent ill treatment, North Macedonia has a duty to ensure that all persons in prison are treated with dignity and provided with decent living conditions.”

CEB Vice-Governor Tomáš Boček brought up the effective implementation of the loan agreement between the CEB and Government of North Macedonia for the rebuilding of the Idrizovo prison, including the construction of a pre-trial detention facility. 

“We encouraged the authorities of North Macedonia to address the outstanding issues with respect to penitentiary institutions, particularly the Idrizovo Prison”, the Vice-Governor said. “I would like to reiterate the CEB’s interest to support North Macedonia in dealing with development challenges through social and effective projects.”

Consultations were also held with Ambassador David Geer, head of the Delegation of the European Union to North Macedonia, on the importance of prison reform as a key aspect of the justice system.

The President of the CPT and the Vice-Governor of the CEB were accompanied by Hugh Chetwynd and Christian Loda of the CPT’s Secretariat, and Sonay Kanber from the CEB.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.