The EU Twinning Project “Strengthening the correctional and probation services in Kosovo” implemented by the IRZ in partnership with the French junior partner Justice Coopération Internationale (JCI) was successfully completed on 3 November 2016 in Pristina.

The legal situation in the correctional and probation services in Kosovo already meets European standards, there are, however, still deficits in the practical application of the laws.

This twinning project was therefore aimed at making a specific and sustained contribution to the further development of the correctional service in Kosovo, supporting the work of the probation service within the judiciary and improving its image in the general public, thus providing a real alternative to the traditional correctional service.

A project term of 24 months with more than 100 local expert assignments produced the following positive results, among others:

  • 25 implementation and administrative regulations relating to the penal law of Kosovo to enhance the application of the laws, which have almost entirely been adopted and enacted;
  • a strategy for the execution of penal sanctions including an action plan commissioned by the Ministry of Justice of Kosovo (Strategy for execution of penal sanctions 2016 – 2020);
  • round table discussions with members of the probation service, lawyers, the police and judges in all regions of Kosovo to promote alternative sanctioning forms (e.g. probation, community work);
  • revision of the training syllabus for prison officers;
  • participation in drafting the documents for accrediting a study course at a university of applied sciences for the higher correctional service;
  • modern organisational and managerial concepts for prisons;
  • evaluation of the means for prisoners to file complaints;
  • training for managerial staff and other key persons in prisons based on the ”UN Prison Incident Handbook“ for dealing with extraordinary situations observing human rights;
  • translation of the mentioned handbook into the national language;
  • development, and initial test run in pilot projects, of management and treatment programms for the probation service and prisons;
  • alignment of the probation and correctional services’ data bases for a consistent offender management. In this context, active support was provided in the determination of requirements, tendering and procurement of computers and software with a volume of approx. € 300,000.
An outstanding feature of this project was its practised European cooperation. In contrast to many other EU projects experts from France, Germany, Spain and Romania were working in mixed teams at the respective places in Kosovo and have jointly organised training sessions and seminars for their partners from Kosovo. Usually, expert teams cooperate in projects of the same countries of secondment or the project partners only cooperate in the components assigned to them. It is the way this project was handled that we imagine the future Europe!