The oldest prison in Bosnia and Herzegovina, KPD Zenica, today received a new three-story Pavilion IX containing 62 accommodation units with a capacity for 236 prisoners. The pavilion and yard of 3,200 square meters have been built according to European standards and meet the highest safety requirements. Pavilion IX was constructed over 18 months, and the accommodation of prisoners will begin during the month of September.
The pavilion was opened today by the Head of the European Union Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Johann Sattler, President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH Halil Lagumdžija, Minister of Justice of the Federation of BiH Mate Jozić, Minister of Justice and Administration of Ze-Do Canton Nebojša Nikolić and Director of KPD Zenica Redžo Kahrić. The European Union has supported the construction of Pavilion IX in the amount of 2.1 million euros in grants.
Ambassador Sattler emphasised the European Union’s commitment to supporting the authorities of BiH in order to strengthen the rule of law, support relevant institutions and act in accordance with the best European and international practices. “Prisons serve to protect the public, to punish offenders and to provide conditions for rehabilitation, i.e., preparing a person deprived of liberty to return to society. For the prison system to be effective, prisons must be secure, safe and ensure decent living conditions. Following today’s inauguration, Zenica prison will be respecting these fundamentals. In addition to investing in infrastructure, the European Union continuously supports prison staff in strengthening humane treatment of detainees in line with European and international standards,” said Ambassador Sattler, adding that the European Union and its Member States invest significantly in construction and reconstruction of judicial institutions throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that a step forward is needed in the implementation of reform processes and the adoption of legal frameworks to ensure safe and unhindered access to justice for all citizens.
The construction of Pavilion IX within Zenica Penitentiary is part of the European Union’s support to strengthening the integrity of the BiH judiciary and improving the work of law enforcement agencies.
Mate Jozić, Minister of Justice of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, underlined the importance of investing in improving the infrastructure of penitentiary institutions and continuous support and cooperation with the European Union in achieving these goals, not least through building and upgrading institutions throughout the Federation of BiH. “In the upcoming period, in cooperation with the European Union, we plan to build an inpatient clinic in this prison in Zenica to provide medical assistance to prisoners to whom the court has imposed a measure of compulsory treatment for addiction. We strive to modernise the system of execution of criminal sanctions and ensure the full rule of law for persons deprived of their liberty. I hope that in the coming period we will adopt a new legal framework that will improve this sector,” stated Minister Jozić.
Redžo Kahrić, Director of KPD Zenica, expressed his gratitude to the European Union for investing in the construction of the new pavilion, “In addition to accommodation, we have facilities for an ambulance, fitness room, dining room, library and a fenced area for walking. The specificity of this pavilion in relation to others is a separate boiler room and transformer station, which speaks of the purposefulness of the pavilion, which may have special purposes for other activities. It is important to note that the international standards of accommodation for convicted persons, four square metres per convicted persons, have been met”, said director Kahrić.
The EU has invested over 50 million euros in assistance for construction and reconstruction of justice facilities in BiH
On the same day, Ambassador Sattler made official the start of work on the reconstruction of the Municipal Court in Zenica in the amount of 2 million euros in order to improve the existing capacities of the Court. Renovation of basements and the ground floor is planned, as well as the fitting of a new facade. The works include the construction of an annex to the 6-storey building, which will provide additional space, improve functionality and connect the existing buildings of the Municipal Court and the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office.
The European Union continuously supports the strengthening of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina through numerous technical and professional assistance projects in order to improve the justice system for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and achieve progress in the European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both projects are part of a wider package of European Union assistance for the construction and reconstruction of justice facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina worth over 50 million euros in grants.