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The Government of Kosovo approves the Draft Law on the agreement on prisons with Denmark

The Government of Kosovo approves the Draft Law on the agreement on prisons with

The Government of Kosovo announced on Monday that it has approved the same Draft Law for the ratification of a Treaty that it had reached with Denmark for housing prisoners from Denmark in Kosovo prisons, a few days after the failure of the Assembly to ratify it.

"The main issue addressed in this draft law is the ratification of the Treaty between the Republic of Kosovo and the Kingdom of Denmark for the use of the Correctional Institution in Gjilan for the purpose of executing Danish sentences", the Government said in a press release.

Blerim Sallahu, Deputy Minister of Justice of Kosovo, told Radio Free Europe that this is the same Bill that the Assembly failed to approve on Thursday.

"Yes, we have negotiated with the Danes and agreed that the same draft should go to the Government and the Assembly", said Sallahu.

After the failure in the Assembly, the Bill had to be returned to the Government to start from scratch, according to the regulation. Kosovo and Denmark signed a letter of consent for the transfer of 300 prisoners from the Danish state to Kosovo in December 2021. In April 2022, the document was transformed into a Treaty, according to which it was foreseen that the transfer of prisoners would take place at the beginning of of 2023.

But the Assembly failed to pass the Treaty on Thursday, after it received only 75 of the necessary 80 votes of MPs. The government must send this draft law to the Parliament now in a second attempt for ratification, although there was no support for it from a part of the opposition. According to the law in Kosovo, international agreements can only be ratified with the votes of two-thirds of the deputies.

The contract has a duration of ten years. There it is foreseen that Denmark will use cells, single and shared, in the prison of Gjilan - the eastern part of Kosovo. In exchange for this, Kosovo is expected to earn over 200 million euros. From the amount of 200 million euros - how much Kosovo is expected to benefit - 30 million are planned to go to renewable energy, while the rest for investments in the Correctional Service of Kosovo.

Denmark, upon the entry into force of the agreement, will hand over an initial fee of five million euros to Kosovo. Meanwhile, the payment will be made at quarterly rates, during the first 12 months of the use of the prison, in accordance with the number of prisoners that the facility can accommodate. According to the Treaty, Denmark will not send prisoners convicted of terrorist offences, prisoners convicted of war crimes and prisoners diagnosed with serious mental disorders who need medical care outside the prison.

The leaders and guards at the Gjilan prison will be from the state of Denmark and the Kosovo Correctional Service. Authorities in Denmark have previously said that their prison capacity is 100% full, as the number of prisoners has increased by almost 20% since 2015. Security experts in Kosovo have previously told REL that there is no room to worry about the security situation from the arrival of prisoners from Denmark. However, representatives of some non-governmental organizations have said that this transfer may affect the standard of local prisoners./ REL

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