30 November 2016
EULEX would again like to offer condolences to the family and friends of Astrit Dehari who died as an inmate at the Prizren detention center. For such a young man to die in such circumstances is indeed a tragedy.
As part of its mandate, EULEX monitored this case and is confident that the investigation and autopsy were carried out correctly, in a professional and diligent way, in line with best European practices and with all meaningful lines of enquiry being pursued. The three relevant agencies involved continue to fulfill their respective obligation as would be expected. There are always lessons to be learned from incidents like this and the critical element to improvement is the implementation of these lessons.
Whilst the circumstances are unusual, the Kosovo institutions revealed that Astrit was in his cell on his own at the time of the incident. The CCTV and witness testimony of the people present confirms this. EULEX supports the findings and the logical conclusion drawn from the facts and evidence available through the investigation and autopsy.
However, the events surrounding Astrit Dehari’s death should serve as a reminder that, although the Kosovo Correctional Service is striving for improvements, much more is needed, looking forward, to prevent such incidents and further loss of life.
Immediately after this incident, the Minister of Justice engaged EULEX to support in the lessons learned and how to incorporate them in the already ongoing, wider reforms agenda of the correction service. Minister Hoxha pushed for the agencies to present their findings, which they eventually did.
EULEX welcomes the emphasis put and improvements initiated by the Minister of Justice in order to increase accountability and transparency within the rule of law system. EULEX stands ready to assist the Ministry of Justice and other rule-of-law institutions to further move in this direction.