The Regional Round Table “The role of parliaments of the Western Balkans in oversight over measures for prevention and fight against non-violent forms of extremism” took place in Prishtina, Kosovo, on 30 November 2016, organised by the Centre for Security, Development and the Rule of Law (DCAF) from Geneva. On this occasion, the Parliament of Montenegro was represented by MP Mr Luigj Lubo Shkrela.
The Regional Round Table “The role of parliaments of the Western Balkans in oversight over measures for prevention and fight against non-violent forms of extremism” has gathered representatives of parliamentary committees responsible for issues of defence and security from Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Slovenia.
This gathering was aimed at providing information on trends of radicalisation in the Western Balkans countries; raising awareness on factors of this phenomenon and their influence on preventive decision-making policy. Furthermore, the aim of this gathering has also been the provision of platform for discussion on the role of application of the law and the work of intelligence agencies on prevention of radicalisation and implications to the parliamentary oversight, as well as provision of discussion from the field of protection of human rights and civic freedoms in the context of fight against terrorism, and proposal of measures that the parliaments of the Western Balkans and beyond could implement in order to protect human rights and freedoms in the said context.
The Round Table has primarily been dedicated to consideration of the current state of affairs in the subject field in the countries of the Western Balkans, and to finding the most effective solutions from the scope of parliamentary work, which are aimed at the strengthening of institutions and the rule of law, prevention and repression of terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalisation, provision of a platform for exchange of experiences, good practice and lessons learned from parliamentary oversight in that respect.
Speeches of experts from the fields of intelligence, human rights, data protection, as well as experts from the fields of prevention and repression of violent extremism have contributed to the course of the subject discussion.
Through interactive discussion of participants, the Round Table has provided a framework for exchange of information, lessons learned, best practice and challenges faced by the countries participating in the process of implementation of parliamentary oversight in the said field. Furthermore, it also contributed to finding a model for its improvement.
In the beginning, the participants in the gathering were addressed by the representatives of the Parliament of Kosovo - Chairperson of the Committee on Internal Affairs, Security and Supervision Mr Daut Haradinaj, and Chairperson of the Oversight Committee for Kosovo Intelligence Agency Mr Haxhi Shala, and then by the Swiss Ambassador to Kosovo Mr Jean-Hubert Lebet and the DCAF representative, Deputy Head of Department for Southeast Europe Operations, Ms Antje Fritz.
This was followed by the first session dedicated to the topic “Islam Radicalisation in the Western Balkans - Overview of the Current Trends and Developments”, aimed at providing insight into and basic information on radicalisation trends in the Western Balkans region and providing the platform for discussion on consequences thereof, and parliamentary activities in that respect.
In capacity of panellists and experts from the subject field, on this occasion the participants in the gathering have been addressed by: Mr Vlado Azinović, professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Sarajevo, Bosna i Hercegovina; Mr Shqipe Mjekiqi, Senior Political Advisor, representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kosovo; Mr Gjergji Vurmo, programme director of the Independent Reporting Mechanism at the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) from Albania; Ms Anita Perešin, expert in the field of fight against violent types of extremism from Croatia, visiting professor for the field of counterterrorism at the George C. Marshall Centre, and Ms Simona Hrastnik Čuček, expert in the field of fight against violent types of extremism from Slovenia.
The second session of the gathering was dedicated to the topic “Deradicalisation and reintegration - Insight into methods of intervening in prisons and experiences of separation” during which the participants in the Round Table were addressed by the panellists Dr Harald Weilnböck, researcher from Germany, psychotherapist from Berlin, and Mr Albert Berisha, representative of the Institute for Security, Integration and Deradicalisation (INSID) from Kosovo.
The third session of the Round Table was dedicated to the topic “The role of application of laws and intelligence agencies in fight against violent extremism” during which the participants were addressed by the panellists and experts from the subject field: Dr Claudia Hillebrand, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University; professor Manfred Krauss, Head of Training Unit for Special Penal Investigations from the Federal Criminal Police Office from Germany, and professor Helen Fenwick, Director of Centre for Human Rights from Durham Institute for European Law.
During this session, the discussion of the participants was mostly focused on implementation of the legislative framework from the subject field and securing the rule of law, and the activities of intelligence agencies in prevention of radicalisation, with special reference to their special needs and challenges. The participants in the Round Table discussed the role of parliaments and measures at the disposal of the highest legislative house in the country in fight against all types of violent extremism, protection of human rights and civic freedoms.
Within the final session of the Round Table, the participants had a dialogue on “The role of the parliaments in oversight over implementing measures for prevention and fight against violent types of extremism”, which has provided a platform for exchange of approaches which the parliaments in the Western Balkans countries have taken or should take, in order to ensure adequate implementation of measures in fight against violent extremism or prevention thereof.
During the discussion, the representatives of the parliaments of the countries in the region presented the existing types of parliamentary oversight. Furthermore, they presented the practice from the subject field and they jointly noted the significance of timely confrontation with threats and challenges related to terrorism and violent extremism, as well as the finding of an effective, common solution regarding achieving the highest level of security in this field. It has been noted that the international cooperation aimed at effective discovery and prevention of contemporary security threats to national security had a very significant role and that the recognition of its importance and the timely undertaking of activities with regard to that represented significant elements of this process.
This session has also been oriented towards the issues regarding exchange of experiences from the subject field and determination of principles and good practice aimed at achieving the highest degree of effectiveness of preventive action of parliamentary operations.
The Regional Round Table “The role of parliaments of the Western Balkans in oversight over measures for prevention and fight against non-violent forms of extremism” today ends its work.