A new prison for Kosovo

PRISTINA – A new high-security prison was inaugurated in Podujevo municipality last month as part of a European Union and Government of Kosovo project aiming to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo.

The new facility will allow Kosovo* to house prisoners whose escape would pose a threat to the public or national security, while respecting human rights and protecting staff.

UNOPS managed the trust fund set up to administer the project and provided project management and procurement services. Despite the large scale and complexity of the project, the prison was completed ahead of schedule and within budget, whilst upholding the highest international standards for prison facilities and prisoner welfare.

The inauguration ceremony took place on 18 December 2013, with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Hajredin Kuçi in attendance alongside UNOPS Executive Director Jan Mattsson, representatives of the EU Office in Kosovo, the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, and Kosovan Government ministers.

Minister Kuçi said: "I am very pleased with the work done. This facility is one of the best in the region and is one of the biggest projects of the Ministry of Justice for this year". He also thanked the EU, UNOPS, the Ministry of Public Administration and other stakeholders for supporting its construction.

Valued at almost $13 million, the infrastructure contract is the single biggest that UNOPS has ever issued to a local contractor. By adopting a sustainable approach to project management, UNOPS was able to improve the prison design. For example, by consulting with key stakeholders and making some changes, the capacity of the prison increased from 300 cells to 390.

Other infrastructure improvements include better waste water treatment facilities, the addition of dental health facilities, higher-grade window glazing to reduce heating costs and increase security, and the creation of a recycling area.

UNOPS also helped develop local capacity by using sustainable procurement practices. For example, by splitting procurement activities into smaller packages and revising design specifications to reflect what was available locally, suppliers based in the region were able to competitively bid for contracts to supply furniture and equipment valued at $1.5 million.

 The new prison will create 400 jobs for local people. UNOPS is training the future staff, as well as offering guidance on maintenance during the first 12 months in order to reduce upkeep costs and ensure the prison’s long-term sustainability.

 *Referred to throughout in the context of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.