EVENT: Training on Monitoring Weapons and Restraints for Ombuds Instiutions, NPMs and Civil Society

The November 2019 training event was designed for members of Slovenia’s Ombuds Institution, the national preventive mechanism for the prevention of torture and civil society representatives. It aimed to enhance the participants’ understanding of monitoring and documenting the use of weapons and restraints by the law enforcement in Slovenia, with a focus on the newly introduced TASER projectile electric shock weapon.

Following the recent adoption of a new law providing for the use of projectile electric shock weapons and the subsequent purchase of TASER weapons for Slovenian police officers, the 18 participants (10 women and 8 men) received training specifically tailored to the national context. They discussed current challenges in monitoring the use of certain equipment, in projectile electric shock weapons, by the police, as well as the legal framework applicable to certain categories of weapons and the use of force by the law enforcement.         

“Monitoring the use of weapons, in particular TASER ™ by our Police officers is an important part of our work on torture prevention,” said Ivan Selih, Deputy Ombudsman and Head of the National Preventive Mechanism of Slovenia. “After having been actively involved in the drafting process of the new law introducing TASER ™ in Slovenia, this training provided an excellent opportunity for us to learn more about available tools to enhance our monitoring and documenting skills, as well as to develop ideas for future policy work,” he added.

The interactive event included sessions on different types of law enforcement equipment, the related medical and human rights risks and international human rights standards on the use of force, as well as sessions on methods of documentation. The event also provided a platform for the development of future policy recommendations for Slovenian authorities.

“It is important that, whenever any new weapon is introduced, it is carefully controlled and monitored – and TASER ™ is not an exception”, said Dr. Abi Dymond, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Exeter. “This can help to ensure accountability and prevent future misuse and abuse of such weapons which may lead to torture or other ill-treatment”.  

The training was based on the ODIHR/PRI Guidance Document on the Nelson Mandela Rules and the Omega Research Foundation’s Practical Guide on Monitoring Weapons and Restraints in Places of Detention