OPCAT implementation in Liechtenstein: challenges and opportunities
Implementing the OPCAT in a very small state offers particular opportunities and challenges. The APT discussed these particularities with members of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) of Liechtenstein and representatives of the government of the Principality of Liechtenstein on August 31, 2009, in Vaduz, the capital of this country of 35'000 inhabitants located in the centre of Europe.
The Corrections Commission of the Principality was designated as NPM in 2008 and published its first annual report in January 2009. Conducting regular visits to all places of deprivation of liberty is a much easier task in a very small state in which only a handful of such places exist, than in large and complex countries. The NPM of Liechtenstein is thus bound by law to conduct at least four unannounced prison visits per year and has done so in 2008, in addition to visits to other places of deprivation of liberty. The discussion also touched upon methodological challenges faced by NPMs in States of this size, including anonymity of information and statistical relevance of data in setting with few inmates and functional independence small communities.