Published: January 30th, 2023

From 23 to 25 January, representatives from relevant institutions when comes to work on repatriation, reintegration, and rehabilitation of returnees from foreign battlefields attended the second training within the project “DRIVE“. The institutions represented were ministries of interior and other police agencies, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labour, the academic community, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, centres of social work – from different cantons.

The aim of this training was to share experiences, focusing on BiH context, hence, having guest speakers that are frontline practitioners when it comes to work with returnees from foreign battlefields.

General Secretary of the Centre for Security Studies, Benjamin Plevljak, opened the training by introducing the DRIVE project. Following this, the first part was a panel discussion with Samir Ahmić, Senior Inspector at the Ministry of Interior of Zenica-Doboj Canton, who concluded the first day by sharing his experience working with returnees to BiH from battlefields and presented the structure and work of the institution he represented. Mr. Ahmić mentioned how such work, as one with returnees on their reintegration and rehabilitation, is quite challenging due to many factors, but what is crucial is good cooperation and communication between key stakeholders, in order to achieve greater success in these processes.

The second day started with Dr. Juncal Fernanzed-Garayzabal, program manager at Counter Extremist Project, presenting risk factors and indicators to consider when conducting risk assessments. Dr. Juncal introduced the overall ideal model of networks and resources necessary for successful reintegration. She also shared her experience in the United States in the new network/program called 4R (radicalization, reintegration, rehabilitation, and recidivism). Further, Dr. Juncal brought closer the foreign experience and good practices through case studies from her own experience.

On the third and final day, Ms. Melisa Hasanović, manager of the Social Protection Service at the Municipality of Hadžići, shared her experience working with women and children returnees from foreign battlefields and recognized the main challenges and good practices. Ms. Hasanović, same as Mr. Ahmić, highlighted the essence of good and firm cooperation and communication through this inter-institutional work.

The training ended with the presentation of our guest speaker Mr. Armin Kržalić, professor at the Faculty of Criminal Justice, Criminology and Security Studies at Sarajevo University, who has experience in scientific research regarding returnees and other members of their local communities. Mr. Kržalić emphasized the need for a tailor-made approach toward the complex issue of reintegration and rehabilitation of returnees from foreign battlefields.

During the training days, the participants participated in the discussion actively. Sharing local context and experiences helped the participants to be more open to discussion about their respective professional backgrounds when relevant.