- Published: June 1, 2018
Legal Policy Situation
In contrast to other Arab countries in the region, conditions in Algeria are considered to be stable. The country remained largely untouched by the revolution in neighbouring Tunisia, which is partly due to the continuing collective memory of the bloody civil war from 1991 to 2002. It is now necessary to develop respective prospects for the future and involve civil society at the same time.
The Algerian legal system is essentially based on the French model. Administrative jurisdiction is well developed, but legal recourse is rarely sought. As early as in the year 2000, President Bouteflika set up a commission for the reform of the judiciary, which led to considerable changes in the personnel of the judicial system. Further structural improvements are now required, including the consolidation of the independence of the courts as well as of the judges and the harmonisation of case law. This also represents the foundation for strengthening the citizens’ confidence in the judiciary.
There is also a respective need for counselling in the area of the penitentiary system in order to advance reforms for instance in the area of prison conditions in accordance with human rights law, in the development of cooperation with non-governmental organisations as well as in the rehabilitation of and care for inmates. There are already initiatives in place to develop educational and training programmes for prisoners and to provide psychological and social care for the inmates. Furthermore, the penitentiary authorities can receive additional valuable support from other governmental and official players, such as the Ministry of Education, Labour and Health, but also from civil society organisations.
The above-mentioned topics are also of great interest to Germany. Cooperation between the IRZ and Algerian partners would be a win-win situation for either side. In the medium term, the project aims to facilitate and accelerate cooperation between German and Algerian authorities.
In addition to cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Algerian penitentiary authority, increased support is to be provided for civil society organisations, thus expanding the cooperation already under way – depending on the political situation and development.
Foci of Activity 2017
Administration of justice
In the spring of 2017, talks were held in Algiers with the Algerian Ministry of Justice to determine the need for legal advice in the field of administration of justice. It has turned out that there is a great interest in imparting German expertise in the field. A few months later, the IRZ was already able to welcome ten Algerian guests on a delegation trip to Berlin.
The participants attended meetings at the German Judicial Academy, the German Association of Judges, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the District Court of Tiergarten and were given a first insight into the topic of “Training and further training opportunities for judges in Germany”.
Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law
In the area of criminal law and penitentiary law, a Reform Commission was founded with the support and guidance of German experts to develop proposals and strategies for implementing reforms in the Algerian prison system. In addition, a study trip took place for the director and other representatives of the Algerian penitentiary authority. During this trip, the participants were able to gain a first insight into the situation and working methods of the Berlin penitentiary system.
In addition to developing cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the penitentiary authority, the IRZ plans to expand its cooperation with civil society organisations on issues relevant to human rights.