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On 13 December 2018, a workshop was held in Yerevan with the cooperation of the Armenian Bar Association on the publicity work of bar associations. The event was organised and carried out together with the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK). The workshop was opened by the President of the Armenian Bar Association, Ara Zohrabyan, the IRZ project coordinator in Armenia, Nelly Tumasyan, and BRAK Managing Director and lawyer, Dr. Veronika Horrer.
The Press Officer for the Armenian Bar Association, Hayk Hakobyan, then gave a speech on relations between the Armenian Bar Association and the Armenian media. Afterwards, Stephanie Beyrich, a lawyer and BRAK Managing Director and Press Officer, and Jan Helge Kestel, a lawyer and President of the Thuringian Bar Association and member of the Committee for Press and Publicity Work at BRAK, presented the PR strategy of the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK). The main focus of the workshop was on the following topics:
Comparisons between press work in Germany at a national level (German Federal Bar Association, BRAK) and at a regional level (regional bar associations, RAK);
relations between the BRAK and journalists;
points of reference for press work;
a field report from the points of view of the BRAK Press Officer and a President of a regional bar association;
the tools of successful press work.
Around 45 Armenian lawyers attended the event and took an active part in the discussions.
The workshop was met with such a favourable response that representatives of the Armenian Bar Association expressed the desire to organise the same event for lawyers from the capital and surrounding regions in Yerevan and at two other locations.
How can I make my teaching is as clear and concise as possible? What’s the best way of making sure my target group retains the information? What are the means of making sure that I am fulfilling the actual training requirements? These were just some of the central questions behind the “Training of Trainers” organised by the IRZ on 22 and 23 September in cooperation with the Academy of Justice of the Republic of Armenia in Tsaghkadzor.
The Academy of Justice in Armenia is responsible for training prospective judges and public prosecutors and also puts on advanced training courses for members of the judicial system. Almost all the training courses in the Academy are carried out by lecturers working in the justice system or by members of the universities. Many of these part-time trainers need to acquire basic teaching and communication skills and learn how to make effective use of teaching aids during their lessons.
During the course of the two-day training course, Martin Hussels, a judge and Deputy Director of the local court of Tettnang, outlined his approach to developing a training programme and addressed the issues outlined above step by step. He dealt with a wide range of topics: from theories about the learning styles of adults to practical details on how to prepare for an actual event, such as how to arrange tables to ensure good communication between the participants. Thanks to his many years of experience as a university lecturer, trainer at the German Judicial Academy and not least as an IRZ expert involved in many different projects, he was rapidly able to reach the participants despite the language barrier, leading to lively discussions on these subjects.
Both the representatives of the Academy of Justice and feedback from numerous individuals made it clear that the training provided plenty of practical help and therefore completely fulfilled its objectives.
The forthcoming reform of the law governing the prison system in Armenia involves several changes, which will directly affect staff working in penal institutions. The IRZ has advised the Ministry of Justice in the drafting of the new law, which is due to come into force during the first six months of next year.
The prison system is therefore in great need of advice when it comes to practical arrangements, treatment programmes, management structures, etc. In order to fulfil this requirement, the decision was made to organise workshops in four institutions to develop customised concepts for the subjects of “individual sentence planning”, “management structures” and “work in prisons”. Expert talks and consultations in individual penal institutions should lead to the identification of any weak areas and the development of shared strategies, which could be defined in agreement with the relevant authorities.
From 14 to 16 September 2018, three consecutive events were held in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and the Prison Service of the Republic of Armenia to discuss practical issues in prisons.
As German experts, the organisers were fortunately able to attract senior government official Thomas Müller, prison director at the Karlsruhe penal institution, and Heinz Brüche, who is responsible for education at the Bildungszentrum Justizvollzug Baden-Württemberg (a training centre for prison staff in Germany).
First of all, expert discussions were held with the Ministry of Justice for the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan. The following were the main topics of discussion:
Rehabilitation and reintegration of convicts,
risk management and assessment methods and
support and treatment options available in penal institutions.
Representatives from the following institutions took part in the expert discussions:
Armenian Ministry of Justice,
prison and probation service,
centre for legal training and rehabilitation programmes,
European Council office in Yerevan and
various NGOs, including the Foundation for “Prisoner Aid”, the Office for Human Rights and the Armenian Red Cross.
Afterwards, workshops took place for staff at the prisons in Armavir and Abovyan to cover the following topics:
Introduction to the reorganisation of quarantine cells in prison system planning;
reorganisation of the quarantine cells in prison system planning, including diagnosis, establishment of treatment measures, decisions on security and regime;
introduction of treatment measures to improve criminal prognosis;
development of work and leisure opportunities for prisoners,
management structures in prisons and
delegation of responsibility.
The participants in all three events were very interested and motivated. They asked a lot of questions and took a very active part in group work.
Two other workshops following the same format are due to take place this year at the penal institutions in Sevan and Vartashen.
By the end of this year, participants in the workshops should have developed concepts, taking any local requirements into account, for individual enforcement plans, management structures and work in prisons. These will be discussed and processed in partnership with the two German experts next year at other, more in-depth workshops.