Conclusion of the Pilot Project for Penal Institutions in Armenia

Artak Haratyunyan, First Deputy Director of the Penitentiary Service at the Ministry of Justice; IRZ expert Thomas Müller; Arpine Sarsgyan, Head of Department of Prison Policy at the Ministry of Justice; IRZ expert Heinz Brüche; Nelly Tumasyan, IRZ project coordinator in Armenia (from right to left)
Artak Haratyunyan, First Deputy Director of the Penitentiary Service at the Ministry of Justice; IRZ expert Thomas Müller; Arpine Sarsgyan, Head of Department of Prison Policy at the Ministry of Justice; IRZ expert Heinz Brüche; Nelly Tumasyan, IRZ project coordinator in Armenia (from right to left)
Armenia

On 5 March 2020, a closing conference was held in Yerevan to mark the end of the pilot project for penal institutions, which began in 2016. The IRZ was commissioned to lead the project by the Penitentiary Service at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia. Under the title “Practical issues in prisons: the development of customised concepts to deal with the most urgent issues at four prisons in Armenia”, the project included workshops, expert talks and advice on the introduction of modern sentence planning and treatment methods at prisons in Armavir, Abovyan, Artik and Sevan. Around forty employees from the four prisons took part in the conference, as well as:

  • Artak Haratyunyan, First Deputy Director of the Penitentiary Service at the Ministry of Justice,
  • Gohar Simonyan, Head of the Department for the Prevention of Mistreatment and Torture at the Ombudsman’s office, and
  • Gayane Hovakimyan, Deputy Director of the Centre for the Implementation of Legal Education and Rehabilitation Programmes (SNCO).

The conference was opened by the Head of Department for Prison Policy at the Armenian Ministry of Justice, Arpine Sarsgyan, and Amalia Wuckert from the IRZ. Afterwards, Ruben Darbinyan, Chief of Staff at the Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice, outlined the current situation in Armenian prisons.

The IRZ experts Thomas Müller, a senior government official and Director of the Karlsruhe prison, and Heinz Brüche, Head of Training for law enforcement services in Baden-Württemberg, presented the overall project and reported on the work carried out within the project. Afterwards, the representatives of the various working groups presented the work carried out during the workshops and the results for the relevant prisons.

The following issues were discussed:

  • How has the prison actually benefited from the project?
  • Which measures have been introduced in the prison as a result of the project?
  • Which measures are planned for further impementation?
  • Which other measures would be important for achieving the objectives set by European targets?
  • What are the requirements in terms of personnel and resources for implementing these measures in the prison?
  • What other requirements need to be considered, with a view to future cooperation with European partners?

During their speeches and contributions to discussions, all the participants stressed the considerable importance of the project for Armenia. The Armenians expressed the wish for more in-depth training for psychologists and social workers at the prisons on the implementation and application of standardised diagnosis procedures and treatment methods. It was also suggested that the same project be carried out as basic training at four other prisons.

Background of the pilot project

During expert discussions held in Yerevan in July 2016 to establish the cooperation between the German and Armenian prison authorities, plans were drawn up for a major project to cover four selected prisons. These discussions were attended by the IRZ Head of Section and a German expert, as well as the Head of the Penitentiary Service at the Armenian Ministry of Justice, the Head of the Ombudsman’s office and the Directors of the two prisons in Armavir and Abovyan.

Within the framework of this project, several workshops took place at the four selected prisons – Armavir, Abovyan, Artik and Sevan. Those involved in the project at these prisons also held expert talks, took advice on weak areas and developed joint strategies.

The main topics addressed during the workshops were:

  • rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners
  • risk management and evaluation methods
  • support and therapy options available in penal institutions.
  • reorganisation of quarantine stations in intake divisions to include diagnosis of criminogenic factors and establish sentence planning
  • introduction of treatment measures to improve criminal prognosis
  • management structures in prisons and delegation of responsibility
  • creation of work and leisure opportunities for prisoners
The German experts Thomas Müller and Heinz Brüche were appointed by the IRZ to lead the workshops, during which prison staff from the prisons concerned worked on suggestions for improving the prisons, which were complemented by the experts’ recommendations.

Closing Conference for the “@MediaSocieties – Armenia 2019” Project

Frank Hupfeld, Head of Section at the IRZ, during his welcome speech to open the conference
Frank Hupfeld, Head of Section at the IRZ, during his welcome speech to open the conference
Armenia

On 9 December 2019, a conference was held in Yerevan to mark the end of the “@MediaSocieties – Armenia 2019” project. Those participating in the event presented and discussed the results of the project, which was financed by the German Foreign Office as part of the “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia”. The conference programme was completed by expert lectures on current topics.

Once the responsible IRZ Head of Section, Frank Hupfeld, had welcomed the participants to the conference, Jakob Ziegler from the press office at the German Embassy and Boris Navasardyan, President of the Yerevan Press Club (YPC), also gave welcome speeches. Thomas Wierny, who had supported the entire project as a consultant and expert in media and press law, moderated the conference and presented the project from the original idea to completion.

The following experts gave lectures and were then available to answer any questions and take part in discussions:

  • Ara Ghazaryan, a lawyer at Arniconsult: Latest Developments in Media Policy in Armenia
  • Tobias Brings-Wiesen, Institute of Media Law and Communications Law at the University of Cologne: Activities of social Networks to avoid Regulation
  • Boris Navasardyan, YPC President: The Fight against “Hate Speech” and the corresponding Armenian Draft Legislation
  • Nouneh Sarkissian, Media Initiatives Centre NGO: The Results of workshop I on “Online Media – Good Online Governance”
  • Christoph Bößmann, Consultant in Copyright Law and Licensing Rights: Analysis of the position paper developed during workshop I
  • Aghavni Harutyunyan, Editor-in-Chief of www.Globnews.am: The results of workshop II on “Transparency of the media”
  • Jan Christopher Kalbhenn, LL.M., Managing Director of the Institute of Information, Telecommunications and Media law: Analysis of the position paper developed during workshop II

Around 35 Armenian and German experts from various sections of the media and media regulation took part in the closing conference. The entire project was met with a great deal of interest and the Armenian participants repeatedly stressed the importance of such events for Armenia.

Background information on the project

The objective of the “@MediaSocieties – Armenia 2019” project was to encourage the freedom and diversity of the media and the pluralism of opinions in Armenia and to support the journalism profession. The project was financed by the German Foreign Office to support “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia” and was aimed at media representatives and those involved in the media market, as well as the relevant academic groups in Armenia.

Target groups:

  • Radio and press representatives
  • Bloggers
  • Online editors
  • Legal experts from the academic and business worlds

The IRZ’s partner organisation in Armenia was the Yerevan Press Club. The YPC stands for free, independent and qualified media. The aim is to further develop democracy and civil society in Armenia. The project was prepared and supported by Thomas Wierny, a consultant and expert in the field of media and press law.

The project was scheduled to run from May to December 2019. To begin with, a fact-finding mission took place in Armenia to plan and prepare ahead of the project. This was followed by the opening conference held in Yerevan in July. During several consecutive workshops, experts from Armenia and Germany worked on the topics “Online Media – good online Governance” and “Transparency of the Media” in a cooperative atmosphere. The results of these workshops were summarised in position papers. These reflect the current status of discussions and show the direction the participants think new regulations should take. The position papers are being published and made available to a wider audience (download position paper).

Gefördert durch:
Auswärtiges Amt

Study trip to Berlin probation services

The Armenian delegation with Prof. Dr. Heinz Cornel (3rd from right) and Wolfgang Eichstädter (centre) from Alice-Salomon-Hochschule Berlin
The Armenian delegation with Prof. Dr. Heinz Cornel (3rd from right) and Wolfgang Eichstädter (centre) from Alice-Salomon-Hochschule Berlin
Armenia

From 15 to 18 October 2019, the IRZ organised a study trip to Berlin for nine Armenian probation experts from the Ministry of Justice, the public probation service and the Centre for the Implementation of legal Education and Rehabilitation Programmes. Building on a workshop on the Armenian probation system in Yerevan held in May, the aim of this study trip was to give the experts an insight into the German probation system.

A varied programme was put together for this event which had been discussed in May with the Armenian authorities. The Armenian delegation was accompanied by the German experts Wolfgang Eichstädter, former head of the probation and court assistance service and lecturer at Alice-Salomon-Hochschule Berlin, and Prof. Dr. Heinz Cornel, also from Alice-Salomon-Hochschule and former president of the DBH Fachverband für Soziale Arbeit, Strafrecht und Kriminalpolitik e.V. (professional organisation for social work, criminal law and crime policy) throughout their stay in Berlin. Visits to the following institutions were on the agenda:

  • Juvenile detention facility in Berlin: Guided tour and talks with the Head of the Juvenile Detention Service and Judge at the Local Court Jörg Pervelz;
  • Social services of the justice system of Berlin: Presentation of four working areas by Ms. Kekeisen, who is in charge of the control service and HR;
  • Tegel penal institution: Guided tour of different sections and discussions with the social service;
  • Straffälligen- und Bewährungshilfe e.V. Berlin e.V.: (an organisation providing assistance for ex-offenders): Presentation and in-depth discussions covering the importance and function of community service under the law of criminal procedure;
  • Alice-Salomon-Hochschule Berlin: Reception by Chancellor Andreas Flegl and discussions about opportunities for further training and future cooperation.

These visits were reflected on in afternoon workshops at the IRZ in Berlin and were complemented by further topics. The participants discussed, for example, reporting and report structures, the different formats of case conferences among colleagues and client-centred communication skills in lectures, presentations and exercises.

Given the great demand for further training and cooperation in Armenia, the IRZ is planning to continue its support for Armenian institutions in implementing their probation service.