Jordan - annual report 2019

Participants of the seminar “Train the trainer: Teaching methodical-didactic knowledge“ in Amman
Participants of the seminar “Train the trainer: Teaching methodical-didactic knowledge“ in Amman

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has a central function in shaping the security situation in the region. Its geostrategic position and its role in conflict resolution make Jordan an important cooperation partner for many international actors. In the wake of the Arab Spring, the country initiated judicial reforms and made constitutional amendments. Nevertheless, Jordan continues to face challenges on the domestic front. Besides the ramifications of the Syrian war, the current economic crisis is weakening the country. This is why the voices calling for stabilisation of the economic and social situation are becoming louder throughout society, putting pressure on Jordanian rule of law and related political reforms.

According to the Jordanian Ministry of Justice, the economic problems and the occasionally fraught situation in the country‘s refugee camps have led to an increase in criminal proceedings, which exceeds the capacity of the Jordanian judicial institutions. The Jordanian government is aware of the urgency of judicial reform to preserve the rule of law in this difficult starting situation. Reform of the judicial sector is therefore assigned priority status. For instance, the standing of the Constitutional Court in Jordan improved over the past year. Despite initial wrangling over competencies with the established Court of Cassation, it was able to establish its constitutional position and underpin its status with landmark decisions. In this context, the Constitutional Court ruled on 1 August 2019 that it is unconstitutional for a minister to be active in the private sector during his or her term in office. Immediately after the ruling, Prime Minister Al-Razzaz convened a ministerial committee to examine the consequences of the decision for the cabinet, which led to a cabinet reshuffle in November 2019. This decision is symbolic for the country on its way to embracing the rule of law and its practical implementation of the separation of powers.

Overall Concept

Since the start of project work in Jordan in 2006, IRZ has been supporting various institutions within the Jordanian judiciary by providing basic and further training, as well as advisory measures. The Constitutional Court is an important partner. Even after more than six years since starting work, it requires support in the form of exchange of experience in order to ensure a holistic appreciation of its particular position within the judicial system and its significance for the rule of law.

With a project financed by the Federal Foreign Office, IRZ supported the Constitutional Court from 2017 to 2019 in establishing itself and improving cooperation with the lower judicial authorities. The success of this project can also be seen in the first landmark decisions of the Constitutional Court.

The Court of Cassation also has need for counselling. A lack of uniform case-law still persists, which at times leads to an absence of legal certainty.

Workshops and expert talks are held with the General Prosecutor‘s Office in Amman as part of the project work, which now focus more strongly on the area of criminal law in Jordan. IRZ is also building on its cooperation with Judicial Institute of Jordan to support basic and further training of the judiciary.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional conference in Amman on “Constitutional court jurisdiction: Powers and instruments to protect basic rights“

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Regional conference in Amman on “Courts of Cassation and their contribution to the harmonisation of case law, with particula reference to the implementation of international guidelines“

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Exchange of experience in Amman on the fight against organised crime
  • Symposium in Berlin on the practicalities of international legal cooperation in criminal matters, including participants from the Ministries of Justice and Public Prosecutors‘ Offices in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia

Basic and Further Training

  • Seminars in Amman on “Train the trainer: Teaching methodicaldidactic knowledge“

Outlook

IRZ is continuing its successful cooperation with the project partners, the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation and the Judicial Institute. An application for a follow-up project funded under the Transformation Partnership run by the Federal Foreign Office has already been submitted. Within this framework, IRZ intends to intensify its advice to the penitentiary authority, the General Prosecutor‘s Office and the Ministry of Justice. There are plans to extend cooperation with Jordan in 2020 to include women‘s rights as well.

Jordan - annual report 2018

Study trip by a delegation of judges from the Jordanian Constitutional Court and Court of Cassation to Karlsruhe: Judge at the Federal Constitutional Court Prof. Gabriele Britz (3rd from the left), Judge at the Federal Constitutional Court (retired) Prof. Michael Eichberger (centre), Mansour Hadidi, Vice President of the Jordanian Constitutional Court (to the right)
Study trip by a delegation of judges from the Jordanian Constitutional Court and Court of Cassation to Karlsruhe: Judge at the Federal Constitutional Court Prof. Gabriele Britz (3rd from the left), Judge at the Federal Constitutional Court (retired) Prof. Michael Eichberger (centre), Mansour Hadidi, Vice President of the Jordanian Constitutional Court (to the right)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has a particular status in the Middle East region. The head of state, Abdullah II of Jordan, is highly respected as a guarantor of stability and in the role of mediator in conflicts, not only in the Arab world. The kingdom earned international approval for its response to the 2011 protests in particular. A number of reforms and constitutional amendments were initiated as a result of these events. They included the establishment of a Constitutional Court, which started work in 2012.

Despite these clear reform efforts, the kingdom is still facing enormous economic challenges. The influx of refugees, the collapse of traditional sales markets in Syria and Iraq and pressure from international donors have exacerbated the already challenging economic environment. An example of this are the cuts in subsidies for basic food that took effect in spring 2018, as well as the submission of a proposal to parliament for an increase in income tax to ease the strain on the public coffers. In May 2018, the government plans led to the most widespread protests since 2011 and eventually precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Al-Mulki. In office since June 2018, his successor Omar Al-Razzaz has announced further reform efforts, especially in the area of rule of law and policy to combat corruption. A cabinet reshuffle took place in October 2018, during which Bassam Toulhani was appointed the new Minister of Justice. He had already held this office from 2013 to 2016.

Overall Concept

Since the start of project work in Jordan in 2006, the IRZ has been supporting various institutions within the Jordanian judiciary by providing basic and further training, as well as advisory measures.

The Constitutional Court is an important partner. Even after more than six years since starting work, it requires support in the form of exchange of experience in order to ensure a holistic appreciation of the Court‘s particular position within the judicial system and its significance for the rule of law. This applies especially to the relationship between the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, as well as the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts in general. The Court of Cassation also has need for counselling. Although the court is fully operational and accepted, there is a lack of consistent case-law, which leads to deficits in respect of legal certainty.

The IRZ provides assistance in several areas of the penitentiary system. In particular, the IRZ has provided counselling in the field of resocialisation of inmates, beginning with the preparation of penitentiary plans to basic and further training opportunities during detention, re-integration measures after release from prison and cooperation with civil society.

Workshops and expert talks are held with the General Prosecutor‘s Office in Amman as part of the project work, which now focus more strongly on the area of criminal law in Jordan. In this regard, there is a special need for counselling, especially in the field of fighting organised crime and in particular on methods and strategies, as well as on the creation of synergies between stakeholders and the formation of a broad network at national and international level.

The work of the IRZ continues to be supported not only by grants from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, but also by project support from the Federal Foreign Office. From 2014 to 2016, the IRZ already implemented a project for promoting the rule of law in Jordan as part of the transformation partnership for North Africa and the Middle East. The current project that began in late 2017 to provide further training for judiciary staff as a stabilising element in the rule of law in Jordan will continue until 2019.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Study trip by a delegation of judges from the Jordanian Constitutional Court and Court of Cassation to Karlsruhe and Strasbourg on the topics of: “The position of the Constitutional Court within general jurisdiction“ and “Interaction between the Court of Cassation with the lower courts“

Administration of Justice

  • Colloquium in Amman on the topic “Training of trainers: soft skills in judicial practice, prioritising the establishment of facts before court“ in Amman

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Seminar on the topic “Fighting organised crime“ in Amman
  • Seminar on the topics “Preparing for resocialisation: classification of inmates and rehabilitation plan for prisoners“, as well as “Inclusion of external stakeholders (from government and civil society) within the resocialisation process“ in Amman
  • Study trip to Berlin on the topic “Classification, penitentiary plan and inclusion of external stakeholders for the successful resocialisation of released prisoners“
  • Exchange of experience in Amman on legal cooperation at international level and on mutual assistance procedures in the area of criminal law
  • Expert talks in Amman on international legal assistance in criminal matters based on international and bilateral treaties

Outlook

Cooperation with the Jordanian partners will proceed within the framework of the institutional subsidy from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, as well as with funding from the Federal Foreign Office. As part of the project funded by the Federal Foreign Office within the context of the transformation partnership in particular, strong support and counselling will continue to be provided to the project partners Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation and the Judicial Academy during the first quarter of 2019. A suitable follow-up application is currently being prepared and should contain more profound measures in cooperation with the law enforcement authorities, the General Prosecutor‘s Office and the Ministry of Justice. Priorities within this cooperation will be fighting organised crime, policy to combat corruption, the implementation of international standards within the penitentiary system, as well as international legal assistance in criminal matters.

Jordan - annual report 2017

Study trip to Berlin on the topic of “Basic and further training of inmates in the prison system”: Among others, Ahmed Al Kafaween, Head of the Jordanian law enforcement authorities; Colonel Ahed Al Sharaydeh, Head of the Further Education and Training Academy of the Jordanian penal system; Anke Stein, Head of the Moabit prison facility
Study trip to Berlin on the topic of “Basic and further training of inmates in the prison system”: Among others, Ahmed Al Kafaween, Head of the Jordanian law enforcement authorities; Colonel Ahed Al Sharaydeh, Head of the Further Education and Training Academy of the Jordanian penal system; Anke Stein, Head of the Moabit prison facility

Legal Policy Situation

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan continues to enjoy relative political and economic stability in the Middle East region and is involved in peace initiatives for the region in a committed and constructive manner. Jordan’s role as a mediator is of great importance in view of its proximity to Syria, Iraq and above all Israel and the Palestinian territories, especially given that a large part of the population is of Palestinian origin. Jordan enjoys a high reputation among its neighbours and is regarded as a trusted mediator in political conflicts. This applies both to the Arab-Israeli situation of tension as well as to conflicts between Arab countries, as has recently been shown in the crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

However, the country continues to face immense political, economic and social challenges. The consequences of the war in neighbouring Syria and Iraq are particularly damaging. Jordan is considered to be the preferred refuge for people threatened by war. Meanwhile, more than one million refugees have found protection in Jordan. There is also a growing risk of terrorism. The social and economic pressure is enormous. The latter is aggravated even more by the interruption of economic relations with trading partners in the region (e. g. Iraq and Egypt). Against this backdrop, Jordanian public opinion is increasingly focusing on security considerations as opposed to the granting of civil liberties. The results of the parliamentary elections held in September 2016, which were organised under the new proportional representation system and were described by a majority of international observers as transparent, despite the low voter turnout, give rise to hopes of a perpetuation of the reform process that has already begun in order to be able to continue work on strengthening the principles of the rule of law. The rule of law is to be regarded as one of several factors in reducing the causes of flight and migration throughout the region and therefore deserves special attention.

Overall Concept

Since the start of project work in Jordan in 2006, the IRZ has been supporting various Jordanian judicial institutions with training and further education measures for legal practitioners. It also promotes mutual professional exchange through bilateral and multilateral expert discussions. The IRZ already maintains a proven and successful long-term cooperation with the Jordanian Constitutional Court, the penitentiary authority and the Judicial Academy, which is to be continued. In the year under review, the IRZ was able to win over the Jordanian Court of Cassation and the Amman Public Prosecutor’s Office as new project partners, which will be part of the cooperation from now on.

Even more than four years after starting work, the Constitutional Court still needs support in the form of an exchange of experience in order to fully grasp the special position of the court in the judiciary and its significance for the rule of law. This concerns the relationship between the Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation above all but also the ordinary courts in general. The role of the Constitutional Court in Jordan’s judicial system – in particular its distinction from ordinary judiciary – has still not been consolidated. The Court of Cassation also requires further consultation. The Supreme Court is fully operational and accepted, but there is a lack of uniform case-law, so that in most cases there is no legal certainty. This is due to the fact that, in similar cases, the various chambers of the court of first instance come to completely contradictory decisions in some events, because the interaction of the lower courts with the Supreme Court is not efficient.

The IRZ provides support in several fields of work in the area of the penitentiary system. This extends on the one hand to professional and specialised training courses for the staff (e. g. psychological training for the daily handling and care of prisoners). In addition, there is a need for counselling in the field of the social rehabilitation of prisoners, from drawing up penitentiary plans to basic and further training opportunities during detention to re-integration measures after the release from prison and cooperation with civil society.

Workshops and expert talks are to be held with the Amman Public Prosecutor General’s Office in order to focus more strongly on the criminal law field as part of the project work in Jordan. In this area, there is an increased need for consultation particularly in the field of combating organised crime, especially on respective methods and strategies, as well as the creation of synergies between players and the formation of a broad network at national and international level.

The work of the IRZ continues to be supported not only by grants from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection but also by project funding from the Federal Foreign Office. From 2014 to 2016, the IRZ already implemented a project to promote the rule of law in Jordan as part of the transformation partnership for North Africa and the Middle East. The IRZ is continuing the work begun there in the period 2017 to 2019 with a follow-up project on the topic of judicial further training as a stabilising element of the rule of law.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional Conference “The Position of the Constitutional Court within the Judiciary” in Amman (multilateral exchange of experience with members of the Federal Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court of the Kingdom of Morocco and experts in constitutional law from Tunisia)

Administration of Justice

  • “Train-the-Trainer” seminar “Methodology and didactics for seminars in the judicial field” in Amman

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Study trip to Berlin on the subject of “Organisation and tasks of the General Prosecutor’s Offices in Germany and international legal cooperation in criminal matters”.
  • Study trip to Berlin on the subject of “Vocational training and continuing education for prisoners in detention.”
  • Workshop in Amman on “Prison conditions according to international standards and vocational basic and further training of prisoners in detention” in Amman

Outlook

Cooperation with the above mentioned project partners – the Constitutional Court, the Judicial Academy, the Cassation Court, the penitentiary authority and the Amman General Prosecutor’s Office – will be continued in the coming year as part of the afore mentioned project on the transformation partnership for North Africa and the Middle East as well as in the area of institutional funding. The training and further education measures for professional practice should not only address the individual legal practitioners but should also increasingly involve the multipliers (“Train-the-Trainer”) working in the respective area.