- Published: July 10, 2019
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.
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
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.