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On 26 and 27 March 2018, the IRZ and the Judicial Institute of Jordan (JIJ) organised a seminar on “Soft skills for practising judges, focussing on questioning techniques”. The seminar took place as part of a Transformation partnership project supported by the German Foreign Office, which began at the end of 2017.
The IRZ has maintained a trusting cooperation with the Judicial Institute of Jordan for more than ten years now. The main focus of the curriculum for this seminar was on teaching methodology and educational content and the JIJ plans to address this topic in more detail during its ongoing cooperation with the IRZ.
The seminar was attended by Jordanian judges and public prosecutors, who have several years’ experience as trainers at educational events held by the Judicial Institute of Jordan. The seminar was led by speakers participating on behalf of the IRZ, Dr. Arnd Weishaupt (a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf) and Uwe Stark (a judge at the local court of Siegen). Both experts are Train the Trainer specialists and are accredited trainers with many years of teaching experience in various IRZ partner countries worldwide.
The following areas of expertise were addressed during the two-day seminar in Amman:
Susceptibility to errors in witness statements,
Limitations of perception skills,
indications of facts in statements,
questioning and interrogation techniques for witnesses and the accused and
the basics of appraising evidence in criminal proceedings.
The event followed an interactive approach throughout. This meant that the seminar was taught using numerous examples, experiments and role plays. All the participants took part with great interest and enthusiasm and so they were all able to make an active contribution to the success of the event.
Subsequent feedback from the participants and from the Judicial Institute of Jordan was also very positive.
From 19 to 21 December 2017, the IRZ and the Jordanian prison authorities organised a workshop on "Prison conditions in accordance with international standards and professional training and education for prison inmates". This took place as part of a transformation partnership project supported by the German Foreign Office, which began at the end of 2017.
The Jordanian participants included the management of the Jordanian prison authorities, the heads of all Jordanian detention facilities and the Director and employees of the training academy for Jordanian penal institutions.
One of the German experts taking part in the event was Susanne Gerlach, Senior Senate Councillor, Head of Department III Law Enforcement, Social Services and Grace at the Berlin Senate for Justice and Consumer Protection. Another German expert in Amman was Martin Riemer, Head of the Tegel penal institution. The event was divided into a workshop including expert lectures and discussions, followed by a professional visit to the Muwaqqar I prison, which is not far from Amman.
On the subject of "Prison conditions in accordance with international human rights standards from the perspective of German and Jordanian practices", the rules applied in the two countries (e.g. European prison regulations, UN Nelson Mandela Rules) and the individual procedures in the prisons of both countries were compared.
There was a widespread lack of understanding amongst the Jordanians of individual accommodation for prison inmates in the German prison system, even if the underlying concept could be understood in principle. Massive overcrowding in Jordanian prisons means that the Jordanian law enforcement system faces a major challenge when it comes to continuing to meet international human rights standards in prisons.
On the range of topics concerning professional training and education for prison inmates, on the other hand, it became clear that the general framework for professional training of prison inmates is totally comparable between German and Jordanian penal institutions. In the Jordanian prison system as well, participating in training and work programmes has a beneficial effect on the rest of the prison sentence (e.g. reduction of prison sentences).
During the visit to the Muwaqqar I prison, one of the five most modern closed prisons for male prisoners in Jordan, subjects of discussion included the process for dealing with Islamic extremists in the Jordanian prison system, as well as the issue of accommodation in accordance with international standards.
In Muwaqqar, a total of more than 300 extremists (all of whom are Jordanian citizens) are imprisoned. They are kept strictly separate from other prisoners in order to prevent any potential radicalisation of fellow prisoners. The Jordanian prison system has also developed a special "behavioural treatment programme" for Islamic prisoners involving contributions from social education workers, experts in religion and Imams.
Welcome of the delegation at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection by Under-Secretary Dirk Mirow, Head of Sub-Department II B Criminal Law (4th from left)
From 11 to 15 December 2017, the IRZ welcomed a delegation of representatives from the Public Prosecutor General's Office of Amman and other Jordanian court districts in Berlin to their first study visit in Germany. This was the first event in a project funded by the German Foreign Office as part of the Transformation Partnership kicked off at the end of 2017.
The expert discussions with the Jordanian guests took place at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the German Association of Judges and dealt with practical issues regarding international legal cooperation and requests for legal assistance in criminal cases covering the different fields and processes in international requests for legal assistance such as
law enforcement assistance,
legal foundations and
competences of the German federal government and the federal states.
In contrast to Germany, where international requests for legal assistance in criminal cases can in most cases be processed on the basis of international treaties and without individual agreements, the applicable Jordanian law on mutual legal assistance provides that e.g. extradition procedures are only possible on the basis of bilateral treaties.
During the expert meeting at the Public Prosecutor General's Office in Berlin details regarding the structure and work of the public prosecutor's offices in Germany were discussed and also questions of public prosecutors' careers and their requirement to observe instructions were covered. While the 24 Public Prosecutor General's Offices in Germany are independent and are not subject to a joint superior authority, the Public Prosecutor General's Office in Jordan, which is located at the Court of Cassation, presides over all Jordanian public prosecutor's offices. Other topics discussed were the role and tasks of the public prosecutor's offices and of the public prosecutors at local courts in criminal proceedings in Germany. The institution of the public prosecutor's office at local courts does not exist in Jordan, but the public prosecutor's office there can transfer specific tasks in proceedings of "minor" criminal offences to the police, including their participation in the trial.
During all expert meetings the Jordanian guests expressed their wish for further exchange with German partners in transnational criminal offences, in particular regarding human trafficking, money laundering and the fight against organised crime.