During the seminar with Brigitte Koppenhöfer (right at the front), former Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Düsseldorf, and Dr. Thomas Matusche (on her left), former President of the Local Court of Hann. Münden, and now President of the Law Students Examination Authority (Justizprüfungsamt) for the Lower Saxony region.
During the seminar with Brigitte Koppenhöfer (right at the front), former Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Düsseldorf, and Dr. Thomas Matusche (on her left), former President of the Local Court of Hann. Münden, and now President of the Law Students Examination Authority (Justizprüfungsamt) for the Lower Saxony region.
Kosovo

On 9 and 10 September 2019 the IRZ, in cooperation with the Kosovo Academy of Justice and UNICEF, organised a two-day seminar on “Protective Measures for Minor Victims and Witnesses of Criminal Offences”. The event enabled an exchange of experiences based on European guidelines and was aimed at making a contribution towards more child-friendliness in the justice system of the Republic of Kosovo. The German speakers at the seminar were:

  • Brigitte Koppenhöfer, former Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Düsseldorf and
  • Dr. Thomas Matusche, former President of the Local Court of Hann. Münden, and now President of the Law Students Examination Authority (Justizprüfungsamt) for the Lower Saxony region.

The event was aimed at practitioners in the field of the Kosovan juvenile criminal law. The first seminar day was attended by judges and public prosecutors who discussed the following topics:

  • Definition of the term “minor victims and witnesses”;
  • European guidelines;
  • a room for witnesses;
  • exclusion of the public and/or the accused;
  • video hearing;
  • information and participation rights and
  • psychosocial victim support

On the second seminar day, probation officers and members of the youth court assistance service exchanged their experiences, focusing on the following topics:

  • Function of the youth court assistance service/probation service in investigation proceedings and court proceedings involving young people;
  • function in the enforcement of judgements;
  • reports on the social settings;
  • cooperation between the probation service, judges and public prosecutors.

The event met with great interest among the participants. It became apparent that a child-friendly justice system is still a topical and relevant issue. On both seminar days, the participants exchanged their experiences with this topic in working groups and engaged in lively discussions on different suggestions for improvement with the IRZ experts. They identified potentials for practical advancements in the jurisdiction with juvenile victims and witnesses and in the probation service.

The participants had a lively exchange of opinions and were able to extend their expertise in protective measures for minor victims and witnesses of criminal offences, thus gaining many new perspectives on the topic.