Seminar on “Professional, vocational and artistic training for prisoners” in Rabat

IRZ Head of Section Mohamed Montasser Abidi; Ambassador Dr. Götz Schmidt-Bremme; Secretary General Younes Jabrane and Hassan Hmina, DGAPR (from left to right)
IRZ Head of Section Mohamed Montasser Abidi; Ambassador Dr. Götz Schmidt-Bremme; Secretary General Younes Jabrane and Hassan Hmina, DGAPR (from left to right)

On 10 and 11 May 2018, the IRZ together with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) organised a seminar on “Professional, vocational and artistic training for prisoners” in Rabat, Morocco. The event took place as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which the IRZ is coordinating between 2017 and 2019. This project is being financed by the German Foreign Office as part of the Transformation partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East.

The seminar was aimed at teaching participants about the potential for training prisoners to ensure their successful reintegration. As a first step, the mechanisms for establishing further training requirements, such as classifying and diagnosing prisoners, were introduced. The seminar continued with a look at training opportunities, the work situation itself and qualifications for prisoners. The participants also learned about local circumstances as far as training is concerned, partnerships with the private sector and the involvement of external parties, for example for the recognition of qualifications.

The event was opened by the Secretary General of the DGAPR, Younes Jabrane, and the German Ambassador in Morocco, Dr. Götz Schmidt-Bremme. The German experts taking part on behalf of the IRZ were Katja Adolph, Head of Employment and Qualification at the Berlin young offenders’ institution, and Mirjam Drechsel, Head of Employment and Qualification at the women’s penal institution in Berlin. The German Foreign Office was represented by the Ambassador, as well as by Antje Gade, Head of the Legal and Consulate department at the German Embassy.

The Moroccan government has been reacting to the challenges facing the prison system for several years now and has carried out some serious reforms in this area. Since the establishment of the first training companies five years ago, 56 training companies have now been set up and others are in the planning stage. The number of prisoners benefiting from training has increased from 5,000 to 9,000 in that time.

The participants showed a great deal of interest in the seminar, which was reflected in the large number of questions and feedback on the situation in Morocco. The project will be continued with a study visit to Berlin on the same subject in June 2018.

Conference on cooperation between the justice system and legal and forensic medicine in Marrakesh

Participants in the conference in Marrakesh
Participants in the conference in Marrakesh

On 18 and 19 April 2018, the IRZ and the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office organised a conference in Marrakesh on “Discovery of a corpse – cooperation between the justice system and legal and forensic medicine”. This took place as part of the project “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco in the field of legal and forensic medicine, with particular consideration paid to the concerns of the Moroccan justice system” project, which the IRZ is coordinating between 2017 and 2019 as part of the project financed by the German Foreign Office (Transformation partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East).

The objective of the conference was to point out to the attending judges and public prosecutors the importance of a trusting working relationship between public prosecutors, forensic scientists and the police. A practical example of the discovery of a corpse was used to discuss the crucial roles played by all three parties involved in the criminal investigation.

On the first day, the participants were given an introduction to the work carried out by forensic scientists and a homicide division in Germany. Afterwards, the role played by the public prosecutor’s office in criminal investigations in Germany was explained. The participants were particularly surprised to learn that public prosecutors in Germany are also present at the crime scene.

On the second day, the conference looked in more detail at the authorities that are responsible for recording specific information and evidence at the crime scene and how this information is exploited in forensic reports. Detailed explanations were provided of the mistakes to be avoided when securing evidence and establishing forensic reports to ensure that reports can be used in court. This led to a discussion of the difficulties legal and medical experts may have in understanding one another, which can lead to forensic reports being unusable in court.

The participants showed a great deal of interest in the subject and asked many specific questions. It became apparent that the cooperation between public prosecutors, forensic scientists and the police is quite different in Morocco and so the discussions were particularly fruitful on this subject. Because of this very positive response, the IRZ is planning two further seminars on the same subject this year.

The subject of legal and forensic medicine is playing an increasingly important role in Morocco, since the involvement of well-trained forensic scientists in criminal investigations has been recognised and changes are desired. This is reflected in the fact that even the Agence Marocaine de Presse (MAP) [LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zNHDQSKBN]has reported on this event.

The following experts were appointed by the IRZ to take part:

  • Dr. Lars Oesterhelweg, Deputy Director of the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine at Charité Berlin,
  • Senior Public Prosecutor Ralph Knispel, Head of the Capital Offences Department at the Public Prosecutor's Office in Berlin and President of the Berliner Staatsanwälte e.V. (Berlin association of public prosecutors),
  • Detective Chief Inspector Christof Lehmkühler, State Office of Criminal Investigation in Berlin, and
  • Souidi El Hassan, Deputy Judge at the Court of Appeal in Marrakesh.

The project activities are set to continue in June 2018 with a study visit by a Moroccan delegation to Berlin.

Seminar on “The humane treatment of prisoners” in Rabat

Jürgen Böttcher, Prison Director at the JVA des Offenen Vollzuges (open prison) in Berlin; Michael Weise, Head of General Law Enforcement at the JVA Tegel prison; Antje Gade, Head of the Legal and Consulate department at the German Embassy; Ellen Hahne, IRZ; Abderrahim Rahouti, Director of the Training Centre at the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) (from left to right)
Jürgen Böttcher, Prison Director at the JVA des Offenen Vollzuges (open prison) in Berlin; Michael Weise, Head of General Law Enforcement at the JVA Tegel prison; Antje Gade, Head of the Legal and Consulate department at the German Embassy; Ellen Hahne, IRZ; Abderrahim Rahouti, Director of the Training Centre at the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) (from left to right)

On 17 and 18 April 2018, the IRZ together with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) organised a seminar on “The humane treatment of prisoners” in Rabat, Morocco. The event took place as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project. This project, which is financed by the German Foreign Office as part of the Transformation partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East, is coordinated by the IRZ between 2017 and 2019.

The seminar was aimed at training participants in the implementation of human rights standards, as well as discussing the further training of staff in this area as a basis for the success of integration and social reintegration strategies. As well as the humane treatment of prisoners, aspects such as accommodation fit for human habitation and the granting of outside contact were also discussed.

The German experts taking part on behalf of the IRZ were Michael Weise, Head of General Law Enforcement at the JVA Tegel prison, and Jürgen Böttcher, Deputy Prison Director at the JVA des Offenen Vollzuges (open prison) in Berlin. The German Foreign Office was represented by Antje Gade, Head of the Legal and Consulate department at the German Embassy.

In Morocco, the authorities have been reacting to the challenges facing the prison system for several years and have carried out some serious reforms. The main problem continues to be overcrowding in prisons. The objective is to guarantee the humane treatment of prisoners by staff even under these circumstances.

The participants showed a great deal of interest in the discussions, which was reflected in the large number of questions and feedback on the situation in Morocco. The project will be continued with another seminar on a further aspect of the subject to be held in Rabat in May 2018.