Introduction to toxicology seminar in Casablanca

Participants in the seminar with the two experts Maximilian Methling and André Niebel (seated, 1st and 2nd from left)
Participants in the seminar with the two experts Maximilian Methling and André Niebel (seated, 1st and 2nd from left)
Morocco

On 7 and 8 November 2018, the IRZ, together with the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office in Agadir, organised a seminar on “An introduction to toxicology”. This took place as part of the “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 Federal Foreign Office (Transformation Partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East).

The objective was to give the attending public prosecutors and forensic scientists an overview of the possibilities for detecting various toxic substances. The speakers at the seminar were Maximilian Methling and André Niebel, both of whom work as researchers in Forensic Toxicology at the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine at the Charité Berlin.

Following an introduction to the legal framework and terms of forensic toxicology, the two German experts talked about the systems used for toxicological examinations. They explained how urine, blood, hair and organs can be used to make statements about the possible cause of death by various substances. With the help of examples from a large number of selected death cases, the participants were able to form a clear picture of the significance of toxicological examinations in forensic medicine.

In Morocco, there are currently only three laboratories – two in Rabat and one in Casablanca – where samples can be examined. This makes the work of forensic scientists much harder, since the samples can deteriorate during transport and long processing times. This made it all the more important to demonstrate during the seminar how samples are taken at the scene and which substances are no longer detectable in the blood after a short amount of time. Hair analysis takes on particular significance in this respect. Maximilian Methling and André Niebel therefore also went into detail on the advantages and disadvantages of hair analysis.

The participants showed a great deal of interest and made the most of the discussions to ask plenty of questions. They were made aware of the fact that effective legal and forensic medicine requires local laboratories to carry out toxicological tests.
Two further seminars are due to take place on this subject in Morocco in 2019.

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

Participants and speakers at the seminar
Participants and speakers at the seminar
Morocco

On 11 and 12 October 2018, the IRZ, in cooperation with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), organised its second seminar on “Professional, vocational and artistic training for prisoners” in Morocco’s capital city, Rabat. The event was held as part of a project supported by the German Federal Foreign Office on “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management”. The IRZ is coordinating this project between 2017 and 2019. The objective of this component is to improve social and psychological care for prisoners, particularly with regard to the acute conflict resolution skills of those working in law enforcement.

Two employees of the Berlin prison system provided the IRZ with expert support in the organisation of the seminar:

  • 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.

As part of the welcoming ceremony, the DGAPR praised the successful cooperation with the IRZ and remarked on a clear improvement in the situation for prisoners. The key objective of the DGAPR’s work is to reduce the relapse rate and ensure the successful reintegration of prisoners.

Several lectures by German and Moroccan speakers addressed the similarities and differences between the training of prisoners in both countries. During the subsequent discussions, a more in-depth and lively exchange took place between the participants.

Amongst the factors identified in Moroccan prisoners as having a high level of influence on the success rate of reintegration, the professional training of prisoners has become a priority. Using established criteria, prisoners are approved for professional training by a selection committee. The training measures available to prisoners in Moroccan prisons include school education, literacy, professional and vocational training and higher education. The DGAPR works with a wide variety of external parties to provide this training.

Whilst prisoners in Morocco can train to become trainers for other prisoners, this is not possible in Germany, since penal institutions are subject to the statutory provisions of the law governing the prison system on providing training for prisoners. The responsibility for the monitoring and organisation of prison management is taken over by social services in Germany. Social workers play a central role here. Following on from the initial case history interview with a social worker, a process of establishing skills is carried out by independent organisations and the results are also included in the enforcement plan. The objective is to provide employment or training corresponding to the needs or skills of the prisoners. German prisons cooperate with a large number of external parties for the professional training of prisoners, including the German Federal Employment Agency, the Chambers of Industry and Commerce, the Chamber of Crafts, various trade guilds and a large number of independent organisations.

Training for Moroccan forensic scientists in Casablanca

During the seminar on “Incorporating and developing a professional code for forensic scientists”
During the seminar on “Incorporating and developing a professional code for forensic scientists”
Morocco

From 9 to 11 October 2018, the IRZ together with the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Moroccan Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine (SMML) organised a seminar on the “Principles of Criminal Law and the Code of Criminal Procedure” and “Incorporating and developing a professional code for forensic scientists”.

The event was part of a three-year project, which the IRZ is leading together with the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The project is supported by the German Foreign Office as part of the Transformation partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East during the period from 2017 to 2019.

The aim of this project is to support independent legal and forensic medicine in Morocco by providing continued training and education for forensic scientists and to improve the cooperation between the justice system and legal and forensic medicine by providing continued training for judges and public prosecutors in legal and forensic medicine.

The three-day seminar was the first of its kind, to which only Moroccan forensic scientists were invited. The first part of the seminar gave the forensic scientists an insight into the provisions of the German Code of Criminal Procedure. The cooperation between the justice system and legal and forensic medicine was addressed here. In concrete terms, explanations were provided of the involvement of legal and forensic medicine in criminal proceedings and how potentially inaccurate reports are handled.

The second part of the event provided an introduction to the work of legal and forensic medicine, with a comparison between Morocco and Germany. The current situation and the various tasks involved in legal and forensic medicine were discussed in detail. Other issues concerning training, liability and insurance were also addressed. The topic of the “Production of reports”, which was discussed using the practical example of “sex crimes”, was of great importance.

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

  • Zakaria Arousi, Head of criminal sanctions and judicial affairs at the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office;
  • Andreas Stüve, Senior Public Prosecutor, Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office;
  • Prof. Dr. Ahmed Belhouss, Director of the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine, Morocco;
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Bohnert, Director of the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine, University of Würzburg;
  • Prof. Dr. Knut Albrecht, Director of the Brandenburg Regional Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine.

It was clear that the topics discussed at this first event of its kind were met with great interest by the participants. They took an active part in discussions and made the most of the opportunity to ask plenty of questions.

A further consolidation event is due to take place at the end of November.