Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 25 May 2021, IRZ organised an online seminar on asset recovery in cooperation with the Algerian Ministry of Justice for participants from all over the country. There were some high-ranking participants on the Algerian side from the central government, the Public Prosecutor General's Office, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, as well as judges in the field of economic crimes from numerous judicial districts in Algeria.

The following experts attended the event on behalf of IRZ:

  • Georg Schäfer, Head of Division II B 7 "International criminal law and cooperation in extradition and enforcement" at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV)
  • Dr Urs Wäckerlin, a desk officer from Division II B 7 of the BMJV
  • Natalia Spitz, a desk officer from Division III 1 "Extradition, enforcement and legal assistance" at the German Federal Office of Justice

The following experts participated from the Algerian side:

  • Mohamed Riadh Boujaleb, Head of the Education and Training Department at the Algerian Ministry of Justice
  • Ragad Abdelrahim, an investigating judge at the Algiers Judicial Centre for Economic and Financial Crimes
  • Afef Bouchlit, a judge at the Regional Directorate of Criminal Justic

Both sides welcomed the continuation of the previous cooperation on this highly topical issue. The seminar focused on the respective legal frameworks and practices of both countries in the field of asset recovery. This mainly covered the formal requirements for requests for legal assistance and the seizure and confiscation of unlawfully obtained assets.

The challenges in international judicial cooperation were also discussed. Georg Schäfer emphasised the good and trusting relations between Germany and Algeria in terms of mutual legal assistance. The importance of cooperation in the field of asset recovery, which between Germany and Algeria is on a non-treaty basis, is steadily growing, which is why the Algerian side emphasised its desire for bilateral and multilateral agreements.

Both sides identified as one of the main obstacles the extended duration of proceedings, which in some cases prevents the assets from being seized in time. High formal and substantive requirements make it difficult to submit requests for mutual legal assistance and require in-depth knowledge of the applicable legal situation in other states.

This exchange of experiences helped to clarify concrete practical questions about procedures, as well as promoting mutual understanding through direct contact between the central authorities of both states. It therefore made a valuable contribution to further cooperation.