Strategic Framework 

Legal Policy Starting Point 

Facing massive popular protests known as the Hirak movement, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika felt compelled to resign in April 2019 after 20 years in power. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a former member of Bouteflika’s ruling party, emerged victorious from the presidential elections eight months later. Demonstrations demanding reforms of the entire political system continued until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2020, the government published an action plan detailing fundamental reforms, for instance of the judicial system. Its priorities include the creation of equal access to the judiciary for the entire population. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Algerian government imposed a state of emergency in March 2020 with a curfew and a ban on assemblies. The Hirak movement protests then largely subsided.

The constitutional amendment, which was the subject of a referendum in Algeria in early November 2020, is one of the reforms that President Tebboune had already announced after his election. In the run-up to the vote, the Hirak protest movement called for a boycott that was reflected in the low turnout. A majority of voters said yes to the constitutional amendment, which, among other things, limits the term of office of the president or future presidents and members of parliament to two terms. The new constitution should also guarantee further economic and social rights. President Tebboune sees the reforms as a concession to the demands of the protest movement. Critics claim that they do not go far enough.

Overall Concept 

Cooperation between IRZ and its Algerian partners provides important added value for both sides and is intended to facilitate and accelerate the cooperation between German and Algerian institutions in the long term. However, Algeria was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the reporting year, leading to curfews lasting months. The availability of digital media in the country is also poor, which is why barely any events could be held despite a great willingness to cooperate.

Until now, cooperation has mainly prioritised areas of criminal law, the penitentiary system and the administration of justice. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought the issue of digitisation to the forefront in Algeria, so IRZ facilitated an event with an exchange of experience on the topics of e-justice and electronic legal transactions.

Focus of Activity in 2020 

Administration of Justice

  • Participation by the Bar Association of Algeria in the online regional conference “Electronic legal transactions – digitisation of the judiciary” in cooperation with the German Federal Bar
  • Support for the technical library at the Algerian Ministry of Justice


Cooperation with Algeria will be intensified in the hope that the circumstances described above improve in 2021. It will be adapted flexibly to current challenges, also using electronic technology if possible. There are plans to hold the events in 2021 that were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. These include measures to support reforms in criminal procedure law with the aim of shortening prison sentences and strengthening the imposition of alternative sentences. Moreover, cooperation is planned in criminal matters (requests for international mutual legal assistance, investigative and enforcement assistance) on the subject of asset recovery and in the area of the administration of justice. In addition, further cooperation in civil and commercial law is planned, as well as on the topics of penitentiary system and rehabilitation. The aim is to secure in the long term the results from the project “Penitentiary reform in Algeria”, which was completed in 2019 with funding from the Federal Foreign Office.