Judges from the Jordanian Constitutional Court and Court of Cassation on a study trip to Strasbourg and Karlsruhe

Jordanian delegation at the Federal Constitutional Court
Jordanian delegation at the Federal Constitutional Court

From 8 to 12 October 2018 the IRZ received a Jordanian delegation in Karlsruhe and Strasbourg to shed light on “The position of the Constitutional Court within the jurisdiction" and "The cooperation between the highest court of appeal and the courts of lower instances“. The delegation was made up of judges from the Jordanian Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation and was led by Mansour Hadidi, Vice-President of the Jordanian Constitutional Court. During their three-day study trip, they visited several courts of different instances.

To begin their visit, the delegation visited the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. There, the participants were received by the ECHR Vice-President, Prof. Angelika Nußberger, who outlined the ECHR’s competences as opposed to those of the courts of the individual Member States of the European Union.

On their second working day, the Jordanian guests visited the Constitutional Court of Baden-Wuerttemberg where they had expert discussions with Court President Dr. Malte Graßhof. During their discussions, the Jordanian participants learnt about the tasks of a Regional Constitutional Court in the Federal Republic of Germany. The information was illustrated using various practical examples which were discussed in depth with the Jordanian colleagues.

The study trip ended on the third day with a visit to the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe. At the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Constitutional Court Judge Prof. Dr. Gabriele Britz and the former Federal Constitutional Court Judge Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger exchanged their views with their Jordanian guests before the latter visited the Federal Court of Justice in the afternoon. The judges at the Federal Court of Justice, Dr. Ralph Bünger (Eighth Civil Panel), and Dr. Louisa Bartel (Second Criminal Panel), explained the structure and competences of the Federal Court of Justice. The visit was rounded off by a tour of the court premises.

The focus in all discussions was on the different competences and tasks of a constitutional court and a court of cassation. Both the German and Jordanian structures were intensely discussed, covering organisational and structural aspects of the different courts and also aspects as regards contents, and relating them to each other. The Jordanian judges gained a comprehensive insight into the German and European jurisdiction during the expert discussions with their German colleagues.

The study trip was organised as part of a judicial training project in Jordan running from 2017 to 2019 which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office.

Seminar in Amman on enforcement plans and the classification of prisoners and the involvement of external parties in the social reintegration process

Participants in the seminar
Participants in the seminar

On 4 and 5 September 2018, the IRZ in cooperation with the Jordanian prison authority organised a seminar on the “Classification of prisoners and enforcement plans” and the “Involvement of external parties representing the state and civil society in the social reintegration process”. This seminar took place as part of a Transformation partnership project on judicial training as a stabilising element of the rule of law in Jordan, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office and coordinated by the IRZ between 2017 and 2019.

The IRZ has maintained a very close and trusting working relationship for several years now with the Correction and Rehabilitation Centres Department at the Jordanian police, which ensured that this seminar took place in the usual pleasant and open working atmosphere. The seminar was opened by the newly appointed Director General of the Jordanian prison authority, Brigadier Ayman Al Awaysheh, who also participated throughout the entire event.

The following German representatives reported on the practices of the Berlin prison system:

  • Johanna Schmid, Department III Law Enforcement at the Berlin Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, and
  • Benjamin Horn, a social worker at the Berlin young offenders’ institution (criminal field: Admissions department - diagnosis).

The representatives from the Jordanian side were:

  • Colonel Ahed Al Sharaydeh, Director of the Training Institute for Jordanian penal institutions and
  • Major Ghazi Al Maaliah, Trainer at the Training Institute.

Over two working days, the participants discussed practical issues from the Jordanian and German point of view, with regard to the classification of prisoners and the development of enforcement and integration plans, as well as the involvement of external parties in the social reintegration process. Particular attention was paid to the question of dealing with religiously radicalised prisoners and preventing radicalisation in prisons, since this is a topic that has become increasingly significant in the German prison system as well.

Participants from the Jordanian prison system included the director of the Jordanian prison authority, the heads of Jordanian detention facilities and the director and employees of the training academy for Jordanian penal institutions. The state agencies involved in the social reintegration process were represented by people from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Parties not representing the government included representatives from the following institutions:

  • the Jordanian National Centre for Human Rights,
  • the national association supporting detention facilities,
  • the cultural association for the follow-up care of released prisoners and
  • the society for occupational training.

The existing cooperation between the Jordanian prison authority and non-governmental parties from civil society in the social reintegration process can definitely be expanded to cover a wider basis. All those involved took part in lively, constructive and open discussions on both days of the seminar, which led to numerous ideas for closer collaboration in future.

Exchange of experiences in Amman on international legal cooperation in the field of criminal law

Experts and participants in the exchange of experiences in Amman
Experts and participants in the exchange of experiences in Amman

On 10 and 11 July 2018, an exchange of experiences on international legal cooperation in the field of criminal law took place within the framework of the institutional funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV). This was organised by the IRZ together with the Jordanian Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Judicial Court of Jordan and the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Amman.

The event was attended on the Jordanian side by some high-ranking participants, including the Secretary General at the Jordanian Ministry of Justice, Ziad Al Dmour, who also gave the opening address on behalf of the Ministry.

As well as the Jordanian Ministry of Justice, the participants also included Jordan’s three Offices of the Public Prosecutors General in Amman, Irbid and Ma’an, as well as the heads of other district prosecutor’s offices. The German experts appointed by the IRZ to take part in the event were Nicolaus Alvino, a local court judge from the BMJV and Senior Public Prosecutor Thomas Junge from the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Berlin.
During the two-day discussions, practical questions on major and minor legal assistance were discussed from the German and Jordanian points of view. There were presentations of the legal framework on both sides, individual procedures and responsibilities, the search process and business practices. In the case of extradition proceedings, the presentations covered assurances, detention conditions according to international standards and monitoring.

Using practical examples of cases from Germany and Jordan, the speakers illustrated the various individual topics and tried to provide possible solutions to common problems encountered in practice.

Mutual legal assistance between Germany and Jordan has so far taken place through diplomatic channels. This leads to delays in proceedings, which makes the mutual legal assistance more difficult on both sides. Jordan has already made bilateral extradition agreements with various countries, including the USA, France, Great Britain, Australia and Brazil. Other agreements, e.g. with Romania and Ukraine, are currently being prepared. To make mutual legal assistance with Germany easier, it may be conceivable for Jordan to enter the European extradition agreement. This alternative still needs to be examined by the Jordanians.

During the course of the discussions, it became clear that there are also certain communication problems when it comes to international legal assistance and extradition processes between the various Jordanian parties, in particular between the Ministry of Justice and the public prosecutor’s offices involved. And so the event went beyond a German-Jordanian exchange of experiences to become a forum for discussion involving internal exchange between the Jordanian parties to the proceedings, moderated by the German experts. This was extremely helpful from the point of view of all the Jordanian parties concerned and was welcomed wholeheartedly.

The event fortunately also meant that the IRZ could follow up its existing cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Justice, which should now be intensified still further with other joint events.