First Train the Trainer seminar for judges and public prosecutors in Amman

The long-term cooperation between the IRZ and the Judicial Institute of Jordan (JIJ) continued this year with a Train the Trainer seminar for judges and public prosecutors. The seminar was held in Amman on 22 and 23 May 2017 within the framework of the institutional funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV). This was the first time an IRZ event in Jordan has focussed exclusively on teaching methodology and educational content.

The participants in the two-day seminar have several years’ experience as trainers and seminar leaders at educational events held by the Judicial Institute of Jordan. The objective of the seminar was to use practical examples to work together on developing strategies for making seminars interesting for participants, leading to lasting learning success.

The seminar was led by Dr. Arnd Weishaupt, speaking on behalf of the IRZ. Dr. Weishaupt is a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düssedorf and an accredited trainer with many years of teaching experience worldwide. Dr. Weishaupt has already acted as a Train the Trainer specialist in many of the IRZ partner countries.

Using practical examples from  legal cases, the Jordanian participants were informed about

  • The foundations for the effective preparation and organisation of seminars,
  • specific information about teaching content to adults,
  • various teaching methods and
  • the use of media.

All the participants took part in extremely lively discussions and joined in with the experimental elements of the seminar without constraints.  In view of the high status of judges in Jordan, this can in no way be taken for granted and it confirms in particular the ability of the speaker, Dr. Weishaupt, to ensure that the learning objectives were achieved by all the participants at this first event in Jordan.

The feedback from participants and from the Judicial Institute of Jordan was therefore also extremely positive. The Director General of the JIJ, Dr. Thaer Al Adwan, who also took part in the second day of the seminar, emphasised several times that there was a great demand for the continued training and education of seminar leaders in methodology and education. He said that an extension of the cooperation with the IRZ in this area would therefore be very welcome.

High-ranking delegation representing Jordanian law enforcement agencies returns to the IRZ in Bonn for more expert discussions

During their stay in Germany, a high-ranking delegation representing Jordanian law enforcement agencies once again visited the IRZ in Bonn on 24 November 2016. The study visit took place as part of the European Commission's TAIEX support programme.

Under the leadership of General Walid Al Battah, Head of the Judicial Police Force at the Police Headquarters in Jordan, accompanied by two directors of Jordanian penal institutions, the delegation learned about "Analysing security risks in penal institutions" during their visit to Germany from 22 to 25 November 2016.

Back in March this year, as part of the European Commission's TAIEX support programme, a high-ranking delegation of representatives from Jordanian law enforcement authorities had already visited the Bremen Senate for justice and the constitution and prisons in Bremen and Lower Saxony, in order to get an insight into the practical application of dynamic security concepts in the German prison system. Since this initial visit led to valuable insights gained on both sides, the current study visit was organised as a follow-up.

The Jordanian guests took part in expert discussions with the Bremen Senate for justice and the constitution, the Verein Bremische Straffälligenbetreuung (an association offering support to offenders in Bremen), the IRZ in Bonn and at penal institutions in Bremen and Bremerhaven. Once again, the leadership and organisation of the study trip was assured by Torben Adams, the prison director of a young offenders' institute in Bremen and a project leader at the Bremen Senate for justice and the constitution. Between 2012 and 2014, Torben Adams was a team leader involved in the successful implementation of an EU prison reform project led by the IRZ in Jordan and he is an acknowledged expert in Jordanian penal institutions.

The main focus of the discussions between the Jordanian guests and the IRZ in Bonn was on the latest developments and problems involved in solving security issues in Jordanian penal institutions. The main priority is dealing with overcrowding in Jordanian detention facilities. The prison population has increased enormously over the past four years (from around 7,000 to some 13,000). The number of prisoners addicted to drugs and the number of detained criminals fleeing from Syria have also increased considerably. One way of helping to reduce the number of detainees could be to review the current system used in Jordan to classify offenders. During the current study visit, the Jordanian delegation also expressly asked for support and an exchange of expertise in this field.

Another step would be to introduce a relevant probation service, which until now has not existed in Jordan. In this respect, the relatively high number of radical religious extremists presents an additional major challenge for the Jordanian penal system. German penal institutions could also benefit from the extensive experience already gained in this area in Jordan as part of a reciprocal exchange of valuable knowledge (e.g. in dealing with “IS returnees” from Syria).

Seminar on the relationship between judicial independence and judicial supervision with the Jordanian Judicial Academy in Amman

From 23 to 24 May 2016 the IRZ organised an expert seminar on the topic “The relationship between judicial independence and judicial supervision. Practical experience in Germany” in cooperation with the Jordanian Judicial Academy in Amman. The event was funded by the Federal Foreign Office within its project funding for the transformation partnerships Middle East and Maghreb.

About 30 judges of the ordinary jurisdiction from different courts in the districts of Amman, Salt, Zarqua and Rusaifah as well as of the special jurisdiction (customs courts, military courts, police courts) participated in the seminar. The IRZ was represented by the German experts Dr. Stefan von der Beck, Presiding Judge at the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg, and Dr. Thomas Veen, President of the Local Court of Osnabrück. They engaged in an intensive dialogue with their Jordanian colleagues during the two-day event.

After an introduction into the legal basics of the topic both from the German and the Jordanian side, the seminar was mainly dedicated to practical work on case studies. Taking these case studies as an example, the two poles of judicial independence and judicial supervision were examined in their many different facets.

Moreover, the participants worked on solutions for the cases in lively and intense discussions. In this context, it was remarkable that both sides agreed almost completely on the assessment of the cases. Opinions diverged only with regard to the question whether judges should be allowed to be members of a political party. In contrast to the German professional law for judges, this is not allowed according to the Jordanian Code of Conduct for Judges from 2014.

Mostly, however, it became obvious during the seminar how much the judiciary of both countries has in common. This led to a very productive and satisfactory exchange among the colleagues during the two-day event. Not least, one of the things in common was that the female judges from Jordan raised many crucial aspects and gave major impetus to the discussions.