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.

Seminar on “Fighting organised crime” with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Amman

Participants in the seminar
Participants in the seminar

On 20 and 21 April 2018, the IRZ together with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Amman organised a seminar on “Fighting organised crime” to exchange experiences on the fight against terrorism, money laundering and human trafficking on a national and international level. The event was part of a project supporting judicial training as a stabilising element of the rule of law in Jordan, which started in 2017 and is supported by the German Foreign Office as part of the Transformation partnership.

The seminar used German practices to show the potential for applying international standards to the fight against terrorism, money laundering and human trafficking. Within these main focal points, the lectures dealt with the applicable legal framework in each case, the role of criminal investigations and the strategies used by both countries to combat terrorism, money laundering and human trafficking.

The Jordanian participants included representatives from the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Amman, as well as public prosecutors from other parts of the country. The event was hosted by judge Abdallah Abu Alghanam, Head of the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Amman. Judge Hasan al Nsour, representing the Prosecutor General of Amman, reported on the investigation procedure and international treaties in this area. Jürgen Maurer, former Vice-President of the Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation), and Hans-Dieter Hilken, former Head of the Crime Control Department at the State Office of Criminal Investigations in Rhineland-Palatinate, were the experts representing the IRZ at the two-day seminar.

The participants agreed on the need for extensive international cooperation when it comes to fighting these transnational phenomena. During the lively discussions, all sides emphasised the need for law enforcement authorities to specialise and the development of cooperation between the police and the justice system.

Tight deadlines for investigations and the large number of people involved make it difficult to solve these kinds of crimes in Germany. According to the participants, the main obstacles standing in the way of dealing effectively with organised crime in Jordan are the long duration of cases and uncertainties regarding areas of responsibility. Effective strategies for dealing with those involved in organised crime would include improving cooperation, joint training sessions for law enforcement authorities, clear responsibilities and legal regulations.

The active involvement of all participants in the two-day seminar was proof that the discussions inspired by the seminar were considered to be enriching. To conclude, the Office of the Public Prosecutor General of Amman thanked the IRZ for the extremely valuable exchange of experiences and expressed great interest in organising more events with a practical focus in this area.

Train the Trainer seminar in Amman: Soft skills for practising judges, focussing on questioning techniques

Experts and participants in the seminar
Experts and participants in the seminar

On 26 and 27 March 2018, the IRZ and the Judicial Institute of Jordan (JIJ) organised a seminar on “Soft skills for practising judges, focussing on questioning techniques”. The seminar took place as part of a Transformation partnership project supported by the German Foreign Office, which began at the end of 2017.

The IRZ has maintained a trusting cooperation with the Judicial Institute of Jordan for more than ten years now. The main focus of the curriculum for this seminar was on teaching methodology and educational content and the JIJ plans to address this topic in more detail during its ongoing cooperation with the IRZ.

The seminar was attended by Jordanian judges and public prosecutors, who have several years’ experience as trainers at educational events held by the Judicial Institute of Jordan. The seminar was led by speakers participating on behalf of the IRZ, Dr. Arnd Weishaupt (a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf) and Uwe Stark (a judge at the local court of Siegen). Both experts are Train the Trainer specialists and are accredited trainers with many years of teaching experience in various IRZ partner countries worldwide.

The following areas of expertise were addressed during the two-day seminar in Amman:

  • Susceptibility to errors in witness statements,
  • Limitations of perception skills,
  • indications of facts in statements,
  • recognising lies,
  • questioning and interrogation techniques for witnesses and the accused and
  • the basics of appraising evidence in criminal proceedings.

The event followed an interactive approach throughout. This meant that the seminar was taught using numerous examples, experiments and role plays. All the participants took part with great interest and enthusiasm and so they were all able to make an active contribution to the success of the event.

Subsequent feedback from the participants and from the Judicial Institute of Jordan was also very positive.