Roundtable Discussions on cross-sectoral Cooperation regarding alternative Penalties and Measures


In 2021, IRZ continued its successful cooperation with the country's regional probation services in Kosovo. In the course of three online roundtables with changing groups of participants from the regions of Pristina, Prizren, Mitrovica, Peja and Gjilan, a lively and trusting exchange took place. The focus was on alternative measures and penalties in the area of juvenile criminal law.

The first day of each event was dedicated to cross-sectoral cooperation between the judiciary, the public prosecutor's office and the probation service and, in addition to the function and legal basis of the suspended sentence, addressed probation supervision in practice. 

Participants were:

  • judges,
  • public prosecutors,
  • probation officers and

They had the opportunity to take a closer look at current challenges, best practices as well as the interaction of the institutions responsible for alternative measures. 

The second day of the event offered the representatives of the regional probation offices the opportunity for an in-depth and practical discussion on the organisation, role and tasks of probation officers, especially in dealing with juvenile offenders. The focus was on the topics of social reintegration, prevention of recidivism and transition management, taking into account special problem situations such as unemployment, indebtedness, domestic violence or lack of family structures.

From the German side, a team of experts led through the series of events:

  • Senior Public Prosecutor Michael Grunwald, Public Prosecutor's Office of Berlin
  • Public Prosecutor Matthias Betschner, Public Prosecutor's Office of Duisburg 
  • Judge Alexander Conrad, Local Court of Oberhausen 
  • Stefan Thier, Ministry of Justice, Europe and Consumer Protection of the State of Schleswig-Holstein
  • Probation Officer Viola Würffel, Head of Security Management, Social Services of the Judiciary of Berlin

In addition to an intensive and practice-oriented exchange of expertise and experience, the roundtable discussions financed by the Federal Foreign Office made it possible, above all, to create a broader network between probation services, judges and public prosecutors in the various regions. The total of six days of events were characterised by lively and committed discussions and met with a very positive response from all participants.

German-Kosovan exchange of expertise on the fight against money laundering

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

As part of an online seminar hosted by the Kosovan Academy of Justice, IRZ organised an expert discussion on the fight against money laundering on 2 June 2021. The German-Kosovan exchange of experiences took place on the second day of the event with the participation of around 25 Kosovan judges and public prosecutors.

In the context of financial liberalisation and growing transnational crime, the fight against money laundering has cross-border significance. Dealing effectively with money laundering on a global scale also requires an intensive and continuous exchange of expertise between legal practitioners.

In this context, the event continued the exchange of experiences on the fight against money laundering, which had begun in 2020 in cooperation with the Kosovan Academy of Justice. Senior Public Prosecutor Wolf-Tilman Baumert and Public Prosecutor Christian Müller, both from the Wuppertal Public Prosecutor's Office, took part in the discussion as IRZ experts. In particular, they presented the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which came into force in March 2021 to regulate money laundering offences in Germany. The event also focussed on the following topics:

  • acquisition offences and types of money laundering crimes
  • the tracing of defrauded assets
  • the return of incriminated assets / confiscation orders
  • mutual legal assistance and international cooperation in money laundering investigations

The Kosovan participants in the discussions were Valon Kurtaj, a judge at the Court of First Instance in Pristina, and Behar Xhema, deputy director of the Kosovan Financial Intelligence Unit, leading to a lively legal comparison and mutual exchange of expertise and experience.

The event was financed by the German Foreign Office. IRZ plans to continue its cooperation with the Academy of Justice in this area and to cover further important subjects in the area of criminal law and the prison system.

Online events on probation services and prison management

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

During the last quarter of 2020, the cooperation between IRZ and the Ministry of Justice of Kosovo concentrated on the areas of probation services and prison management. The main focus was on how the relevant authorities work together to provide probation services, the explanation of the advantages of suspended sentencing with probation, and the specific issues surrounding juvenile detention. IRZ has also succeeded in using the online format to expand on the existing trusting working relationship, which pays particular attention to the area of juvenile criminal law.

In cooperation with the department for probation services and regional probation offices, three separate online round table discussions were held with different participant groups in the regions of Pristina, Prizren and Mitrovica. These events allowed for a broad exchange of experiences and also took the regional particularities in Kosovo into account. The round table discussions covered the following topics, amongst others:

  • the function and role of probation
  • specific features of the application of probation in juvenile criminal law
  • the supervision of probation in practice: cooperation between judges, public prosecutors and probation services

IRZ was represented by the following experts from the relevant professional groups:

  • Alexander Conrad, a judge at the Local Court of Oberhausen
  • Michael Grunwald, a senior public prosecutor at the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office
  • Stefan Thier from the department of social services for justice, support for ex-offenders and accommodation offering therapy at the Ministry of Justice, Europe and Consumer Protection for the state of Schleswig-Holstein

This combination of experts led to a comprehensive, detailed and practice-oriented exchange with Kosovan colleagues. 

Online seminars on “young people in the prison system”

At the express request of the department for prison management at the Ministry of Justice of Kosovo, two online seminars were held on “Dealing with young drug addicts” and “Dealing with young people with psychiatric problems”.

Both events were led by an experienced team of experts appointed by IRZ:

  • Katja Liebmann, Head of social therapy at the largest juvenile detention centre in Germany at Hameln,
  • Siegfried Löprick, Chairman of the youth welfare service, Jugendhilfe Göttingen e.V., with many years of experience in working with the prison management system in Kosovo.

Both seminars featured an open exchange involving all participants and lively, comprehensive discussions.