Online seminar on the “Training of trainers – the humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisons”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

In cooperation with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), on 25 February 2021 IRZ coordinated an online seminar on the “Training of trainers – the humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisons”. The event was part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office. Dr. Angelika Burghardt-Kühne, a psychologist, and Dr. Stefan Tydecks, a psychologist at the Moabit prison, reported on experiences from the German penal system. Abdelmajid Azzouzi and Bachar Chbichou, both of whom are training leaders at the National Prisons Training Academy in Tiflet, presented experiences from Morocco.

The main themes of this event held in the Training of Trainer format were the teaching of human rights in training and the protection of those rights in prisons. The experts reported on teaching methods and training techniques, their inclusion in handbooks, and preparations for release in the context of the pandemic.

The DGAPR established the National Training Academy of the Moroccan prison service in Tiflet in order to improve the teaching of human rights during training. Role plays and simulations are a key tool in helping trainees to deal with particularly problematic practical cases. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prison authorities in Morocco and Germany are mainly holding interviews online and are reducing the size of training courses. Unlike in Germany, Morocco is mainly relying on online seminars for training purposes and is suspending some practical exercises in a sporting context.

Considerable efforts are being made in both countries to guarantee human rights for prisoners during their prison sentences and as they prepare for release, despite the difficult conditions during the pandemic. Visits from lawyers and family members are still taking place with respect for social distancing rules and wearing masks. In Morocco, the majority of court cases and judgements are already taking place online. Attempts are being made in Germany to replace most of the bureaucratic procedures involved in release from prison with video conferences.

Seminar on the “Management of prison staff by the DGAPR”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 24 November 2020, IRZ, together with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), organised an online seminar on the “Management of prison staff by the DGAPR”. The event was part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office. IRZ is coordinating this project between 2017 and September 2021.

Denise Steinküller, Permanent Representative of the Head of the Prison Service Academy for NRW, reported on experiences from the German penal system. Salah Hamza, Head of Department at the National Training Centre in Tiflet, and Aaouatif Zouahri, Head of the HR Department at DGAPR headquarters, provided the Moroccan perspective.

The main topics covered by the seminar were the methods for teaching communication skills to prison staff and strategies for increasing motivation. As a result of ongoing reforms, Morocco is modernising its basic training facilities on a large scale. Both countries have also reorganised the way training takes place due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In Morocco, for example, large sections of the practical training sessions take place outdoors, and in both countries group sizes within the training years have been reduced.

The DGAPR selects its training staff based on their extensive practical experience and good service records. Before taking up their teaching positions, they have taken training courses and gained further theoretical knowledge of teaching methods. In Germany, the majority of training staff also have extensive experience of working in the prison system. It is nevertheless increasingly difficult to find suitable staff.

Both Germany and Morocco see good communications as a central part of achieving the objectives of prison detention and are focussing on teaching the necessary communication skills as part of their training programmes. Particular attention is paid to practical involvement in this area. Specific further training courses are available for dealing and communicating with dangerous prisoners.

The challenge remains in both countries to increase the motivation of prison staff. The DGAPR is therefore offering programmes giving staff the possibility of qualifying for management positions. IRZ and the DGAPR are planning more in-depth events on the subjects covered by these programmes for 2021.

Exchange of experiences on the “Digitalisation of the Justice System”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Morocco / Tunisia

Because of the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic in particular, more attention is being paid to the subject of digitalisation in many areas of our lives and work. It is currently also the subject of much discussion in the justice system, where there are calls for accelerating and intensifying the digitalisation process. In this context, IRZ organised an exchange of experiences on 12 November 2020.

The online seminar, which was aimed at around 40 participants from the Moroccan and Tunisian justice systems, was carried out in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice and financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

It continued the series of events on this subject with other IRZ partner states in Africa and served as an introduction to the complex subject of the “digitalisation of the justice system”. In view of the current crisis, the online seminar was designed to pay particular consideration to the electronic justice system and covered the following three main points:

  • electronic justice system and e-Justice,
  • electronic mailbox and remote hearings and
  • data security.

The international nature of the seminar made it possible for the participants to discuss and compare points of view and experiences on these three subjects from Germany, Morocco and Tunisia. Despite different approaches between the countries, the experts and participants were nevertheless able to identify many of the same problems.

The following were appointed by IRZ to take part in the discussions:

  • Yvonne Bach, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Düsseldorf
  • Dr. Lars Bierschenk, a judge at the Regional Court of Bonn
  • Hatem Rouatbi, a lawyer, university professor and director of the “Dispute Resolution and Enforcement Methods” research laboratory at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Tunis-El Manar.

The Moroccan speakers at the online seminar came from the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR).

During the seminar, it became clear that all those involved see the digitalisation of the justice system as an opportunity and the participants agreed that the process should be accelerated. They see digital processes as an absolutely essential part of a modern justice system and believe that it is important to ensure that all those involved have access to digitalisation. In this respect, the constitutional guarantee was discussed with a view to court proceedings, with the main focus being on fundamental procedural rights.

The online seminar was the first in a series of events. The lively discussions between academics and practising legal experts and the involvement of several institutions underlined the highly topical and multifaceted nature of this subject. There was a remarkably high level of interest in this event.

There are plans to continue and intensify the cooperation to increase electronic communication in the Moroccan justice system and in other partner countries in this project.