Exchange of experiences with the Senegalese Ministry of Justice on the “Digitalisation of the Justice System”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Senegal

On 3 November 2020, IRZ together with the Senegalese Ministry of Justice organised an online exchange of experiences on the digitalisation of the justice system. 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 the subject of much discussion in the justice system, where there are calls for an increase in digitalisation.

This online seminar continued a series of events on this subject with IRZ partner states in (North) Africa. In view of the current crisis, the event was designed to pay particular consideration to the electronic justice system. The main focus of the event was on the following topics:

  • electronic justice system and e-Justice
  • data security and Legal Tech
  • electronic mailbox and remote hearings

International experts brought their points of view and experiences from Germany, France, Tunisia and Senegal to the event and these were the subject of intense discussions. The involvement of several countries meant that various approaches could be portrayed, with the same problems often being identified.

The following experts took part on behalf of IRZ:

  • Dr. Lars Bierschenk, a judge at the Regional Court of Bonn
  • Jean Pierre Vogel-Braun, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Strasbourg
  • Professor Hatem Rouatbi, a lawyer and member of the “Dispute Resolution and Enforcement” research laboratory at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Tunis - El Manar.

The online event took place as part of the working programme between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Senegalese Ministry of Justice, which started at the beginning of 2020.

The animated discussions during the seminar illustrated the remarkably high level of interest, as well as the highly topical and multifaceted nature of this complex subject. IRZ therefore plans to continue and intensify its partnership with the Senegalese justice system in this area.

Signing of a joint Work Programme with the Senegalese Judiciary

The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Christian Lange, MdB, and the State Secretary of the Senegalese Ministry of Justice, Aïssé Tall, during the signing of the joint work programme at the Senegalese Ministry of Justice (photo: BMJV)
The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Christian Lange, MdB, and the State Secretary of the Senegalese Ministry of Justice, Aïssé Tall, during the signing of the joint work programme at the Senegalese Ministry of Justice (photo: BMJV)
Senegal

On 18 February 2020 the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), Christian Lange, MdB, and the State Secretary of the Senegalese Ministry of Justice, Aïssé Tall, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the legal cooperation between Germany and Senegal.
The work programme provides for an increased cooperation in criminal law, the penal system and basic and further training for judges, public prosecutors and other members of the justice system.

IRZ has been active in Senegal as its first partner state in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2019. The Memorandum of Understanding will further strengthen the cooperation of IRZ with its Senegalese partners.

IRZ carried out the seminar “Supporting reforms in the Senegalese criminal law and combatting organised crime“ in partnership with the Senegalese Ministry of Justice as part of the signing of the work programme.

The event focussed on the following topics, amongst others:

  • criminal reforms and challenges in combatting organised crime
  • national and international legal framework conditions for the fight against organised crime in Germany and the cooperation between the competent authorities
  • combatting money laundering and drug and human trafficking

Stefan Schlotter from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt and Thomas Junge from the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Berlin facilitated the seminar on the part of IRZ.

IRZ will intensify its work in Senegal this year. Further seminars are planned, for instance, to support reforms in criminal law and the penal system as well as with regard to the independence of the judiciary.

First seminar in Dakar on “Criminal law and relaxing imprisonment conditions”

During the seminar
During the seminar
Senegal

On 5 December 2019, the IRZ organised its first seminar in the Senegalese capital Dakar on “Criminal law and relaxing imprisonment conditions”. The event was organised in partnership with the department of criminal law and pardons at the Senegalese Ministry of Justice and financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection as part of the bilateral cooperation.

Andreas Stüve, Senior Public Prosecutor at the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office, and Pascal Décarpes, International Consultant on Prison Management, represented the IRZ as experts at the event.

The seminar provided an opportunity for exchange on the basics of the Senegalese and German criminal law systems. The German speakers also presented the organisational structure of law enforcement authorities and the content of criminal investigations in Germany and discussed the various options for punishment (alternatives to prison sentences) with the participants.

Other subjects included the relaxation of imprisonment conditions and various models of suspended sentencing, which the IRZ experts presented using practical examples, including probation, conditional leave and open prisons.

The prison system in Senegal is currently facing some major challenges. There is massive overcrowding in Senegalese prisons. This is due to both a lack of infrastructure and frequently imposed long periods of imprisonment on remand. In addition, detention conditions often do not meet international standards. In this context, the participants showed a great deal of interest in learning about alternative forms of law enforcement.

Background information

In the area of criminal law, both the penal code and the criminal procedural law were comprehensively revised and updated in Senegal. The focus is currently on making criminal law operational and on bringing legal texts into line with international agreements. There is also a particular need to increase efficiency and accelerate criminal proceedings.

The IRZ will continue to work more intensively in Senegal over the coming year. The focus here will continue to be on supporting the reform process in the areas of criminal law and the prison system. Support for judges should also help to increase the independence of the justice system.