During the seminar
During the seminar

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.