Regional conference in Tunis on the de-radicalisation of prisoners within the rehabilitation plan

Regional conference in Tunis on the de-radicalisation of prisoners
Regional conference in Tunis on the de-radicalisation of prisoners
Tunisia

On 2 and 3 July 2018 the IRZ organised a regional conference on the “De-radicalisation of prisoners within the rehabilitation plan” in cooperation with the Tunisian prison authority. The event was carried out within the ongoing project from 2017 to 2019 for the promotion of the justice reform in Tunisia funded by the German Foreign Office.

High-ranking representatives of the prison authorities of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria participated in the event which was opened by the Director General of the Tunisian Prison Authority Illyes Zalleg.

Two German experts supported the IRZ in organising this conference:
  • Kai Abraham is a staff member of the Berlin Senate Administration for Justice, Consumer Protection and Non-Discrimination, which supervises the prisons.
  • Feride Aktaş is a project coordinator at the Violence Prevention Network e.V. responsible for the activities in the fields of prevention of religious and political extremism and de-radicalisation of violent criminals motivated by extremism.

In their introductory lectures the experts of the participating countries explained the legal basis and spoke about their practical experience in dealing with radicalised prisoners. Another topic were the measures being taken in rehabilitation and transition management. In the final thematic block specific support measures for the de-radicalisation of prisoners were explained.

All participants showed great interest as was evident by the lively discussions. There was particular interest in specific examples from Germany of support measures for radicalised prisoners. Another focus of the debate was how to determine the degree of risk of the inmates. Due to existing tendencies towards radicalisation in prisons the participants pointed out the topicality of this issue and that there was great pressure to act.

Special attention was also given to the support of prisoners in preparation of and after their release from prison. It was emphasized that is was necessary to closely monitor and support radicalised former prisoners. Organisations and experts from civil society can be involved in carrying out these support measures. The participation of family members and other key persons is also of major importance. Moreover, the staff need to be trained in dealing with radicalised inmates during their vocational training.

The regional conference enabled an exchange about the forms of participation of civil society organisations in implementing de-radicalisation measures and introduced specific concepts when dealing with radicalised prisoners.

All participants considered the conference as an important exchange of their experience with radicalised prisoners. The IRZ will continue to support the reform projects in the Tunisian prison system with regard to the resocialisation of prisoners and the preparation for their release from prison.

Exchange of experiences in Tunis on select Conventions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law

Experts at the conference in Tunis
Experts at the conference in Tunis

On 10 and 11 May 2018, the IRZ together with the Tunisian Ministry of Justice and in cooperation with the Hague Conference for Private International Law organised a conference on four select Hague Conventions, which Tunisia has already joined or will soon join. The event was held as part of the Memorandum of Understanding of 6 February 2017 on legal cooperation for 2017 and 2018 between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and the Tunisian Ministry of Justice.

The following subjects were discussed at the conference:

  • the Apostille Convention of 1961,
  • the Service Convention of 1965,
  • the Child Abduction Convention of 1980 and
  • the Choice of Court Convention of 2005

The following experts from the IRZ and the Hague Conference took part in the event:

  • Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, LL.M., Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law,
  • Private Lecturer Dr. Florian Eichel, University of Passau, Department of Civil Law, Civil Procedure Law and International Private Law,
  • Dr. Inka Hottgenroth, a judge at the Local Court of Cologne, Head of the Family Law Division and
  • Dana Tillich, representing the German Federal Office of Justice, Department II 1 International Civil Law.

Under the leadership of Prosecutor General Imed Derouiche, Head of the Judicial Service at the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, the experts discussed with their Tunisian colleagues various aspects concerning the practical application of the Conventions in Tunisia’s justice and administrative systems. The first major challenge will be applying the Conventions to national Tunisian legislation and case law. Under the conditions of the contract, Tunisia also has to determine the relevant legal and official structures for each Convention. This has not yet been carried out in all cases, which means that Tunisia’s accession to the Convention concerned has not yet been recognised by all member states.

During the two-day meeting in Tunis, however, potential solutions for many of the outstanding issues were discussed and some of the terms in the individual Conventions, which the Tunisians obviously found misleading, were clarified, such as the “usual residence of the child” in the case of the child abduction Convention.

During the conference, Imed Derouiche and Dr. Bernasconi repeatedly emphasised the highly topical nature of the subject and the perfect timing of the meeting, which took place immediately after the Apostille Convention came into effect in Tunisia on 30 March 2018. The Hague Convention on Private International Law is also celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Together with the Hague Conference, the IRZ provided active support for the process of Tunisia’s accession from 2012 until its membership in November 2014, with advice and expert discussions in Tunis, and it has continued to offer regular advice since then.

As IRZ partner countries in the region, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt are the only Arab member states of the Hague Conference, which are also represented in individual Hague Conventions. Iraq is not a member of the Hague Conference, although it is a contracting party to a Hague Convention. Other IRZ partner countries from the Arab world, such as Jordan, are in fact member states of the Hague Conference but have not yet joined any of the Hague Conventions. Algeria is neither a member of the Hague Conference nor a contractual partner of a Convention. This makes it all the more important for the IRZ to continue to include the Hague Conventions as part of its project work in the MENA region, so that it can make clear to its partner states the positive effects these Conventions can have on international legal and administrative cooperation.

IRZ regional office opened in Tunis

  • Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Managing Director; Hichem Dkhili, Head of the IRZ office in Tunisia; Christian Lange, parliamentary Secretary of State the BMJV; Mohamed Abidi, Head of Section for North Africa and the Middle East (IRZ) (from left to right)

    Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Managing Director; Hichem Dkhili, Head of the IRZ office in Tunisia; Christian Lange, parliamentary Secretary of State the BMJV; Mohamed Abidi, Head of Section for North Africa and the Middle East (IRZ) (from left to right)

  • Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Managing Director; Mohamed Zine Elabidin, Director of the Judicial Academy; Christian Lange, parliamentary Secretary of State at the BMJV; Selim Medini, Head at the Ministerial Office of the Ministry of Justice in Tunis; Ameur Mehrzi, President of the Tunisian bar association; Nabil Naccache, Head of the Criminal Law Department at the Tunisian Ministry of Justice (from left to right)

    Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Managing Director; Mohamed Zine Elabidin, Director of the Judicial Academy; Christian Lange, parliamentary Secretary of State at the BMJV; Selim Medini, Head at the Ministerial Office of the Ministry of Justice in Tunis; Ameur Mehrzi, President of the Tunisian bar association; Nabil Naccache, Head of the Criminal Law Department at the Tunisian Ministry of Justice (from left to right)

  • Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Managing Director during her welcome address on the opening of the regional office in Tunis

    Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Managing Director during her welcome address on the opening of the regional office in Tunis

  • Participants during the opening event

    Participants during the opening event

On 24 January 2018, the regional office of the IRZ for North Africa officially opened in Tunis. As well as high-ranking guests from the Tunisian MInistry of Justice, ths event was also attended by Christian Lange, parliamentary Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

The regional office is headed by Hichem Dkhili and will in particular analyse the current political and legal development, maintain continuous consultations with project partners and provide organisational support in implementing part of the planned local measures. The office will also provide assistance to projects in the partner countries Morocco and Algeria.