DIGNITY holds workshop on Mendez Principles

On Tuesday, December 28, 2021, The Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY) and Mizan for Law in partnership with the Judicial Council, conducted a workshop on the Mendez Principles. (Photo: DIGNITY)
AMMAN — The Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY) and Mizan for Law in partnership with the Judicial Council, conducted a workshop on Tuesday on the Mendez Principles — the principles for effective interviewing for investigations and information gathering.  اضافة اعلان

Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO) and the Danish-Arab Partnership Program (DAPP), the workshop revolved around the Mendez Principles, which were established by a group of American and European anti-torture and human rights non-profit organizations, following a report submitted by Juan E. Mendez to the UN General Assembly calling for the development of a universal set of standards for non-coercive interviewing and associated procedural safeguards during investigations.

The workshop started off with a panel discussion featuring the director of the Judicial Institute, Judge Nawal Jawhri, Amman attorney-general, Judge Hassan Abdallat, executive-director of Mizan for Law, Eva Abu Halaweh, and the Jordan country-director for DIGNITY, Yasar Abdou, and was attended by several officers of the Public Security, attorneys, and members of human rights organizations. 

“These workshops are vital to learn about the most up to date techniques in investigative interviews with inmates in correctional facilities, and suspects,” Abdallat said in remarks to Jordan News, adding that “it is important to train security personnel, police officers, and public attorneys on these procedures”

Regarding investigation techniques in Jordan, Abdallat said that security personnel are trained on a regular basis, but that “finding new guarantees that can ensure the quality of investigation is always very important.”

 “I believe that voice recording can be an added guarantee that is possible to implement in Jordan, not only when investigating suspects, but also while interviewing inmates on mistreatment or torture in correctional or temporary holding facilities,” said Abdallat. He added that it would not be easy to implement new procedures for arresting officers and investigators, but “if there was a consensus on implementing it, and if proper training is carried out” it would prove to be an added benefit to the interviewing process.

“The phenomenon of torture is non-existent in Jordan. In my 23 years at the Public Prosecution, we have received one or two torture cases,” stated Abdallat, “but there are individual cases of mistreatment, violations by police officers have happened and have been reported”

The workshop featured two experts, professor of Criminal Investigation, Ray Bull, and head of the Legal Department at DIGNITY, and vice-president of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, Therese Rytter.

Bull’s sessions focused on the scientific foundations and methodology of effective interviewing and their significance for criminal investigations, and the background and purpose of the Mendez Principles. While Rytter’s session was on the legal foundations and safeguards dimension of effective interviewing, and the preconditions for the effective implementation of the Mendez Principles in practice.

“From the moment of arrest, till the defendant stands in a courtroom in front of a judge, there are safeguards that govern that process, therefor the Mendez Principles are there to ensure the flow of just and fair judicial procedures” Abdou told Jordan News.

“In this workshop, attendance and engagement with members of the Judicial Council, Public Prosecution, and Public Security, presents an opportunity for them to share challenges they face in their line of work in implementing the Mendez Principles and standards of human rights practices,” Abdou said. “This opens a door for a new phase to start programs that enhance the skills and educate practitioners on how to implement these principles effectively,” she added.

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