By Dr Tamara Takacs, Senior researcher & Sanae Hamzaoui, Project Manager, Asser Instituut.
It is Monday morning 9 o’clock in Rabat, outside the temperature has already reached 30 degrees but we will not complain as it was raining when we left The Hague. In the conference room the first participants take their seats but not before greeting each other, catching up and sharing anecdotes. They had met just a few months ago, in May, in The Hague when they followed a course on Administration of Justice.
It is September 8th and they are sitting together again, judges and prosecutors from four Arab countries: Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco. They are all gathering to discuss their experiences in The Hague and foremost, share with us what steps they had taken in the past three months. A short period of time one would think, but for them already enough to start implementing concrete projects and engage to advance reforms in their home country. Certainly they had learnt a lot in the Netherlands in terms of knowledge and skills, but more importantly they had been inspired and encouraged to bring about change within their work. In their own department, court or at the Ministry, each initiative does count and it is easy to see how proud the participants are to present their achievement to their counterparts from other countries.
Far from the at times violent unrests, they could talk freely, express their hope for a safe future, and have a critical look at the events that are undermining development and reforms in the Arab world (Syria, Irak, and Palestine).
The Dutch government is supporting the democratic transition in the Arab region through such trainings programmes. As implementing organisation, we can only welcome such initiative and confirm how this is important for the Arab region.
The Matra South Training Programme ‘Administration of Justice’ has been implemented by the T.M.C Asser Institute in the period 2012 – 2014 and is an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (for more information about this programme visit: www.matra-south.nl).