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Rule of Law Training

The Matra Rule of Law Training Programme is designed to strengthen institutional capacity in the field of rule of law within government organisations in Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Türkiye, and Ukraine. Each year we offer (hybrid) training courses, providing participants with insights into best practices across a wide range of rule of law topics.

Through interactive sessions that blend theory with practical skills, as well as study visits, our programme equips policy advisors, members of the judiciary and other civil servants working in the government and justice sectors with the knowledge and skills needed to drive reforms within their respective countries.

In addition, by taking part in the training programme, participants become part of a large international network of alumni, lecturers and public institutions in the Netherlands and in the target countries. This network serves as a platform for learning, exchange and collaboration.

The Matra Rule of Law Training Programme is designed and delivered by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Leiden Law School and The Hague Academy for Local Governance. It is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and administered by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) on behalf of the Ministry. For questions relating to the Matra Rule of Law Training Programme please contact us via matrarolt@nhc.nl

The following hybrid training courses are offered in 2023-2024

1. Integrity of Civil Servants (full brochure)

Public integrity is a core value of the European vision on good governance. It is essential for a well-functioning and transparent government, and an important precondition for economic growth. This training will help participants developing integrity policies, in order to ensure transparency, accountability, efficiency and ethical behaviour within government institutions.

This training will focus on three pillars of public integrity as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): system, culture and accountability. Participants will discuss international and European standards, while also learning about examples and practices from the Netherlands. How are integrity policies designed, implemented and enforced?

The training was held online from 26 February 2024 to 8 March 2024 and in-person in The Hague from 17 March 2024 to 30 March 2024.

2. Management of Borders (full brochure)

All Matra countries share common challenges when it comes to migration, asylum, border management and organised transnational crime. The Western Balkans and Turkey are located on the crossroads of migration routes from conflict areas to EU member states, while Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine share common challenges in the field of border management and adjusting national legislation in order to meet the EU acquis.

In this training, participants will strengthen their knowledge of EU asylum law and its interpretation by European courts. Sessions will be dedicated to the EU acquis, including the EU return and readmission policy. In the field of border management, participants will learn about Schengen legislation and the mandate of Frontex, whiles sessions will also be held on the fight against organised crime.

The training was held online from 26 February 2024 to 8 March 2024 and in-person in The Hague from 17 March to 30 March 2024.

3. Administration of Justice (full brochure)

This training will focus on the “judicial” dimension of Chapter 23. The training will focus on the fundamental principles of judicial organisation under the EU acquis – with a special focus on the case law of the EU Court of Justice – and groundbreaking case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Participants will also learn about best practices in the administration of justice in the Netherlands, and the organisation and functioning of the judiciary. Participants will be introduced to the concept of independence and impartiality as developed in the robust case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Participants will discuss the legal framework regarding the principles of accountability and independence and the application of these principles; judicial culture as a backdrop against which courts function; the role of judicial councils and the role of precedent in legal practice.

This training was held online from 15 to 26 April 2024, and will be held in-person from 9 to 22 June 2024.

4. (Functioning of) Democratic Institutions (full brochure)

Well-functioning institutions that guarantee democracy, the rule of law and human rights are essential for preserving the EU’s identity and values. They must guarantee and safeguard fundamental rights and freedoms. In this training we not only look at international standards (the role of the Venice Commission and the Council of Europe), but also at practice: how can civil servants themselves contribute to democratic policy and decision-making and increasing confidence in the government? How can organisations work more transparently? And how can the distance between the government and the citizen be reduced?

This training was held online from 15 to 26 April 2024, and will be held in-person from 9 to 22 June 2024.

5. Human Rights (full brochure)

Depending on the selected participants, this training can be used in a number of ways to address fundamental and human rights. All government policy initiatives must be monitored for their impact on (human) rights and there must be mechanisms for monitoring and correcting practices that conflict with these rights. This training looks at mechanisms and policies that can be used to (better) safeguard internationally agreed human rights standards. Together with Dutch institutions active in this area, we will exchange practical experiences with the participants and encourage them to reflect on the situation in their own country.

This training will be held online from 16 to 27 September 2024, and in-person from 6 to 19 October 2024. Applications will be accepted from 06 May 2024 until 31 July 2024. Click here to apply.

6. Management of Public Services

This training addresses the question of how the public sector can be better organised to enable good public services. We look at the public sector from the perspective of multi-level governance: cooperation and coordination between multiple layers of government, non-government actors and citizens for effective and efficient public services. Challenges surrounding decentralisation and privatisation (including public-private partnerships) are discussed, including the financing of services. We also discuss the potential of digitalisation to make services more efficient, transparent and accessible, as well as accompanying challenges – for example regarding privacy, data security and the digital divide. We discuss the importance of good personnel policy for well-functioning public institutions and services. We look at issues such as merit-based selection and promotion, transparent performance assessments and offering training and development opportunities to government officials.

This training will be held online from 11 to 22 November 2024, and in-person from 1 to 14 December 2024.

7. Judicial Cooperation

In this training we look at the importance of collaboration within the justice sector, both at a national and international level. We will tailor the programme specifically based on the sectors in which the selected participants work. For example, we look at the ways in which international cooperation between judges works (recognition of foreign judgments, transfer of suspects). Regarding the enforcement of sentences, we look at chain cooperation, in which the fundamental values and standards of the EU are central. For example, within criminal law, the right balance must be found between punishment, reintegration and the protection of victims and society. When it comes to punishment, we will highlight the value of alternative sanctions to prison sentences. Within this training we pay special attention to cooperation between civil servants and civil society, because Dutch chain cooperation within criminal law between government parties and civil society is highly developed and is often a revelation for experts from other countries.

This training will be held online from 11 to 22 November 2024, and in-person from 1 to 14 December 2024.