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Working meeting between representatives of the donor state and the Programme Operator - 26 February 2024


Working meeting between representatives of the donor state and the Programme Operator


In the context of the new financial framework of the EEA and Norway Grants, a first working meeting between representatives of the donor state, Norway, and representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Justice, as Programme Operator for the ”Justice” programme, financed through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, took place in Oslo, on 20-21 February 2024, at the initiative of the Norwegian Correctional Service.


 The meeting was attended by the State Secretary responsible for coordinating the Programme Operator, Mr. George-Cătălin ȘERBAN, and his counterpart, Mr. John-Erik VIKA, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security, joined by the Programme Operator coordinator and deputy technical coordinator and the representative of the National Administration of Penitentiaries as Project Promoter (beneficiary).

 

The two State Secretaries discussed the main challenges and lessons learned from the current financial framework, as well as topics of common interest that could be funded by the next Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

 

In this context, State Secretary George-Cătălin ȘERBAN stated that "The funds made available to Romania through this financial mechanism are very useful for investing in the penitentiary system, supporting training programmes for magistrates and fighting domestic violence. We will cooperate with the Norwegian partners to ensure the future financing of the strategic investments of the Ministry of Justice for citizens and the judiciary system".

 

Funding priorities for the Bilateral Relations Fund, which are eligible until 30 April 2025, were also discussed at the meeting.


 
Visit to Baia Mare Penitentiary - 10 November 2023


Visit to Baia Mare Penitentiary 


On November 10, 2023, Secretary of State Bogdan Ilea visited the Baia Mare Penitentiary where the construction works for the new detention facility financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 – „Justice” program are on-going. 


420 new detention places complying with European standards will thus be created within the "Correctional" project. 


For more details about the visit please refer to the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/ministeruljustitieiromania/posts/pfbid02kvuXAucJr6k7KzzJTFjMjid5ExuVNc5HvqgQhQvEG1xRSG6A5k5QQ2cjG3Vw5cpfl?locale=ro_RO 


More information about the "Correctional" project can be found here: http://norwaygrants.just.ro/ro-ro/proiecte/proiectepredefinite.aspx

 
Organizing the "Justice" Programme Cooperation Committee - 08 November 2023


Organizing the "Justice" Programme Cooperation Committee 


The Ministry of Justice, as Programme Operator, organized with the support of the Dolj Tribunal, the eleventh meeting of the Cooperation Committee of the “Justice“ Programme in Craiova, during the 7th and 8th of November 2023. 


The meeting reunited the members of the Cooperation Committee - donor programme partners (Norwegian Ministry of Justice, Norwegian Directorate of Correctional Services, Norwegian National Courts Administration) and the Council of Europe, as an International Partner Organization. 


The event was also attended by participants from the Financial Mechanism Office, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Bucharest, the Ministry of Investments and European Projects, as National Contact Point, represented by State Secretary Ovidiu CÎMPEAN, the National Administration of Penitentiaries and National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men. 


The agenda of the meeting included a presentation of the status of all predefined projects close to completion in 2024. Also, visits were organised to the Counselling Centre for Aggressors within the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection Dolj and the Intervention Centre for Victims of sexual violence operating within the Craiova County Emergency Clinical Hospital, set up in the project "Support for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Romania", has taken place. 


Another visit was organized on the 8th of November to the Işalniţa external section of the Craiova Penitentiary, a project partner in the predefined project "Improving the Correctional Services in Romania by Implementing the Normality Principle - 4NORM(–ality)", where a detention facility with 84 places is being built in compliance with European standards. In the detention facility, an accountability programme for detainees is being implemented, based on the practices of the Norwegian penitentiary system, repesctively on the principle of "normality". As such, the programme aims to provide the necessary conditions for increasing the sense of responsibility and strengthening the self-confidence of the persons deprived of liberty, while preparing them for release. 


In the upcoming period, visits to other project sites will be organized, depending on the degree of achievement of the project objectives.

 
The international conference on cultural diversity - 19 October 2023


Participation of the representatives of the Ministry of Justice to the international conference on cultural diversity, organised by National Administration of Penitentiaries, within “Correctional” project 


The National Administration of Penitentiaries organized in Bucharest, at Ramada Parc Hotel, during 18-19 October 2023, the International Conference “Diversity in Corrections: Addressing Roma Offenders' Needs”, within the Correctional project financed by the Norway Grants. 


The event was attended by about 120 persons, including representatives of the donor state (Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Bucharest) and of the Norwegian project partner (Norwegian Correctional Services), of the Ministry of Investments and European Projects as National Focal Point, of the Council of Europe, as well as other relevant institutions and organizations (National Agency for Roma, the Ombudsman, APADOR-CH), together with guests from 11 countries, practitioners and decision-makers from the penitentiary and  probation system as well as the academia. 

The Ministry of Justice was represented by State Secretary George Bogdan ILEA. A representative of the Programme Operator, responsible for the Correctional field, also participated to the conference. 


The agenda of the event included plenary sessions, panel discussions and online interventions by invited experts in the field, with the common themes of interest being diversity, inclusion and equality in the process of social reintegration of Roma people in the prison and probation system. 


Thus, the reports on the specific needs of Roma and other categories of offenders at risk of social exclusion and on the evaluation of the reintegration programmes developed under the “Correctional” Project were presented. 


At the same time, representatives of the National Administration of Penitentiaries and of the National Probation Directorate presented the conclusions of recent studies and research carried out in the framework of three other Norway Grants funded projects on topics such as: school drop-out among minors and young people confined in educational and detention centres; educational mobility of Roma registered with probation services; and multidisciplinary interventions in dealing with aggressive or addicted prisoners confined in maximum security. 


The event was a real opportunity to share the results of the research carried out by the specialists involved in the prison projects funded by the Norway Grants in recent years, while offering the prospect of new collaborations in the near future.

 
Press release regarding the signing of the financing contract for the project VERA - 25 July 2022

Press release regarding the signing of the financing contract for the project „VERA - Positive change through integrated action in turbulent times!”, financed by „Justice” Programme - Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021

 


The Romanian Ministry of Justice concluded the financing contract for the project " VERA - Positive change through integrated action in turbulent times!" with the National Agency for Men and Women Equality (ANES), on July 15th, 2022.

The project is funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, within the “Justice” Programme, managed by Romanian Ministry of Justice as a Program Operator.

The project budget is 823.529 EUR, of which 85% is Norwegian grant, and 15% is national co­financing, and has a 22 months duration.

The project will be implemented by ANES, as Project Promoter, in partnership with Romanian non-governmental organisations (Center for Training and Evaluation in Social Work, Sensiblu Foundation, “Necuvinte” Association, Center for Community Safety and Mediation Center, Association for Socio-Economic Development and Promotion - CATALACTICA).

The project objective is to improve and adapt the public response capacity of central and local authorities in order to provide better and adequate support for victims of domestic and gender­based violence in the present challenging times, due to the COVID - 19 pandemic, by also including specific interventions for vulnerable groups exposed to double discrimination. The activities that will be carried out in the project aim at:

- improving the response capacity to emergency intervention in cases of domestic violence, at the communities’ level, of the mobile teams set up based on inter-agency collaboration;
- enhancing the institutional capacity of the General Directorates of Social Assistance and Child Protection by training specialists from Domestic Violence Departments on access to justice for victims of domestic and gender-based violence;
- developing a monitoring tool (barometer) in the field of domestic and gender - based violence, at county and national level, that will observe the implementation of the national policies in the field, the prevalent forms of domestic and gender-based violence and trends during COVID
- 19 pandemic as well as challenges and specific needs of the victims, in order to develop or adapt the policies and programes in the field.

Background information:

As Programme Operator for the "Justice" program financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014- 2021, the Ministry of Justice manages 10 predefined projects having a financial allocation of 57,294,118 euro, out of which 85% represents the Norwegian grant, and 15% national co-financing to be provided from the Ministry's budget.

The intervention areas financed under the "Justice" program concern: the correctional services - the penitentiary and probation system (4 predefined projects with a total allocation of 40,394,118 euros); the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial system, the consolidation of the rule of law and good governance (4 predefined projects with a total allocation of 10,845,000 euros); and domestic violence and gender-based violence (2 predefined projects with a total allocation of 3.323.529 euros).

 
Press release regarding the signing of the financing contract for the project “Protecting victims of - 03 February 2022

Press release regarding the signing of the financing contract for the project “Protecting victims of crime”, financed by “Justice” Programme – Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021  

The Romanian Ministry of Justice, through Mr. Mihai Paşca, Secretary of State, signed on January 28th, 2022 the financing contract for the project "Protecting victims of crime" with the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (POHCCJ),

The project is funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, within the “Justice” Programme, managed by Romanian Ministry of Justice as a Program Operator.

The project budget is 2,000,000 EUR, of which 85% is Norwegian grant, and 15% is national co-financing, and has a 27 months duration. The project will be implemented by POHCCJ, as project leader, in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Justice, through the Department for Crime Prevention , and also with the General Directorates of Social Assistance and Child Protection in Bucharest, districts 2 to 6, and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights – FRA.

The project’s objective is to strengthen the rule of law by ensuring an efficient, accessible and qualitative criminal justice system for children as victims of crime and for victims of hate crime, with a special focus on Roma population. Within the project, 35 rooms will be set up for the hearing of children victims of crime - 30 at the level of prosecutor's offices, and the others at the level of the five General Directorates of Social Assistance and Child Protection in Bucharest. These areas are much needed in Romania as they are vital for observing children's rights and for obtaining complete and useful testimonies, minimising as much as possible their trauma and risk of revictimization. The premises will offer the children an environment of safety and confidence during criminal proceedings whereas they will be provided with the necessary psychological support, considering the specifics of their age, their particularities of development, and abilities. The endowment with audio - video technique for recording the hearings will be also secured in order to avoid as much as possible the repeated interrogation of minors.

The main activities that will take place within the project are:
-carrying out thematic analyses of the existing situation and making recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the legal proceedings  applied by prosecutors in the investigation of cases, taking also into account the challenges the Roma population faces;
- elaboration of guidelines (identification, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes/ hearing of children victims of crime and investigation and prosecution of crimes against them);
- training of prosecutors and other professionals, etc.

We mention that by entering into force, on October 14th, 2016, of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom of Norway and the Government of Romania, the Ministry of Justice has been appointed Program Operator for the "Justice" Programme, financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021. As such, the ministry manages a financial allocation of 57,294,118 EUR (85% Norwegian grant and 15% national co-financing) during 2018–2024.


 
Supporting the victims of sexual violence - 06 September 2021

The project „Supporting the implementation of the Istanbul Convention” funded by the Norwegian Finacial Mechanism 2014-2021 is implemented by the National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men in partnership with Secretariat of Shelter Movement and the Brøset Departament of St. Olav’s University Hospital from Norway.

The project aims at establishing 10 integrated centres for victims of domestic violence in Bucharest, Slobozia, Timișoara, Craiova, Sibiu, Brăila, Piatra-Neamț, Bacău, Constanta and Satu Mare. These centres will provide a wide range of services, consisting of medical, post-traumatic and emergency care, psychological counselling, legal assistance and social services.

The first centre for victims of domestic violence has been launched in May 2021 in Bucharest, at the University Emergency Hospital. This is a first step towards changing the perception the perception regarding cases of sexual violence against women and change the way intervention in these situations. Each of these centres will provide integrated services, such as medical and forensic examinations, post traumatic assistance, guiding and counselling to overcome the situation at risk.

The launching of the Bucharest centre is presented in detail on the official webpage of the Norway Grants, available at: 

https://eeagrants.org/news/supporting-victims-sexual-violence.





 
Press release on the organisation of the Webinar on Prevention and Reduction of Recidivism - 30 June 2021

 

Press release on the organisation of the Webinar on Prevention and Reduction of Recidivism in preparation of the implementation of the project „A Safe and Educated Community Undertaking Responsible Engagement – SECURE”- Justice  Programme, Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021

On June 24, 2021 the webinar on „Prevention and Reduction of recidivism" was organised by the Romanian Ministry of Justice and the Norwegian Department of Correctional Services, partners in the Justice programme, funded under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021. It aimed at presenting national perspectives and approaches of international organizations in terms of defining and assessing the recidivism rate and ways to reduce it. Speakers from Canada, Poland, Romania, as well as experts from the Council of Europe and the Permanent European Conference on Probation (CEP), participated to the webinar.

Given that the topic of recidivism has been tackled by two projects financed under the Justice Programme, having the National Administration of Penitentiaries and National Probation Directorate as beneficiaries, in which a method of calculating/determining the recidivism rate will be developed as part of the assessment of trends in the prison population and a strategy for prevention of recidivism will be elaborated, the webinar was a useful exchange of experience and an opportunity for future partnerships and joint initiatives in this area.


 
Press releases - Ministry of Justice - Program Operator - 28 November 2018
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