Skip to Content

PARJ – Programme to Support Justice Reform
Strengthening the initial and continuous training of magistrates and justice officials and assisting with the restructuring of the Department of Penitentiary Administration and Criminal Affairs

Credit: Mohamed Niokane


The Programme to Support Justice Reform aims to improve the rule of law in Mauritania by improving governance and the protection of human rights.
  • €2.3m
  • 13/01/2020
  • 29 months

Reforming the justice system to improve the rule of law

The Programme to Support Justice Reform in Mauritania aims to improve the rule of law by improving governance and the protection of human rights. It has been entrusted to the Public Interest Group, Justice Coopération Internationale (JCI), which joined Expertise France on 1 January 2021 and is financed by the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

It has two specific objectives:

1) The comprehensive reform of Mauritania’s judicial and penitentiary system, with the aim of making it more effective and more respectful of human rights;

2) The promotion of an independent, credible and gender-sensitive judiciary close to citizens.

Four areas of operation

The activities of PARJ are based on four areas of operation:

1) Strengthening the management capacities of the Ministry of Justice and the implementation of the sectoral policy;

2) Improving the functioning of the penal and penitentiary chain;

3) Improving access to justice;

4) Strengthening judicial and penitentiary facilities.

The 18 activities implemented will make it possible to achieve the outcomes expected by PARJ:

• A strengthening of the initial training programme for magistrates and court staff at the National School of Administration, Journalism and Magistrature;

• A strengthening of continuous training programmes for justice professionals (magistrates and court staff) and the creation of an analysis and research laboratory;

• The restructuring and development of the Department of Penitentiary Administration and Criminal Affairs (DAPAP) of the Ministry of Justice;

• The humanisation of prison conditions, with the pilot targets of Dar Naim prison and the central prison in Nouakchott.

Partnership-based action for Mauritanian institutions

The programmes financed by the previous European Development Fund showed that the active participation of all the partners is required for the definition and implementation of the activities in order to ensure the ownership and sustainability of the outcomes. It is essential for the relevant institutions to be involved at the highest level in order to support the implementation of the legislative measures.     

PARJ is consequently working closely with the Mauritanian institutions. The activities implemented will benefit all the actors in the penal and penitentiary chain: Ministry of Justice, National School of Administration, Journalism and Magistrature, courts, prisons, justice professionals, professionals working in the prison administration (DAPAP prison staff, national guards assigned to prison supervision, future prison service), inmates and litigants.

The PARJ news

June 2021: Training in court management

A training workshop on court management gathered 20 Mauritanian heads of jurisdiction, prosecutors and heads of court from 8 to 11 June 2021 in Nouakchott.

An international and a national experts led the training to support courts in improving their organisation to offer quality justice, improve their functioning and meet the expectations of judicial actors as well as citizens. It also promoted interconnection between judges and court staff and encouraged them to collaborate on court organisation matters.



March 2021: Towards more professional initial training for court staff  

In 2018, the National School of Magistracy and Journalism in Mauritania (ENAJM) launched a major project to overhaul initial training for magistrates and court staff with the preparation of new training programmes and a course guide. The main challenges lies in moving towards practical training that effectively prepares for these functions, with content closely related to their specific characteristics. The new training programmes are being tested with the current classes and can, through an evaluation, be closely adjusted to the needs.

A mission was conducted from 22 to 26 March 2021 by Mr. Pascal CERNIK, an expert, with Mrs. Virginie Pagnon, the project coordinator. The expert focused on the organisation and evaluation of the courses for the initial training of court staff. The objective was for the course guide prepared by the ENAJM in 2019 to be fully operational and for the ENAJM to adopt a methodology, process and tools for the organisation and evaluation of courses.

Meeting with the National Union of Judicial Officers in Nouakchott

Meeting with the President of the Court of Moughataa Tevragh Zeina in Nouakchott


March 2021: Submission of expertise reports

The head of the National School of Administration, Journalism and Magistrature received the two reports realised by the international experts recruited by Expertise France to experiment and assess the initial training programmes of magistrates and court staff.

As part of an inclusive approach, the experts have been able to have discussions with the PARJ main focal point, the Human Resources Department of the Ministry of Justice, various trade unions and associations of magistrates and court staff as well as with the heads, teachers and students of the school.


Photos: Mohamed Niokane - Expertise France