The Federal Republic of Germany
Germany is the European Union’s most populous nation with 82 million inhabitants. Its territory encompasses roughly 357,000 square kilometres, stretching from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps in the south. Some of the largest European rivers – the Rhine, the Danube and the Elbe – flow through Germany.
The German economy is the largest in the European Union and the fourth-largest in the world. Germany is the world’s second-strongest exporting nation. Apart fromthe country’s high-profile global players, the industry-driven economy alsoboastsnumerous world leaders from the small and medium-sized business sector. Important industries include vehicle manufacturing, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemicals, environmental technology and nanotechnology. Germany is an attractive location for foreign investors. The world’s 500 largest investors are represented in the country, alongside some 45,000 foreign businesses.
Since 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany has been a democratic parliamentary federation consisting of 16 Länder (states), each with its own constitution, parliament and government. The highest government authority lies with theFederation. In addition to the German Bundestag (Federal Parliament), the Bundesrat (Federal Council) of delegates from Länder governments also participates in the legislative process at the federal level. The Basic Law – Germany’s constitution –forms the legal and political foundation of government. It binds legislation to the constitutional order. Germany is a member of important European and other international organizations. The Federal Republic of Germany is a founding member state of the European Union (EU) and has been a full member of the United Nations (UN) since 1973.
The German Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces) engages in foreign missions that are mandated by the UN and conducted by NATO and the EU.German is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union.
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Responsibility for the administration of justice (i.e. for the courts and public prosecution offices) lies mainly with the individual Federal Länder. This follows from the general principle of Article 30 of the Basic Law,which provides that the exercise of state authority and the discharge of state functions are the responsibility of the Federal Länder, to the extent that the Basic Law does not mandate or allow a different rule. Article 92 of the Basic Law places this in concrete terms for the judiciary.
The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) is primarily a ministry of legislation and advice. It drafts legislation in the fields of law assigned to its remit, mainly in the fields of civil law, commercial and economic law, criminal law and procedural law of the different jurisdictions. The tasks of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection also include performing legal scrutiny of legislation drafted by other Ministries in terms of compatibility with constitutional law and the legal system as a whole, as well as in terms of compliance with formal drafting requirements to ensure uniformity and the use of legal language that is as clear as possible.
Germany and the EU
Germany was one of the founding members of the European Union (1952). It became a member of the Schengen area when it was created in 1985 and has been a member of the eurozone since its launching in 1999. Germany has 99 seats in the European Parliament and appoints one Commissioner, i.e. a member of the European Commission.
Germany and the Rule of Law Initiative
Since its creation in 2008, the EU Rule of Law Initiative in Central Asia has been coordinated by Germany together with France.
Within Germany, the Initiative is coordinated by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, which has primary responsibility.
Germany has Embassies in the capitals of all five Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as a Consulate General in Almaty, Kazakhstan. German diplomats in Central Asia contribute to the RuleofLaw Platform’s success by actively supporting the project and by participating in its activities.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has supported legal and judicial reforms in Central Asia since the mid-1990s. Cooperation in the field of the rule of law is designed to improve the performance of the justice sector and thereby promote economic activity. It is part of the German contribution towards implementing the EU’s Rule of Law Initiative. The ongoing programme, which is conductedin all five Central Asian countries byDeutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the BMZ, focuses on providing advice on civil and administrative law. Judges and other judiciary staff are trained in the application of reformed laws based on the revised Code of Civil Procedure of all the Central Asian countries. In the field of administrative law, the emphasisis on giving legislative advice since these laws have, for the most part, not yet been codified. The programme has produced model laws such asthe rules of administrative procedure whichprovidethebasis for the administrative procedural law currently being drafted for Kyrgyzstan in cooperation with Kyrgyz experts.
The German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ)– a non-profit organization mandated by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection–commencedits activities in Central Asia in 2009, starting with the Republic of Uzbekistan. Since then, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan have also become partner states. The cooperation projects include the provision of legal consultancy services for the judicial sector. IRZ consultations cover various fields of law. With the support of German experts, the IRZpromotes capacity-building by organising workshops, seminars, conferences and study trips. The partner institutions in the Central Asian countries represent differentparts of the justice system and include justice ministries, judicial training academies, courts, parliamentary bodies and public prosecutors. Collaboration takes varying forms depending on the particular needs.
In Uzbekistan, the IRZ has focused mainly on legislative procedure, civil and economic law, criminal law and administrative law. The EC-funded grant project “Support to Criminal Judicial Reforms in Uzbekistan”,which the IRZ is implementing as the lead contractor,is aimed at making the rule of law more effective by supporting reforms in the Uzbek criminal justice sector. In Kazakhstan, criminal law and criminal procedure law are top priorities, as are constitutional law, administrative law, civil and economic law. The activities in Kyrgyzstan have concentrated on law-making issues, state organization and judicial administration. In Tajikistan, there has beenongoing support for the amendment and finalization of the coercive execution law. Consultancy serviceshave also been provided on investment law and the legislative process.
Germany and the Rule of Law Platform’s work agenda
The close cooperation between the GIZ programmeand the Rule of Law Platform is mainly centred on the field of administrative law. At the 2011 international conference on administrativelaw, the participating countries expressed anintention to reform their administrative legislation. Several working group sessions were organized in 2012 and 2013 in conjunction with the Platform. Kyrgyzstan has subsequently begun drafting a corresponding law. In Kazakhstan and Tajikistan,joint training sessions on current issues concerning the application and reform of administrative law have been carried outfor law clerks (Kazakhstan, 2012) and judges (Tajikistan, 2013). Furthermore, a study visit to Germany, Latvia and France, followed by a period of research at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law in Heidelberg,was implementedfor selected lawyers from Central Asia in 2013. Cooperation with Uzbekistan will be intensified in 2014.
The German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection invitedthe IRZ to participate in the Rule of Law Platform with the aim of developing rule-of-law structures in Central Asia.In 2013, the IRZ and the Platform jointly organized training sessions on law-drafting techniques and administrative law in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Rule of Law Platform Stakeholders in Germany
In addition to GIZ, the IRZ and the three federal ministries working to coordinate the Rule of Law Initiative within Germany, expertise has also been supplied on a number of occasions by various public and academic institutions, law firms and legal organizations which have been involved with Platform activities.
Experts for the Rule of Law Platformhave been provided by theFederal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Kiel, the Courts of Bremerhaven and Bremen, the Federal Administrative Court and the Administrative Court of Karlsruhe have also recommended some of their members or former members.
With support from GIZ, the study visit of German administrative courts and institutionsserved to establish working contacts with the Citizens’ Office in Frankfurt (ZentralesBürgeramt).
Also with support from GIZ, the administrative law research visit to German academic institutions included activities at the following institutions: Christian-Albrechts-Universitätzu Kiel, HochschuleRheinMain in Wiesbaden, Hochschule Wismar,Osteuropa-Institut der FreienUniversität Berlin, InstitutfürOstrechtMünchene.V,Universität Bremen, MaxPlanck InstitutesforComparative Law and International Law in Hamburg and Heidelberg, Universität Passau, and the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) at Karlsruhe. Lectures were also held at the following law firms in Frankfurt: SZA Schilling, Zutt&Anschuetz and BeitenBurkhardt.