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    March 10, 2009 -- The Algerian Ministry of Justice opened a new portal on its website to receive inquiries and facilitate citizen access to legal information. The feature was launched on the Ministry of Justice website (www.mjustice.dz) on Saturday (March 7th).

    "The Ministry of Justice created the portal based on several inquiries received from citizens, who usually have to go to Algiers to obtain legal information. And in most cases, these requests do not necessitate the trouble of movement," said Director of Modernisation of Justice Abderezak Hani.

    The new tool will save time, facilitate citizen access to information, and spare them the trouble of resorting to legal advisors and lawyers.

    Hani described the window as an "important innovation", which supports "the public service policy of getting justice closer to the citizen".

    Algeria began implementing judicial reforms in 2001, following the recommendations of a panel of experts assigned by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to prepare a report on the national justice system. The Ministry of Justice issued over 40 legal provisions as part of the reform, and has recently presented to Parliament legislation aimed at combating e-crime. The draft bill will be debated after the April 9th presidential elections.

    Citizens can use the new web portal to obtain legal information – such as the text of new legal provisions or amendments – or to request appointments with officials.

    "The citizen can obtain a direct and personalised answer sent to his or her email inbox by a cell consisting of judges, legal experts and officials in the Ministry of Justice," explained Hani.

    The Ministry of Justice has also provided its website with a forum "through which a general discussion is organised with citizens on the important issues of the hour. The purpose here is to disseminate a legal culture," he said.

    Reception offices on the level of all courts and judicial councils had already been opened, and these latest electronic tools have come to complement such existing reforms.

    "The opening of the [electronic] window represents a step towards winning the trust of citizens in their justice system," said Sonia Biskere, a media official in the Ministry of Justice. Citizens can now "obtain criminal record certificates and nationality certificates in record time by submitting an application through the Ministry’s internet website."

    Various national media outlets have been promoting the window.

    "I am a computer and internet addict," said Fateh Layadi, an information technology employee. "Therefore, this will save me much time."

    "Will those tasked with the management of the window be able to respond to all the requests they receive from thousands of citizens?" he wondered. "It is necessary for officials in the Ministry of Justice to follow up on this window so that citizens' messages are not ignored."

    Abdelhamid, 40, was affected by the security crisis in the country in 1990s, and confirmed that he has had to travel repeatedly from the city of Jijel, 380 kilometres to the east, to Algiers to make inquiries about the 2005 Peace and National Reconciliation measures. "If this internet-based technique had been adopted since that date, I wouldn't have incurred all these transportation expenses," he told Magharebia.

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    started a topic Algeria - Ministère de la justice

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