At a Glance
- Daily Use:
- Intra-court communications
- Prisoner testimony
- Police investigations
- Witness testimony
Polycom Delivers a Secure and Reliable Unified Communications Network at the Ministry of Justice of Slovenia
The Republic of Slovenia lies at the heart of Europe where the Alps and the Mediterranean meet the Pannonian plains and the mysterious karst. To the north is Austria, to the east Hungary, to the south Croatia, and to the west Italy. Slovenia became an independent state in 1991, and has since established an international position and reputation as a democratic, stable and successful central European country. Today, close to two million people live in Slovenia, which became a member of the European Union in 2004.
The Ministry of Justice embarqued on an ambitious project to implement a video conferencing solution in the judicial systems, connecting county courts, social work centers, correctional facilities and the police force. The project is part of E-justice projects in Slovenia and was co-financed by the European Social Fund. They found that Polycom offers the most comprehensive, secure and reliable next-generation platform to foster coordinated and informed decision-making and responses, whilst promoting enhanced operational efficiency and sustainability. The Ministry implemented this solution in accordance to EU Council recommendation project under which all EU Member States should strive to facilitate and promote contacts between judicial authorities and the Member States by means of video conference.
Unified Communications: Secure and Reliable
The project was designed and implemented by Polycoms’ authorised Partner in Slovenia, NKT. In the initial stage Polycom® HDX® 8000 room telepresence solutions with dual cameras were installed in each of the District Courts, 11 Centers for Social Work, and in the maximum security correctional facility, Dob. In addition to the fixed installation, the Ministry of Justice also has three mobile units that enable them to convert any meeting room into a teleconference room, quickly and effectively.
To provide intuitive, high-quality multipoint conferencing to all participants, the video conferencing environment is based on the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform which includes the Polycom® RealPresence® Collaboration Server (RMX® 2000) with a PRI interface allowing connection with the remaining legacy video conference systems. All court proceedings can be recorded using Polycom® RealPresence® Media Manager (RSS™ 4000). The recordings are securely stored according to legal requirements on the RSS. To manage all components, the Polycom® RealPresence® Resource Manager (CMA® 4000) is used.
The telepresence program is a very important asset for the Slovenian Ministry of Justice, and the benefits of active use of video conferencing systems are demonstrated every day. The platform is used for the examination of witnesses, experts, children, patients in hospitals or nursing homes, prisoners, and other participants in the proceedings—all at a distance, therefore saving time and costs for all the departments and persons involved. The Minister of Justice, Aleš Zalar explains: “Video collaboration allows us to expedite court procedures, by bringing all parties face-to-face while avoiding timely and costly travel.”
The biggest savings are shown in cases of proceedings involving cross-border elements, where the hearing of parties or witnesses abroad can now be done using video collaboration.
One very important enhancement brought by the telepresence program is the conveyance of testimonies of children and/or victims of sexual or other violence, whose presence in court is now no longer necessary, greatly relieving the psychological pressure on them. In such cases, the use of video conferencing technology proves to be more appropriate, and less difficult for the child. The Minister of Justice confirms “The children are no longer exposed to direct contact with the courts, judicial proceedings, and their aggressor which makes the act of testifying safer for the victim.” The telepresence solutions are also used by the police as a safe communication channel with witnesses in the witness protection program.
New Applications Everyday
Today, Polycom telepresence solutions are used in all types of legal proceedings. Every time an interview is required with a person located in a remote location, the telepresence solution facilitates with cost-effective collaboration. In judicial proceedings, audio evidence and pictures are often presented using the Polycom platform.
Administrations Working Together
The Polycom equipment was a key element in facilitating the preparation of a project that advocates for the right of child victims of violence. The project was a joint venture with the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s office, several centres for Socialwork, Administration of the Prisons, and numerous NGOs.
The Effects of Collaboration
According to the Ministry of Justice, the short-term benefits of the project are already visible. Integration of the Slovenian justice conferencing network in the EU means improved, simplified, and more effective cooperation on international judicial assistance. The use of video conference equipment in specific cases will continue to improve the safety of court proceedings and assure adequate protection of witnesses exposed to threats originating from different forms of crime.
“The children are no longer exposed to direct contact with courts, and their aggressor. They may now testify from a secure and removed location.”
Aleš Zalar, Former Minister of Justice, Republic of Slovenia