Rule of Law Programs in Afghanistan
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) supports the promotion of the Rule of Law in Afghanistan by helping the Afghan government to develop a formal justice sector with efficient, capable, and independent legal institutions, and by helping Afghan citizens to access justice mechanisms and understand their legal rights. Program components are implemented in close coordination with the Afghan government and support U.S. and international justice reform strategies.
Criminal Justice Development:
The Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP) utilizes 58 U.S. justice advisors and 110 Afghan legal advisors to train and build capacity for Afghan officials within the Ministry of Justice, Attorney General’s Office (AGO) Ministry of Interior (MOI), Supreme Court, and Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Advanced continuing legal education training covers a broad range of areas from criminal investigation techniques to gender justice awareness. JSSP has a permanent presence in Kabul, Herat, Balkh, Konduz, Nangarhar, Bamiyan and Paktia. Investigators, prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys from all 34 provinces have been trained.
INL, in partnership with the UK Embassy and the Department of Justice, provides training, mentoring, and logistical support to the Counternarcotics Justice Center (CNJC) in Kabul which is staffed by 37 investigators from the MOI, 33 prosecutors from the AGO, and 14 judges from the Supreme Court. In 2011, the CNJC prosecuted over 700 suspects, with a primary court conviction rate over 90 percent. INL through the Afghan-led Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) supports specially vetted units, investigators and prosecutors pursuing corruption, narcotics, and kidnapping cases by providing them with secure office space, advisory and operational support, and equipment. With support from INL, the FBI and other USG and international law enforcement partners work to develop Afghan investigators’ capacity by providing legal and investigative training to support targeting or apprehending special interest groups and criminal networks. The MCTF has initiated over 240 cases and successfully executed 162 arrests.
INL supports the Legal Rights Office of the Ministry of Women Affairs, and educational programs for Afghan female legal practitioners and women judges. To combat domestic violence, INL supports eight Afghan-run shelters, family guidance centers, public awareness campaigns, and Violence Against Women Units at prosecutors’ offices nationwide. INL’s shelter programs benefit well over 1,000 women and children per year, and are the single largest donor to women’s shelters in Afghanistan.
INL funds three educational grant programs to increase the quality of Afghan legal education. INL brings Afghan Law and Sharia faculty members and deans, along with promising young lawyers, to the United States to gain graduate degrees. Our programs also develop curricula and legal textbooks for law faculty. To date our programs have worked with over 230 deans, professors, recent graduates and students both in the U.S. and Afghanistan, including 40 women. Graduates of the program have set up the first law-school affiliated legal clinics in Afghanistan, and most university legal clinics in the country feature a graduate from the INL Legal Education program serving as the faculty advisor.
Access to Justice:
INL supports the rights of Afghan citizens to access the justice system through a program to open defense lawyer offices in most provinces in Afghanistan, and educate Afghan citizens about their legal rights through grant programs while developing linkages between the informal and formal sectors.
INL funds several publications such as the Rule of Law Practitioner Guide, Shelter Program Guide and Rule of Law Primer for Practitioners which provide a comprehensive overview of various institutions working in Afghanistan and addresses best practices to solve emerging problems in the field.