Justice Sector Reform Project
In line with the Afghan National Development Strategy and the National Justice Sector Strategy, the project's development objective was to strengthen a centralized state justice system and to increase access to justice for the Afghan people. The project's immediate objective is to enhance the capacity of the justice sector institutions to deliver legal services.
The Project was originally planned to focus on three components: Enhancing Capacity of the Justice Sector; Empowering the People, and Strengthening Implementation Capacity.
(i) Enhancing Capacity of Justice Sector The objective of the component was to strengthen the institutional operational capacity of the justice institutions through targeting of judges, prosecutors and other justice officials in Afghanistan focussing on (a) human capital; (b) physical infrastructure; and (c) information and communication technology.
- Human Capital: i) Creation of independent decision-making bodies responsible for personnel; ii) Review of the selection and appointment policies and regulations for judges and prosecutors; iii) Evaluation of the skills of “sitting” judges and prosecutors. The purpose of the evaluation is to design and implement a requalification program; iv) Implementation of the second phase of the Priority Reform and Restructuring (PRR) program which the SC and the AGO began in 2008; Strengthening training management capacity v) Providing training; vi) Creating legal libraries; vii) Dissemination of Laws
- Physical Infrastructure: The Government of Afghanistan was expected to develop a Capital Investment Plan (CIP), which would provide a comprehensive listing of all the buildings that were to be renovated and/or built. This included court design standards; designs for constructions projects (e.g HQ of MoJ and SC); and rehabilitation and construction of offices and courts; procurement of cars and equipment
- Information and Communication Technology: Under this sub-component the project supported the development of ICT in the beneficiary institutions, including ICT assessments in MOJ and AGO.
(ii) Empowering People The objective of this sub-component was to empower the Afghan people through legal aid and education. In order to be better managed the component was broken into two subcomponents: (a) Legal Aid and (b) Legal Awareness.
- Legal Aid. Under this sub-component the creation and financing of Legal Aid offices in the selected provinces took place. The network of Legal Aid Offices was not only to provide legal advice and representation, if required, but also to collect data information on the services provided to the public. This was planned as a pilot activity for Phase 1, which would be continued and expanded in Phase 2 if successful.
- Legal Awareness. Legal awareness was supposed to provide information to communities regarding their legal rights and obligations under the civil, commercial and criminal law. The focus here was three pilot provinces and a media office in Kabul. The activities were (i) the creation and staffing of a small office of two to four people which will be supported by local consultants (legal professionals); (ii) organizing initial consultations with local community leaders and legal professionals to identify existing legal awareness initiatives and to define the priority themes for the trust-building and training activities; and (iii) developing trust-building and training materials (both material which had been developed under existing projects, as well as new materials).
(iii) Strengthening Implementation Capacity The objective of the third component was to build implementation capacity within the justice institutions (MoJ, SC and AGO), so they would, in time, be able to implement reforms and other activities without as much reliance on international support.
- Skills of sitting judges and prosecutors reviewed and gaps partially filled;
- Training policies and management capacity improved;
- 28 provincial and 3 central legal libraries established in MOJ, SC and AGO and their regional offices,
- 20 librarians hired and 100,000 books purchased;
- 2 local gatherings of Judges and prosecutors;
- 1 International/national conference organized;
- 6 MoJ regional offices and 3 AGO regional offices completed: 24 designs of courts and offices completed with water and power utilities;
- 200 vehicles procured and distributed;
- 40 courts equipped and furnished;
- Networks in MoJ and AGO installed: IT assessment reports prepared by donors and Bank consultant;
- 6 legal aid offices operational;
- 20 lawyers hired