Showing posts with label rule-of-law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rule-of-law. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Rule of Law in Afghanistan

Video - RoL and BG Mitch Chitwood. The leader of Essential Function 3 at NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan is assisting the Afghan National Security Forces in aligning their effort with the rule of law, increased transparency, and the fight against corruption. In this 2-min long video posted on DVIDS on December 9, 2015 the general tells us about his job and the progress being made. For once it sounds like we got the right advisor in the right job! Many advisors are poorly selected and trained for their posting while working at the MoD and MoI.

International Anti-Corruption Day - Dec 9th. The United Nations led an international campaign to focus on how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development. I wonder if any progress was made in stemming corruption in Afghanistan?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Climate Change in Afghanistan. This past week the leaders of the world converged in Paris to attend the climate conference. President Ghani attended as well. Read up on the problems of climate change in Afghanistan in "Before the Paris Conference: The state of Afghanistan's climate and its adaption capability", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), November 30, 2015.

New MoD HQs Building. The Afghan military has a very new and large Ministry of Defense headquarters building in Kabul. (RS News, Nov 1, 2015).

RS HQs Dining Facility Named. The dining facility has been named after the late senior enlisted advisor of the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) - SGM Wardell Turner. He was killed in Afghanistan in an improvised explosive device attack on November 24, 2014. (RS News, November 24, 2015).

Air Evacuation of Casualties Harmful? A recent news report suggests that the air evacuation of casualties with traumatic brain injury might cause additional damage to the patients. Read "Study: Air evacuating casualties might do more harm than good", The Washington Post, November 30, 2015.

Russia Helping Out . . . With 10,000 AKs. The Russian Federation has promised 10,000 Kalashnikov AK-47s to Kabul. They are expected to arrive before the end of the year. (Khaama Press, Nov 28, 2015).

'Heart of Asia'. A conference will soon be held to promote regional cooperation in South and Central Asia. The Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process has 14 member nations in the region. Read more in "Security Stability in Afghanistan, the 'Heart of Asia'", The Diplomat, December 2, 2015.

Poetry and Afghanistan. Lots of books are being published about the history of the U.S. military deployment during OEF to Afghanistan. But not many of them are about poetry. Randy Brown has penned Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems From Inside the Wire. Read about this new book in "The poetry of an Afghan deployment", Foreign Policy - The Best Defense Blog, November 30, 2015.

Germany Accepting Refugees . . . Not So Much. The majority of the 140,000 Afghans who have fled Afghanistan this year have ended up in Germany. Why not - it is a nice place to live, there are some jobs available, and the social safety net is way better than the one found in Afghanistan. However, there is just one sticking point. The welcome mat is no longer on the doorstep. Read more in "Merkel: We will have to return people to Afghanistan", Deutsche Welle, December 2, 2015.

Guantanamo Bay Prisoner - "Oops, Sorry About That". Looks like we had the wrong guy. A prisoner locked up for 13 years in Cuba was not the fellow we thought he was. Read more in "Guantanamo Bay prisoner victim of mistaken identity, says US", BBC News, December 2, 2015.

Afghanistan Looking to Central Asia for Internet Options. The Internet continues to see expanding usage in Afghanistan and the country is looking north for increased services at reduced prices. Read "Internet Draws Central Asia, Afghanistan Closer", Silk Road Reporters, December 2, 2015.

World Vision and WASH. UNOCHA provides funding for a project that installs water pumps. Watch 2-min video that provides insight to this program in Badghis province. (UNOCHA, Nov 30, 2015).

Photos of Afghanistan - Cultural in Kabul. Kabul's rich cultural landscape is sometimes overlooked with the news of constant danger. Have a look at some photos by Tyrell Mayfield in "Kabul: A Different View", The Diplomat, November 30, 2015.

More Photos of Afghanistan - Commerce in Kabul. A couple of photojournalists provides us with photos of life, labor and commerce in Kabul. (Bloomberg, Dec 1, 2015).

Political Economy of a District. War is continually present in many of Afghanistan's districts. This is especially true of Andar district in Ghazni province - and the economy suffers from this constant threat. Learn more in "Finding Business Opportunity in Conflict: Shopkeepers, Taleban, and the political economy of Andar district", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), by Fazal Muzhary, December 2, 2015.

'Russian Taliban' Gets Life. A former military tank commander has been sentenced to life in prison for leading a Taliban attack on U.S. forces in Khost province, Afghanistan in 2009. He was a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who stayed and joined the Haqqani Network. (Gandara Blog, Dec 4, 2015).

Plight of Deported Afghan Minors. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is reporting on the plight of Afghan teenagers who are smuggled across the border into Iran to seek employment. While making that journey they are often victimized and end up in unfavorable situations during their employment. Read more in "IOM Highlights Needs of Deported Afghan Minors", IOM, December 4, 2015.

More Female Afghan Lawyers Needed. Women held in detention face a troubling future. Their ability to seek justice is hampered by a lack of female lawyers. (RefWorld, Dec 3, 2015).

MEC Losing International Funding? USAID and other donors are threatening to stop funding the operations of the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) due to corrupt activities such as illegal salary increases, travel payment abuses, and other shady goings-on. Hmmm.

UN Address by Afg Ambassador. H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, the Afghan ambassador to the United Nations, made a presentation on November 30th about the situation in Afghanistan. (YouTube, UNAfghanistan, 20 minutes).

Marine Forced Out - Had Warned of Insider Attack. A Marine officer is being forced out of the service because he disseminated classified information about the possibility of an insider attack in Afghanistan. He tried to warn other Marines about an insider attack that could occur because a corrupt Afghan police chief who was sexually abusing children. One of the child victims subsequently took possession of an AK-47 and killed three U.S. Marines. Read more in "Decision to force out Marine who sent warning ahead of insider attack upheld", The Washington Post, November 30, 2015.

Video - U.S. Army's Human Dimension Strategy. The Army needs a concerted effort in the implementation of a comprehensive human dimension strategy - to include development of agile and adaptive leaders, realistic training, and institutional agility. U.S. Army Center for Combat Arms, November 30, 2015. (YouTube, 5 mins).

Former Detainee Now DGov in Nangarhar. A detainee held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay is now back in the fight; but working for the Afghan government. Read "Once in Guantanamo, Afghan Now Leads War Against Taliban and ISIS", The New York Times, November 27, 2015.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

CSTC-A Dividend$ Newsletter - Sep 2015

The September 2015 CSTC-A Dividend$ newsletter is out. A one-page PDF providing information on three topics. The Afghan Airfield Economic Development (AAED) conference was recently held in Dubai that highlighted opportunities for the private sector to acquire key military airbase properties and assets including Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif. CSTC-A announced in a press conference that $200 million will be spent enabling the ANDSF to transition from expensive, unreliable diesel-generated fuel to the more cost-effective electrical grid. Essential Function Three (EF3) advisors have coordinated a Mobile Training Team (MTT) through the ANA Legal School that will travel the country and target senior leaders and Corps Rule of Law trainers to promote and teach a transparent Rule of Law process.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

DoD Law of War Manual (June 2015)

Rule of Law advisors and military lawyers working in Afghanistan may be interested in a recent publication released by the Office of General Counsel of the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense Law of War Manual dated June 2015 is available at the link below. It is 1206 pages of lawyerspeak!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day in the Life of a RoL Advisor

One of the hardest jobs in Afghanistan is that of a Rule of Law advisor. I have known and worked with several RoL advisors and trainers and they had a frustrating job. On one hand there were the Afghans that had no clue what RoL was (and if they did, had no desire to observe it) and on the other hand were American military officers that brushed the whole concept aside - at least in the early and mid years of the Afghan conflict. Even in a later period of the war (just a few years back) I can recall RoL advisors at the national level working at ISAF being reassigned to other jobs because there was not much progress being made in RoL within the Afghan government, military, and police. It wasn't all gloom and doom for the RoL advisor - there were some success stories and some progress; just not enough.

With President Ghani now running the government and the appointment of new ministers to the cabinet perhaps the Rule of Law advisors working in Resolute Support Essential Function 3 will see the doors open a little wider and be able to assist the Afghans with some measurable and meaningful progress.

Jade Wu, a former Rule of Law advisor in Afghanistan, provides us her perspective on the Rule of Law advisor assignment in "A Day in the Life of a Rule of Law Advisor", International Policy Digest, April 17, 2015. Jade is a foreign policy analyst, author, and lawyer. She has worked on humanitarian assignments in Iraq, Kosovo, Philippines, Germany, and Malawi. She is currently writing a book with the working title "Moments that Flashed". You can follow her on Twitter at @jadejournal.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

USIP Report - Rule of Law (RoL)

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has published a report entitled Islamic Law, Customary Law and Afghan Informal Justice - dated March 6, 2015. The author of the report is Hamid Khan, deputy director of the Rule of Law Collaborative at the University of South Carolina. He previously served as a senior rule of law program officer with the Center for Governance, Law and Society at USIP.

"As Afghanistan's nascent democracy works to establish the rule of law across the country, it finds itself contending with the ways that Islamic law converges and diverges from the tribal norms that shape the settling of disputes outside Kabul. Based on surveys conducted in Afghanistan, this report examines the points of tension and agreement between Islamic and customary laws, looking into both of their pasts to suggest a way forward for the Afghan state, particularly in granting greater rights and protections to women". 
This could be a helpful reference for current or future Rule of Law advisors working in Essential Function 3 (RoL) at Resolute Support Headquarters in Afghanistan.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Paper - RoL and Biometrics

In developing countries people have a stereotypical view about judicial systems being slow, rigid, and secretive. In Afghanistan these three views are prevalent as well as a widely-held view of corruption in the Afghan judicial system. This impression exists largely because of the slow judicial process and corruption within the system due to the unavailability of modern age technologies to establish accountability of judicial personnel. Biometric identification technology can help to establish more accurate and secure identification and thus help the judicial system become more efficient, fast, responsible, and user-friendly. Read a report entitled How Biometric Identification Can Help the Judicial Management System, International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL), February 2015. This report may be useful for Rule of Law advisors in Afghanistan working in the Resolute Support Mission's Essential Function 3 RoL.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Guide to Change Management for RoL - EF3

Dr.Vivienne O'Connor of the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL) has penned a practitioner's guide entitled Guide to Change and Change Management for Rule of Law Pratitioners, January 2015. A good reference for Rule of Law advisors working in Essential Function 3 RoL. Chapters in the guide include: I. Introduction, II. Theory of change for RoL Assistance, III. Applying Change Concepts to RoL - Assessment to Design and Implementation, and IV. Creating a Change Management Strategy.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

EUPOL and Rule of Law

EUPOL has posted an explanation of their Line of Operation 3 (LO3) for training up the Afghan National Police. LO3 is the Rule of Law Component and it is further sub-divided into the Police-Justice Linkages Unit and the Legal Reform Unit. Read more in "EUPOL's new Lines of Operation explained: Rule of Law", January 6, 2015.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lack of Justice Drives Taliban Recruiting

The establishment of Rule of Law (RoL) in Afghanistan is not progressing as quickly as it needs to. There are a lot of factors holding RoL back to include the drug trade, government corruption, ineffective and corrupt police, lack of security, and a corrupt judiciary. These same factors are a major factor in the recruitment of young people for the Taliban cause. Read more in "Afghans Believe Rule of Law Vital to Security", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, December 9, 2014.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bribery Gets You Day in Court in Afghanistan

The international community continues to pour money into Afghanistan in an effort to improve the police, judiciary and rule-of-law. However, progress is being made at a snail's pace. To get any results from a court in Afghanistan a citizen must wait, and wait, and  . . . or pay a bribe. Read more in "Donations buy justice in Afghanistan?", Aljazeera, December 3, 2014.

Traditional Justice in Afghanistan

There are three justice systems at work in Afghanistan. One is the Afghan government's judicial system which is under-funded, under-resourced, inefficient, incompetent, and extremely corrupt. A second is the "traditional justice system" that has existed for centuries in Afghanistan based at the local level. The third is the Taliban "shadow" judicial system; judged by many to be quick, fair, and harsh. There are supporters and detractors about the traditional justice system; which incorporates the use of jirgas and shuras. Read more in "How Fair is Traditional Justice in Afghanistan", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, December 4, 2014.

Friday, October 31, 2014

ISAF Legal Advisors Meet Afghan Counterparts

The Legal Advisors for ISAF met with their Afghan counterparts at a conference in Kabul. Read more in this ISAF News release (October 30, 2014).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book - "Rule of Law in Afghanistan"

An important new resource is now available for those who are conducting the Security Force Assistance (SFA) mission in Afghanistan. The Rule of Law in Afghanistan is a primer for practitioners. The author, Kristine Ziems of Touchpoint International Development Group, is an attorney and consultant specializing in legal development in emerging democracies. She wrote the primer in conjunction with (funding was provided) the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs' Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The primer is designed to provide a practical introduction to the rule of law development in Afghanistan. The topics covered by the Primer, as outlined below, range from the structure of the Afghan Government and the criminal justice system - including Shari'a law and traditional dispute mechanisms in Afghanistan, to efforts to combat corruption, counter narcotics, and develop the Afghan National Police. The Primer is a valuable tool for practitioners working in Afghanistan as well as policy and decision makers. The Primer outlines current issues, providing a historical context, but also with our international partners. The report is dated February 2014. It is available on at the below link:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Women and RoL in Afghanistan

A leading women's rights advocate in Afghanistan provides us with information on the great progress made in women's rights and the rule of Law. However she is worried that the international community will walk away from Afghanistan without finishing the work that needs to be done to solidify the gains. The author is Manizha Naderi, the executive director of Women for Afghan Women (WAW), works in Afghanistan providing counseling and mediation to victims of domestic violence, forced and underage marriages, rape and sex trafficking throughout Afghanistan. Read her essay in "New Threat to Afghan Women", The Cairo Review of Global  Affairs of the American University of Cairo, October 19, 2014.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CJIATF 435 Shuts Down

Combined Joint Interagency Task Force (CJIATF) 435 has deactivated. The deactivation ceremony was held on September 29,2014 at Bagram Air Field (BAF). Its four-year mission training, advising, and assisting the Afghans in development of rule of law functions is over. It was also assisting the Afghan National Army in maintaining secure custody and humane treatment of detainees and U.S. Law of Armed Conflict detention operations during its five-year mission. Rule of Law (RoL) operations is not in the forefront of combat operations but is essential to create a stable Afghanistan. CJIATF 435 played a role in the establishment of the Afghan National Security Justice Center (NSJC) in Parwarn - a centralized location for pre-trial confinement, investigation, prosecution, and post-trial incarceration of insurgents threatening Afghanistan's national security. A Rule of Law Development Team (RoLDT) will assume many of the functions of CJIATF 435 - but on a smaller scale. The RoLDT will continue to mentor Afghan investigators, prosecutors, judges, and military police at the NSJC through 2016. (Source "CJIATF 435 holds inactivation ceremony", ISAF News, September 29, 2014).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

RoL Training for Afghan Women

The International Security Assistance Command (ISAF) recently conducted Rule of Law (RoL) training for Afghan women working as prosecutors, intelligence analysts, and interrogators. The one-day training event was held in September 16th, 2014. The training consisted of evidence collection, intelligence gathering, crime scene collection, preservation and recovery of evidence, as well as police and prosecution cooperation. The training event is an attempt to increase the networking opportunities with like-minded professionals to improve crime scene investigation techniques that will lead to eventual prosecution of criminals and their networks. The move to warrant-based targeting and prosecution supports the establishment of Rule of Law in a counterinsurgency environment. Read more on this training event in "Afghan women attend first Rule of Law training", ISAF News, September 17, 2014.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Paper - Rule of Law in Military Operations

Thomas L. English, a retired Army officer, has wrote a paper posted on Small Wars Journal entitled "The Rule of Law in the Context of US Military Operations" (published September 16, 2014). The paper is based on " . . . personal observations and perceptions from participation in the leadership of the Legal Operations Directorate for CJIATF (Combined Joint Interagency Task Force) 435 from September 2010 to May 2011". CJIATF 435 used the combination of the military organizations with civilian agencies such as the Departments of State, Justice, Agriculture and others. The paper addresses a number of topics to include "Internal ROL within Military Organizations", "External ROL in Military Operations", "CJIATF 435: External ROL in Afghanistan", CJIATF-435's "Legal Operations Directorate", "Detainee Review Boards", and "Afghan Prosecutions". Learn more about Rule of Law.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

State Dept Justice Programs in Afghanistan Need Oversight

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has published a report entitled Support for Afghanistan's Justice Sector: State Department Programs Need Better Management and Stronger Oversight, SIGAR 14-26 Audit Report, January 2014. According to SIGAR " . . . the Department of State has spent at least $223 million on justice sector development programs in Afghanistan to train Afghan justice sector personnel such as judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys". The report finds some flaws in the management of the programs and in the oversight to ensure that the implementing partners are satisfying the contractual requirements and meeting the intent of the projects. You can read or download the report at the following link.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Transitional Justice in Afghanistan

The post 9/11 transitional justice progresses and failures at the policy and practical levels in Afghanistan are analyzed in a paper entitled "Transitional Justice and the Culture of Impunity in Afghanistan", Atlantic Community, January 8, 2014. The paper looks at the reasons that a concept of justice has not taken hold in Afghanistan - putting the blame on the Afghan government, warlords, insurgents, corruption and political rivalries.