U.S. Supports Justice Reform in Afghanistan, South Sudan

Afghans march in Kabul on December 10, 2012, International Human Rights Day, to demand justice in the deaths of loved ones.
Afghans march in Kabul on December 10, 2012, International Human Rights Day, to demand justice in the deaths of loved ones.

By Phillip Kurata,
IIP Staff Writer
Washington,
April 12, 2013

The United States is providing the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) with $59 million to reform the Afghan justice sector and $2.5 million to upgrade the justice sector of South Sudan, the newest country in Africa.

Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield provided the funding figures April 11 when he participated in a conference in Washington on justice sector reforms in transitioning countries.

The assistant secretary was highlighting the State Department’s “growing partnership” with IDLO, which he described as “the only international organization specifically dedicated to rule of law capacity building.”

The United States channels $47 million to fund the IDLO’s work of overall training for the Afghan justice sector and another $12 million for a separate IDLO program to “provide support and training for prosecution of crimes against women,” Brownfield said. He added that the IDLO is the best organization to conduct these programs in Afghanistan at this time.

With regard to South Sudan, Brownfield said the United States contributes nearly $2.5 million to fund the IDLO’s work of establishing a judicial training institute as well as coordinating overall international legal assistance. South Sudan became an independent country on July 9, 2011.

Brownfield said that the IDLO carries out its mission in dangerous circumstances that put its staffers and trainees at risk, such as a suicide bomber attack on a courthouse in the western Afghan city of Farah April 3 that left at least 10 people dead. “Many of these Afghans were in that building at that time as students of an IDLO program,” he said.

“As we support IDLO, as we ask them to perform these missions in some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous places, let us not forget that we are putting them, to a certain extent, in harm’s way and support them when they come under difficult situations,” Brownfield said.

The Rome-based IDLO was established in 1983 and has worked with more than 20,000 legal professionals in 175 countries, according to its website.