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Cablegate: Second Update On Usg Support for The

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Second update on USG support for the
Justice Commission

REF: Kabul 639

1. Summary: The Commission for Reform of Justice
and the Judiciary (CRJJ) continues to make
strides in implementing elements of its Master
Plan, which includes 29 reform tasks and a rough
budget and timeline. The entire Plan has not
been officially approved, which impedes needed
upgrades in donor coordination and commitments.
Nonetheless, the Commission?s selection and
initial implementation of priority actions should
elicit optimism over the possibility of reform
occurring in the justice sector. The USG has
been the primary donor, to date; though, the
Italians are designated to be the lead
coordinating country. Through USAID, STATE/INL
and CJCMOTF, the USG will continue to support the
Commission and will help the CRJJ initiate four
out of the five high priority activities that it
has selected from its Master Plan. End Summary.

Establishment of the Work Plan

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2. USAID, through contracts with Bearing Point
and Management Systems International (MSI) and a
subcontract with the Asia Foundation (TAF), has
been providing assistance to the Judicial
Commission, since its inception. Technical
assistance helped the Commission for Reform of
Justice and the Judiciary (CRJJ) establish a
Master Plan and initialize the implementation of
elements of the Plan. The Plan comports with
both mandates from the Bonn Accords and
Presidential Decree #153 that direct the CRJJ to
operate in the following four areas: 1) Law
Reform; 2) Surveys, Physical Infrastructure, and
Training; 3) Legal Education and Awareness; 4)
Structure of Judicial Institutions.

CRJJ Progress with USG Assistance

3. The USG, through OTI and CJCMOTF, has
assisted the CRJJ with extensive reconstruction
of the judicial infrastructure and equipment.
For example, OTI funded the Kabul Public Court
House. Currently, the USG is also contributing
to four of the five priority areas of the Work
Plan selected by the CRJJ for immediate
implementation. For each priority area, the CRJJ
will establish a working group. The CRJJ has
already selected appropriate lead and cooperating
Ministries, as well as participating legal
entities, organizations and actors. USAID will
provide technical advisors for four of these
priority areas to help facilitate cooperation
among the working group, budget development and
other organizational needs. USAID advisors will
also provide substantive technical advice that
includes methods for research and implementation
of the reforms. It remain unclear how
successful this cooperation will be between
entities, particularly among other Ministries
that may resist elements of the reform tasks.

Summary of the four USG support areas

4. Advisor to the Chairman of the CRJJ: The
CRJJ faces many challenges and multiple tasks.
It is charged with rebuilding the domestic
justice system, which includes assessing the
current state of the system, researching and
proposing reforms and, in cooperation with UNAMA
and the Italians, enlisting and coordinating the
necessary technical and donor support. USAID,
through the TAF and MSI, will provide a technical
advisor to support the CRJJ?s efforts in law
reform and compilation, to organize a process for
public input into decision for reform, to revise
laws and to analyze need for reform the court
systems. The advisor will also provide
administration support to the Commission and
design approaches to training.

5. Property Deed Rehabilitation: Property deed
rehabilitation is considered an urgent issue to
secure mortgages in urban areas and title for
collateral in rural areas. The Ministry of
Finance is charged with the issue and may provide
some funding from the ARTF. USAID will manage
the process by providing technical assistance on
deed registry systems with the aim of proposing
appropriate reforms. The technical advisor will
work with a CRJJ working group to make decisions
about the appropriate technology, draft proposed
amendments on the law for recording deed and
other laws related to land tenure. USAID will
also provide infrastructural support for the
rehabilitation of the property deed registry at
the Kabul court, attempt to preserve property
deeds and modernize the property deed recording
office. This work will build upon current
USAID/OTI-funded emergency assistance in
preserving the property deeds presently found in
two locations.

6. Prototype Legal Facility for the district
level: The physical infrastructure of courts is
a fundamental componento thelong-term plan for
judicial rehabilitation. The CRJJ plans to have
designed a government complex which would
encompass the district court facilities. The
Ministry of Urban Development will coordinate the
design process. STATE/INL will fund the
construction, contributing $200,000 to $250,000.
With USAID support, MSI will hire an architect to
develop an optimal design for a district
courthouse that would accommodate all appropriate
functions for such a facility. The legal
facility is designed to become a demonstration
model and develop information regarding the costs
of such a facility. The building will include
space for the public to watch the proceedings,
for staff to work and possibly reside, a law
library with public access, detention facilities
for criminal suspects, legal aid and a bar
association. The prototype will also include an
incinerator for narcotics, a place for evidence
storage and a center for prosecutorial training.
Currently, CJCMOTF is considering assisting in
the construction of district level legal
facilities. This design will provide a good base
model for that construction.

7. Public Education Advisor: Public awareness
of the formal law in Afghanistan is minimal.
Legal literacy is needed to inform the public,
strengthening democracy and enhance access to
justice. USAID is expected to provide at least
one technical advisor to CRJJ to assist the
public education process around reforms in the
justice sector. The technical advisor will also
work with the CRJJ to coordinate with the
Constitutional Commission on publicity related to
the new constitution after its adoption. The
public education program may include legal
seminars, workshops and round-tables for the
public; radio programs on legal rights and
advertisements in the print media.

Possible future USG assistance to the CRJJ

8. Planning for support for the CRJJ has
proceeded in two additional areas. INL, through
TAF, plans to provide support for a one-year
program in prosecutorial training. Training
prosecutors would inaugurate CRJJ plans to
require training and examinations and pay scales
for the justice sector and tie personnel for
promotion and increases in salary to an
examination process. A second area currently
under planning is USAID?s supported reform in
public administration. Following the
ratification of the Constitution, the
organization of the state and building
transparency and accountability into this
organization will be a pressing priority.
However, the law reform demanded by reform in
public administration is a politically sensitive
area, which involves reform that reaches beyond
the specter of judicial and criminal reform.
Consequently, public administration is burdened
with political uncertainty and apprehension that
hinders the pace and the uniformity of its

CRJJ assistance from other government donors

9. The Italians have adopted the lead on
performing a survey on the institutional status
of the Justice Sector across Afghanistan, as well
as an evaluation of the existing informal
systems. Initial development of this survey was
executed by USAID-funded technical assistance
through the TAF, in cooperation with CJCMOTF.
The survey of Kabul is complete and USAID has
been informed by the Italians that the survey
process has begun in 5 other regions. It is
unclear when the Italians will complete the

--------------------------------------------- ---
Concerns on progress of the Justice Commission
--------------------------------------------- ---

10. Three issues related to the work of the CRJJ
should be monitored. First, the CRJJ needs to
officially approve the Master Plan and release
it, in order to elicit greater donor commitments.
Second, it is important to note that many of the
first approved projects focus more on the form of
the system and less on the substance of law
reform. The political sensitivity around
extensive law reform often slows or stalls its
implementation in transitioning countries.
Third, coordination between the Constitutional
Commission and the Judicial Commission appears to
be strained, as indicated by the Constitutional
Commission?s unwillingness to share a copy of the
draft Constitution with the Justice Commission.
Problems in coordination will hinder the ability
of the Justice Commission to do some of the work
mandated by Bonn, such as the creation of a draft
law on the constitutional curt and the law on
justice administration.


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