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Cablegate: Approval for Rule of Law Stabilization Program

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #1706 3021621
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291601Z OCT 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 4041

UNCLAS STATE 111706

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID KJUS PGOV PHUM AF
SUBJECT: APPROVAL FOR RULE OF LAW STABILIZATION PROGRAM

REF: KABUL 2932

1. (U) Washington has reviewed the US Government Rule of Law
Strategy for Afghanistan and the revised Rule of Law
Stabilization (RLS) Program, and agrees with Ambassador
Eikenberry's message (REFTEL) highlighting the need to move
forward with a program that begins to address one of
Afghanistan's biggest governance challenges.

2. (SBU) We approve Pillars 1, 3, and 4 of the Rule of Law
strategy, but would like to consult further with Embassy
Kabul on pillar 2 (corrections and detention). We support
Embassy Kabul's plan to implement the Rule of Law
Stabilization (RLS) program, with the following caveats and
requests:

-- Coverage. The revised RLS program plan for Pillar 3,
supporting traditional justice mechanisms, expanded coverage
to 3-6 teams working in as many as 42 districts of four
provinces in RC-South. This is an ambitious expansion; we
look forward to regular reports about the initial build-up as
well as the preliminary field work prior to the six-month
review. Washington understands that the contractor's
ability to field teams in this many districts is contingent
upon security and mobility issues.

-- Regular Reporting. Although there will be a six-month
review, we ask for monthly updates from post on the progress
in a few key areas to give greater visibility on the success
and progress of the pilot Pillar 3 program. These reports
should include:

- Number of teams in the field;
- Number of districts covered;
- Number of disputes addressed;
- Best practices/lessons learned;
- Any additional information post deems important to
assess the impact of the program.

--Status updates on the embedded RLS advisors. Washington
understands that the U.S. Rule of Law Coordinators will be
based at the regional platforms and at the PRTs, and will
work closely with RLS implementation teams to assure synergy
within our justice sector programming. We also are aware
that the RLS strategy proposes to add experts from Muslim
countries/Afghan advisors to U.S. RLS teams, as well as
advisors from non-Muslim countries. We would like regular
updates on how effective embedded RLS advisors are to the
program.
--Six-month review. We request an interim evaluation on the
progress and effectiveness of the RLS at the six month point.
Because Embassy Kabul proposes to employ sole source
contracting, without a competitive bidding process, we find
it essential to have a mechanism that shows careful oversight
of the activities and progress. Washington accepts that
mid-February is the earliest target date by which the RLS
program could start; we ask that post keep Washington
apprised of any delays in meeting program implementation. We
also ask that Embassy Kabul keep in mind the metrics
requirement regarding ROL issues as the contract goes forward.

-- Allocation of resources. Washington understands that the
USD 25 million figure for the RLS program breaks down to 30
percent towards the formal justice sector, 60 percent to
informal, and 10 percent to legal awareness.

-- Washington/Embassy Kabul ROL working group. We anticipate
continued, keen interest in the ROL program from the Hill.
With the conclusion of the Afghan elections and agreement on
a compact with the new government, Washington plans to
provide regular briefings to Congress and will, therefore,
require regular updates from the field. In addition, we want
to ensure that the ROL program receives rapid Washington
support/response to issues requiring Washington's assistance.
For this reason, continued close collaboration between
Washington and the field in this area remains crucial.


3. (U) We appreciate the importance of rule of law
programming for our overall goals in Afghanistan, and thank
post for its detailed and thoughtful work. This is a joint
message from SRAP's office and D Lew's staff.
CLINTON

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