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  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In spite of the Haitian government's stated priority of improving rule of law, a Haitian court's decision not to prosecute former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier for crimes against humanity has cast doubt on the sincerity of that commitment. The failings of Haiti's judicial system are well-known, but historically reform efforts have been ineffective. Improved provision of justice is critical for the creation of conditions for stability and the eventual withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Modernizing Haiti's antiquated legal and penal codes are an essential component of rule of law reform. Some progress is being made toward this end. A greater emphasis is needed on coordinating efforts among international donors and improving interaction with Haitian counterparts to achieve progress on judicial reform.
  • Topic: Crime, Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State, Law
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Anita M. Weiss
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The history of laws affecting women's rights and empowerment in Pakistan involves a com¬plex pattern of advances and setbacks, with the state's efforts to articulate a definition of women's rights complicated by the need to balance divergent views on the place of women in Pakistani society. After General Pervez Musharraf's 1999 coup, a number of factors, including international perceptions of Pakistan, brought women's rights, greatly curtailed by General Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization project, to the fore. Most critical among the changes to women's rights dur¬ing this period was the 2006 revision to the Hudood Laws, resulting in the Protection of Women Act. The incumbent Pakistan People's Party government has passed several important pieces of legislation continuing the progress for women's empowerment made under Musharraf. These new laws focus on sexual harassment at the workplace, antiwomen practices, and acid throwing. Additionally, the National Commission on the Status of Women has recently achieved elevated status. Despite these advancements, new legislation is needed to address ongoing challenges such as women's ability to control inherited land and human trafficking. If the Pakistani state is to make lasting improvements on these and other challenges facing the legal status of Pakistani women, it must find solutions that will not only benefit women in the country but create consensus among Pakistanis on the best and most achievable way to prioritize global rights for women while adhering to Islamic precepts.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Islam, Poverty, Law
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Jason Gluck, Scott Worden, Colette Rausch, Vivienne O'Connor
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Popular uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa are demanding justice, security, and accountability— defining features of the rule of law. Constitutional reform is a priority, but it must be done by legitimate representatives of the people, not hangovers from the past. Principles of inclusivity, transparency, and participation must be at the heart of the process.
  • Topic: Democratization, Law
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kosovo, Nepal, North Africa
  • Author: Whitney Parker, Scott Worden, Shani Ross, Sahar Azar
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict justice mechanisms such as truth commissions, war crimes tribunals and reparations programs have emerged as a fundamental building block of durable peace settlements in Latin America, Africa and Asia. They are relatively rare, however, in Muslim countries recovering from conflict-despite the fact that social and criminal justice is a fundamental principle of Islamic law.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Crime, Islam, War, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Arabia, Latin America
  • Author: Louis-Alexandre Berg
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Civilian oversight ministries are essential to broader efforts to strengthen the performance and responsiveness of security and law enforcement forces. Ministries facilitate coordination among agencies, hold personnel accountable to law and policy, perform administrative functions, shield forces from political interference, and enable civilian oversight through the legislature, civil society, and other mechanisms. Failure to support these roles can undermine efforts to strengthen law enforcement and improve citizen safety in countries affected by conflict or instability. The European Union has extensive experience supporting oversight ministries, having prepared twenty-one ministries of interior to join the EU. The European Commission has assisted ministries in developing countries around the world, while the European Council has deployed civilian missions to crisis environments to establish security and the rule of law. Efforts to develop the laws, procedures, and organizational structures needed for effective oversight ministries face numerous challenges, from limited human capacity to political and organizational resistance, especially in countries transitioning from conflict or authoritarian rule.EU enlargement provided a unique incentive for countries to overcome obstacles to transforming their ministries and improving security sector governance. EU institutions helped translate this incentive into organizational changes by helping candidate countries define a clear structure and vision, deploying experienced experts from EU member states, and managing resistance through coordinated political engagement in support of clearly defined benchmarks. In crisis and stabilization countries, the EU has faced greater challenges. Without a strong external incentive, weak capacity and severe political tensions have undermined assistance efforts. The EU has been enhancing its capabilities for deploying skilled personnel to these environments and for leveraging member states' relationships with countries affected by conflict, to help them overcome political obstacles. Yet the EU has often struggled to achieve the coherence among member states and institutions necessary to support locally driven reforms. The United States can learn from the EU's successes and challenges by paying attention to the role of oversight ministries in the development of security and law enforcement forces overseas. To build its capacity to strengthen oversight ministries and other components of security sector governance, the United States should recruit personnel with broader sets of skills, improve coherence among agencies providing assistance, and deepen cooperation with the EU and other donor countries. Through collaboration in headquarters and in the field, the EU and the United States could complement each other's strengths and pursue common approaches to fostering institutional change in the security sector.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Zuhal Nesari, Karima Tawfik
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP observation in the Kabul court system shows that a significant number of legal disputes are being resolved through a combination of formal and informal justice mechanisms, contrary to the assumption that resorting to traditional dispute resolution bodies occurs only in rural areas where legal awareness and access to courts is low. Specifically, the Kabul courts frequently refer cases to conciliators who are not part of the formal judiciary. This yields benefits for both the courts and litigants: Conciliators reduce the courts'; caseload and litigants receive a cost-effective and expeditious alternative to trials. The Afghan civil and commercial procedural codes specifically allow decisions made between litigants and a conciliator to be formally registered with the court, which may provide a legal model for recognition of decisions by traditional shuras or jirgas. In practice, however, litigants are not uniformly provided with the option of settling their cases through conciliators. Therefore, increased public awareness of the legal option to refer cases to conciliators would provide litigants with the relevant knowledge they need to make an informed decision about the best way to resolve their disputes, and reduce the demand for the already overburdened formal justice sector.
  • Topic: Crime, Law
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Sylvana Q. Sinha
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At least 80% of all disputes in Afghanistan are resolved through traditional dispute resolution (TDR) mechanisms, principally community councils called shuras or jirgas. TDR is therefore impossible to ignore as the primary justice institution in the country. Still, most women's groups in Afghanistan tend to oppose international donor or Afghan government support for TDR because they generally exclude women from participation and are known to issue decisions that violate women's rights. In the spring of 2011, the U.S. Institute of Peace in Kabul hosted meetings to examine the broader question of how women can gain greater access to justice. The outcome of the conversations was a more nuanced view of TDR and women in Afghanistan and a recognition that creative engagement rather than condemnation is a more productive approach to resolving deficiencies in women's rights in TDR venues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Law
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Vivienne O'Connor
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The January 12th earthquake in Haiti shook the justice system. Prior to the earthquake, Haiti had been making steady progress towards improving access to justice.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Hans Joerg Albrecht, Louis Aucoin, Vivienne O'Connor
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP has been working with lawmakers and other reform constituencies in Haiti as they strive to reform Haiti's criminal laws that date back to the early 19th century. In March 2009, USIP commissioned two reports that were written by Louis Aucoin, a professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and Hans Joerg Albrecht, the director of the Max Planck Institute of Foreign and International Criminal Law. At the request of Haitian lawmakers, USIP has also provided copies of the Model Codes for Post-Conflict Criminal Justice, a law reform tool developed by USIP's Rule of Law Program to assist in the drafting of new laws. From June 9 to June 11, 2009, USIP co-hosted a “Technical Workshop on the Modernization of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code” in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the Haitian government and a number of international donors. The workshop brought together representatives from the Presidential Commission on Law Reform, the legal community and civil society, along with international organizations and donors, to discuss the problems with Haiti's criminal laws and how to improve them.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Crime, Poverty, Law
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti