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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Supporting Rights and Justice

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) manages Department of State foreign assistance resources dedicated to the development of host nations’ criminal justice systems and the establishment of the rule of law in those countries. Sustainable reform of criminal justice systems must address all justice institutions – law enforcement, the courts and judicial sector, and corrections – to be effective. Law enforcement entities must have the ability to detect, prevent, and investigate criminal activity; the courts and judicial sectors must be able to handle criminal defense, prosecution, and adjudication of criminal cases; and there must be a functioning corrections system.

Rule of Law Programming: So how does INL support “cops, courts, and corrections” and the rule of law abroad? INL works closely with our embassies abroad to identify needs, develop and implement programs, and monitor and evaluate progress. These programs can take many forms, depending on the needs of the host nation. The assistance most frequently requested is training – whether in country or in the United States - to improve knowledge, skills, capabilities, and expertise. INL also provides technical assistance, including funding expert mentors and advisors to provide real-time assistance and guidance. Equipment, materiel, and infrastructure support is less common, but still an important component of INL’s rule of law programming in some countries. In addition, INL works with international organizations, such as the United Nations, to implement new or support existing criminal justice programs in some countries. For all programming, INL strives to develop sustainable host nation capacity, rather than a system that is reliant on continued foreign assistance.

In addition to its core of experienced program officers working domestically and abroad, INL employs senior police, justice, and corrections personnel with extensive, practical domestic and international experience to assist with these programs. These subject matter experts provide technical assistance, perform in-country assessments, assist with program design, conduct training, and serve as short-term advisors as needed. INL works closely with U.S. federal agencies, such as the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security who have specialized expertise in the criminal justice sector and partners with them and other federal law enforcement agencies to provide training to foreign counterparts and promote regional law enforcement cooperation at five International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs) around the world. INL also utilizes contractors and grantees, many of whom have years of expertise in their fields, to implement criminal justice programming.

INL has approximately 70 formal and informal partnership agreements with state and local/municipal law enforcement agencies, departments of corrections, and legal and judicial agencies (e.g., Attorneys General). These partnerships enable the State Department to benefit from the up-to-date knowledge and expertise of active serving professionals, while also providing partners with an opportunity to interact with their overseas counterparts. For example, in Haiti, INL is partnering with two U.S. police departments to improve the capacity of the Haitian National Police (HNP) to protect and serve its citizens. New York Police Department is assisting the HNP to develop community-oriented approaches to policing and Miami-Dade Police Department is training the HNP to counter drug trafficking. New Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office provided training to Moldovan justice officials on how to investigate and prosecute public corruption cases. A retired judge from the Arizona Administrative Office of Courts, a Denver District attorney and a Denver Police Forensic expert conducted training in Costa Rica on DNA evidence. INL’s works with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and seven U.S. state departments of corrections to deliver innovative training programs in more than 25 countries that assist nations with reforming correctional systems so that they are safe, secure, humane, and transparent, and are able to comply with international standards and norms.

Best Practices in Criminal Justice Reform: While INL’s core efforts are focused on developing capacity in individual countries or regions, INL experts also identify best practices in the criminal justice sector to improve how the U.S. government designs, manages and implements international criminal justice development programming. For example, in 2012 INL, the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and Bureau of Consular Affairs produced a guide to understanding and evaluating prisons for use by Department officials such as human rights officers and consular officers responsible for American citizens imprisoned overseas. INL has documented policies and best practices in a series of programmatic guides on criminal justice programming, gender in the criminal system, and other subject areas of traditional and emerging importance. These guides serve as a practical resource for designing, managing, and evaluating foreign assistance programs. INL’s gender programming recognizes the importance of women’s involvement in the criminal justice system. INL encourages greater inclusion of women as professionals in the criminal justice system (e.g. police, prosecutors, corrections officers), and emphasizes increasing access to justice for women and girls, particularly survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support (IPPOS): In addition to supplying policing experts to serve in UN peacekeeping operations, INL helps prepare foreign police for service in multilateral peacekeeping missions through the International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support (IPPOS) program. International policing is an essential component of UN and regional peacekeeping operations. As of December 2013, over 18,000 police are deployed under the auspices of the UN, European Union, and African Union. IPPOS helps build the capacity of police contributing countries (PCCs) to deploy qualified, well-trained, and well-equipped police officers to international peacekeeping operations. IPPOS has trained over 2,800 police peacekeepers since 2008. We have worked with units from Togo, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nepal, and Jordan in preparation for their deployments to Haiti, Liberia, and Darfur and have supplied major equipment to speed the deployment of two other units to Darfur. In response to the UN Security Council authorization of a new peacekeeping mandate in Mali which includes 1,400 police, IPPOS has developed several new partnerships in West Africa to address this spike in demand for French speaking police peacekeepers. IPPOS support will provide training for police from Togo, Senegal, and Benin preparing to deploy to Mali.


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