Office of Criminal Justice Assistance and Partnership: Justice System Partnership

“Promoting justice through peaceful dispute resolution is a cornerstone of long-term peace and stability. U.S. Rule of Law Advisers have the privilege and charge to pursue this goal abroad.” —Scott N. Carlson, INL Senior Rule of Law Advisor 2010 


Present Major Programs:

• Afghanistan

• Colombia

• Democratic Republic of the Congo

• El Salvador

• Iraq

• Kosovo

• Kyrgyzstan

• Liberia

• Mexico

• Montenegro

• Morocco

• Palestinian territories: West Bank

• Philippines

• Russia

• Sudan

• Timor-Leste

The Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), began its rule of law support to the justice sectors of partner countries in earnest following the end of the Cold War, as the United Nations (UN) began expanding its peacekeeping role. Similar to developments at the UN, INL has expanded its support to the justice systems of partner states because support to the police alone did not adequately achieve the rule of law. The breadth of INL’s programs reflects the need for a comprehensive approach to advance sustainable rule of law. INL’s purpose is to advance the interests of the United States and partner states by strengthening these states’ justice sectors, of which policing, the judicial system, and corrections are primary components. The long-term goals of INL’s programs are to improve security, respect for human rights, and conditions for economic and other development that are necessary to ensure the sustainable well-being of each state’s citizens. The following countries illustrate examples of INL’s justice system work. 

Larger Programs by Country

Afghanistan: INL has formed the Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP), consisting of 32 U.S. justice advisors and 45 Afghan legal consultants. JSSP advisors are based in Kabul, Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar, Konduz, and Paktia provinces. Advisors in Kabul work on institutional capacity-building, case-tracking, criminal defense, anti-corruption, gender justice, and legislative reform. Advisors in the provinces focus on police-prosecutor training, justice sector coordination, and public awareness of legal rights. The JSSP has trained more than 2,000 Afghan investigators, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. It has also provided logistical and administrative support to the Attorney General’s Anti-Corruption Unit, which has completed 14 indictments and supports the Major Crimes Task Force. In addition, JSSP is implementing a unified Case Management System that will ensure that all cases entering the criminal justice sector will be tracked and monitored from arrest through incarceration, reducing opportunities for corruption.

Iraq: INL funds and oversees a range of programs in Iraq, several of which include justice system work. The Court Administration Program includes a team of U.S. and Iraqi legal professionals to assist the Higher Judicial Council in developing its administrative, case management, and strategic planning capacity by creating standardized procedures that are incorporated into a networked database, to which all courts will eventually have access. The Iraq Justice Integration Project is intended to aid in preventing erroneous detention or release of defendants by enabling the Higher Judicial Council and the Ministries of Interior and Justice to exchange data on incarcerated persons. In addition, the Legal Framework/Legislative Assistance Program worked with the Higher Judicial Council on redrafting the outdated Criminal Procedure Code. The Judicial Outreach Program utilizes Resident Legal Advisors who are tasked with identifying impediments to the functioning of the criminal justice sector and advising provincial criminal justice officials on systemic improvements. In addition, the Judicial Professional Development Program includes continuing legal education for judges.

Kosovo: INL activities support legal professionals, law students, and Kosovo institutions in the criminal justice sector to promote the rule of law, encourage institutional and legal reform, as well as provide training, program assistance, and legislative assistance. Moreover, they build upon current initiatives, including the training of judges and prosecutors, strengthening the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office to take on serious and complex cases, and improving information technology in court and case management.

Liberia: INL activities include the Judicial Sector Support Liberia (JSSL) program. Since 2008, a JSSL advisor has provided mentoring and training to the Ministry of Justice’s Sexual and Gender-based Violence Unit. This specialized unit uses a victim-centered team approach in which prosecutors work in partnership with police, medical personnel, and victim service providers to build strong cases and minimize further trauma to the victims. INL intends to expand the JSSL program to address additional judicial system issues, as well as further justice sector training.

Sudan: INL aims to develop the Southern Sudanese criminal justice sector to better support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, maintain security, and enhance governance. INL also seeks to support the Government of Southern Sudan through building the capacity of legitimate criminal justice sector institutions in Southern Sudan. INL provides a contingent of 15 judicial, police, and corrections officers with the UN Mission in Sudan, and funds a Resident Legal Advisor who assists with the development of legal education materials and INL engagement with the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development. In addition, INL commissioned a field study of dispute resolution at the local level, including how customary law, statutory law, chiefs’ courts, and government courts interact in practice.

Palestinian Territories: West Bank – INL is cooperating with other donors to strengthen the capacity of Palestinian criminal investigators and prosecutors to try cases more effectively in the West Bank. Working through embedded technical advisors who were former Federal and State prosecutors, and a cadre of Palestinian experts, INL started with a case management program in the governorate of Jenin where INL-trained Palestinian Authority Security Forces conducted a successful campaign to crack down on terrorism and lawlessness in 2008. The first phase of the program achieved its goal of stopping the specter of “revolving door justice” by reducing the backlog of criminal cases clogging Jenin’s courts and improving the ability of the public prosecutors to develop and present cases. INL recently expanded the program to give similar training to Jenin’s criminal investigators and enhance their ability to work with the public prosecutors. Once the entire Jenin criminal investigators/public prosecutors model is complete in early 2011, INL will begin replicating it in several of the West Bank’s other eight governorates. The Canadians and Dutch have adapted lessons learned from the INL program to begin undertaking complementary assistance programs with the Attorney General’s office in Ramallah and in other West Bank governorates.

Hiring Mechanisms

In addition to drawing upon the resources of interagency partners and Government positions, the Department of State contracts with private companies to recruit, select, equip, and deploy subject-matter experts in policing, criminal prosecution, court administration, judicial adjudication, criminal appellate practice and correctional programs. These experts undergo training in the U.S. before deploying abroad. Within a mission, they function under the operational control of the sponsoring organization, which also provides them with an allowance to cover food, lodging, and incidental expenses. The contractors maintain offices in the mission areas to handle administrative and support issues and to assist with programs designed to improve quality of life.