H.E. Farid Hamidi is the Attorney General of Afghanistan. In November 2016, he spoke to IDLO as a special guest at the Assembly of Parties.
I was appointed as the Attorney General of Afghanistan in April of this year, 2016. Building the judicial capacity of Afghanistan is a dire need for implementation of justice and rule of law, as well as for ensuring human rights.
The legacy of our judicial system, especially the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), is a continuation from the Soviet Union era, where the justice system was merely a political tool of the government at the time. This culture continued and one of my main responsibilities, together with the leadership of the judiciary in the country, was to keep the judiciary system away from politics and politicians that try to use my organization as a political tool to limit rights and freedoms of the people.
The other issue was low capacity, or lack of capacity within the organization. Even in early 2016, the AGO had prosecutors who had graduated from the twelfth grade, and with no legal background. We changed the recruitment policy and removed those prosecutors without a legal background and recruited over 400 prosecutors. Thereby, we raised the capacity of the AGO.
When I took up office in April (2016), the percentage of female prosecutors was below 3 per cent, and within eight months, the number was raised above 15 per cent, meeting the gender needs.
The new recruitment policy also addressed the need to be representative, given that Afghanistan is a multicultural and multi-ethnic society.
We also started an internship program throughout Afghanistan, especially in relation to female prosecutors, with the intention of producing a new generation of female prosecutors.
We also focused on building the capacity of the prosecutors, as well as structuring the organization, to enable us better handle cases of victims of domestic violence and meet other legal needs of women and girls in the country.
Another program we initiated is in relation to reviewing the laws and regulations of the country, because the current laws do not allow us to be responsive to the degree required, in bringing justice to the people and implementing the rule of law. We have established a Committee in this regard and they are also reviewing the structure of the Office of the Attorney General.
We have 3,200 prosecutors serving our 35-million population. But, I do not this number is sufficient, given the volume of cases and also the geographic spread. Therefore, we are looking to revise the structure of the organization next year in 2017 and also address capacity development needs.
Having good laws and regulations alone is not enough for justice and rule of law. Implementation is important and for this we require the capacity and capable prosecutors. Then only can we bring justice and rule of law to Afghanistan.