To reform laws is to reform societies. At IDLO, this is something that we have had thirty years to learn. And there are no more important laws than fundamental laws – national Constitutions. One of greatest, the Constitution of the United States of America, has served that nation well for nearly a quarter of a millennium. Constitutions encapsulate a vision. In countries struggling to overcome trauma, as is the case of Kenya; struggling to be reborn, as in Somalia; or struggling to be born at all, as in South Sudan, Constitutions respond to a collective need for unity and renewal.
But Constitutions are also highly technical documents. They set the parameters for law and justice in a given jurisdiction. For this reason, they require legal resources and expertise unavailable in many developing nations. By providing those resources and expertise, IDLO is proud to have assisted several countries through complex constitutional processes.
"Experience shows that there can be no gender equality unless women can access justice and dispense justice," IDLO Director of External Relations Judit Arenas has said at the launch of the GQUAL campaign for gender parity in international bodies.
A herd of cows belonging to Bakyt Azizov has trampled over land belonging to Aybek Isaev. As a result, Mr. Isaev’s future oats harvest has been partly compromised. Mr. Isaev is now claiming from Mr. Azizov 85,600 Kyrgyzstani som (US$ 1,340) in compensation, divided as follows: direct damage – 7,100 som; profit lost – 48,500 som; moral damages – 25,000 som; and lawyer’s fees – 5,000 som.
Civil society in Ukraine is well organized and able to exert considerable influence, especially since the Maidan Revolution. It is widely agreed that targeted support for civil society organizations (CSOs) can amplify the success of reforms that strengthen the rule of law and eliminate corruption. With this is mind, we are working to empower CSOs to monitor and engage with the current reform processes in public administration, rule of law and justice sectors.
While acknowledging the importance of national reform efforts, our program in Ukraine emphasizes and assists regional reform initiatives. We are helping develop and implement the reform agenda launched in Odessa, in an effort to position the Black Sea region as Ukraine’s de facto anti-corruption capital.
In Ukraine, as in most eastern European states, the role of the Public Prosecutor is oversized in relation to the Judiciary and the rest of the legal community. The institution is historically prone to abuse of power and corruption, and skewed towards protecting the interests of the state over those of society or the individual. Regard for human rights is scant; fair trial standards are rarely applied. As a consequence, public dissatisfaction is rife. However, current political will to change the system has opened up an opportunity for meaningful reform.
“Having a new Constitution is all very fine,” one guest at an IDLO event memorably said, “but fixing Nairobi’s traffic may be more important.”
Mali’s crisis of 2012-2013, in which two-thirds of the country was occupied by Tuareg rebels and Islamic extremists, was accompanied by brutal rule in the North and a near-collapse of the state. Many victims have yet to see redress for the abuses they suffered; justice remains elusive.
In recent years, the Kyrgyz Republic has adopted a new Criminal Code and reformed the Criminal Procedure Code with the stated aim to humanize the system of law enforcement in the country. The new Codes were developed by a group of dedicated technical experts that have subsequently supported the development of a training program aimed at building the capacity of all key stakeholders - judges, police, defense lawyers, and prosecutors - on the foundational understanding of the codes.
Justice within the context of commercial law is premised on the fact that an effective commercial justice system meets and facilitates the specialized needs of the business community and the private sector at large. However, there are persistent challenges related to the dispensation of commercial justice in Kenya.
Indonesia has a high number of overlapping or contradictory laws and regulations. This results in ineffective administration, lengthy processes and obstacles for economic development. While the Government of Indonesia has taken certain measures to enhance regulatory reform, regulatory functions are currently scattered across several governmental institutions, creating a web of uncoordinated mandates. There is therefore a need for a central body or unit within the government that oversees regulations.
Kyrgyzstan’s new Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code are set to enter into force on January 1, 2019, with the aim of improving the system of law enforcement in the country. Specifically, the new Criminal Code seeks to reform criminal law, procedure and types of criminal punishment, promote the integration of the Code into security measures, institute probation, introduce mediation in criminal matters, and support new mechanisms and approaches for the social integration of persons convicted of criminal wrongdoing.
Renforcement de la chaine pénale au nord du Mali. En 2016, l’IDLO a lancé un programme de cinq ans au Mali, financé par le Gouvernement des Pays-Bas : « Renforcement de la chaîne pénale au nord du Mali ».
An effective prosecution service is critical to the provision of justice, stability and peace in Somalia. But the absence of a robust, independent and competent prosecutorial service has contributed to a climate of impunity, increasing the proliferation of both low-level and serious crimes, including terrorism, corruption and gender-based violence throughout Somalia.
Funding and spending patterns of the General Procuracy of the Kyrgyz Republic (GP) have remained relatively invariable since Kyrgyzstan became an independent state in 1991. Stagnant funding has had negative implications for the GP, and the Prosecutors’ Training Center (PTC) requires support to train and retrain prosecutors in accordance with changing Kyrgyz legislation and international human rights standards. Additionally, gender inequalities within the GP remain a significant challenge.
The Programmatic Framework for the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund builds on Indonesian development plans and continues the efforts of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to support the consolidation of the rule of law and reform agenda. The primary objective of the Rule of Law Fund is to support the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions, ensuring equal access to justice in Indonesia.
Rates of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) remain high in Uganda due to cultural practices, continued internal displacement, and low capacity of the justice system. IDLO is working to advance accountability for SGBV crimes committed in times of or after armed conflict in Uganda.
It is well recognized that discrimination against people living with HIV and affected populations (such as injecting drug users and women in the sex industry) blocks HIV prevention efforts. Discrimination discourages HIV testing and can limit access to care and treatment services. IDLO is working to provide legal information and representation to HIV-affected and key populations in Benin. Through collaboration with local organizations, IDLO is building local capacity in Benin and strengthening the legal response to help those living with HIV assert their rights and address intolerance.