International Development Law Organization

Legal Reform

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.

Kyrgyzstan: From Court TV to e-Justice

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.

Empowering civil society for reform

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.

Criminal Justice Reform

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. 

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Key Initiatives

  • 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.
  • 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.
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