(KCPW News) The U.S. State Department has assumed a lead role in helping Afghanistan reconstruct a justice system destroyed by the country's civil war. It's help that is sorely needed, says Afghanistan Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabit.
"We need training and skills. Training for the prosecutors and judges more than anything else. The reason is that the 30-year war that we have in Afghanistan has actually destroyed everything," says Sabit. "It destroyed our political, social and legal institutions."
Sabit says the majority of Afghanistan's educated judges and prosecutors are no longer working in the country because they've retired, left the country, or have been imprisoned.
For the last three weeks, the Global Justice Program at the University of Utah's law school has participated in the first project in the State Department's Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan. The school is training Afghan prosecutors in an effort to help them build a legal system in Afghanistan that is responsive to that country's needs, says University of Utah law professor Wayne McCormack.
"It's an interchange of our techniques, and also so we can learn from their system to understand what their needs are. ," says McCormack. "We can then provide information to the international community, who is pumping money into this system, as to what exactly that money should go to do."
McCormack says so far he has found that the greatest needs of Afghanistan's legal system are prison reform and resources for investigating crimes. The Afghan Prosecutor Training program is the first of four components of the State Department project. The others are assistance for female judges; the development of a professional bar association; and training for the role of defense counsel.