by Christopher Kerkering
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.
Good laws are one thing; implementation is another. Texts and statutes are critical instruments in advancing the rule of law -- but their benefits are limited if those tasked with their application, let alone their intended beneficiaries, fail to understand them. Where a gap develops between the law and what the legal profession makes of it, abuse and injustice will thrive.
As many as 80 lawyers, lecturers and civil society representatives have completed an IDLO-supported, three-month rule of law course in Myanmar -- to find their achievements commended by veteran pro-democracy activist and Nobel laureate Aung san Suu Kyi.
This July as every late July, many Romans fled their city. In their place came hundreds of thousands of international visitors. For the overwhelming majority, the trip was about relaxation; for others, it was about studying and a sense of public mission.
The United Nations marks International Youth Day today (August 12) – an opportunity to recognize youths’ contribution to enhancing their communities and global society. Half of the world population is under 25. Almost two-billion people are under 14, the overwhelming majority of whom live in the developing world.
As a long-term partner of the College of Law at the University of Juba, IDLO helped align the teaching system with South Sudan's new legal context and regional standards. With the majority of its justice sector professionals educated in Islamic/civil law, South Sudan faces the dual task of increasing its overall population of qualified legal professionals and simultaneously retraining practicing lawyers and prosecutors.
IDLO Director-General Irene Khan and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Executive Director James Hospedales have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on non-communicable diseases. The text pledges joint action to strengthen legal frameworks and expand capacity to tackle cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes in the Caribbean.
“Whenever I visited Mogadishu before, I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the airport,” says IDLO’s Somalia representative in the region, Adam-Shirwa Jama. “These days, it’s a little easier and I can even venture out for meetings”.
The Italian Justice Minister, Andrea Orlando, has expressed strong interest in reinforcing his Ministry’s cooperation with IDLO. Mr. Orlando’s comments came as he met IDLO Director-General Irene Khan to discuss judicial and legal capacity development in Yemen. It was the highest-level encounter between the Italian Ministry of Justice and IDLO in some years.
IDLO and Kuwait have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), in what both parties say is a milestone in their three-decade-old relationship. The document provides a framework for the Organization to support a variety of legal and administrative processes in the country, from building the capacity of state lawyers to enhancing transparency in procurement.
Although Myanmar is a Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children in the country still suffer disproportionate risks of early marriage, sexual exploitation, trafficking, neglect and abuse. In order to address these challenges, in 2019, the parliament passed a new Child Rights Law which covers all aspects of a child’s life, including health, education, juvenile justice, children in armed conflict and alternative care arrangements. However, there is still a need to develop rules to guide the law’s implementation.
Corruption is a complex social, political and economic problem which undermines democracy, human rights and governance by weakening state institutions, eroding public confidence and hindering the pathway towards sustainable development. The 2019 Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer found that 80% of citizens of the Bahamas considered corruption in government to be an important issue.
In recent years, Jordan has taken steps and demonstrated political will to reform the justice sector and promote mediation and alternative dispute resolution as means not only to reduce court congestion and shorten the litigation process, but also to guarantee transparent and fair trials. Despite the use of mediation for several years, interest in mediation faded, and it is no longer perceived as a reliable mechanism for dispute resolution. There is therefore a strong need to re-establish mediation as an effective dispute resolution mechanism in the country.
Indonesia's Attorney-General’s Office (AGO) has identified differences between its methods for measuring the budget it needs to handle cases and the methods used by other bodies, including the Ministry of Finance, the National Planning and Development Agency and the State Audit Board. If the AGO's initial budget needs are not assessed correctly, this could potentially lead to a misjudgment of its budget allocation, its burn rate and expenditure, and its budget performance.
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.
Until recently, court processes in the Kyrgyz Republic have not been automated. Manual or paper systems still are required and are the norm although automating all processes has started very actively. According the country’s National Target Program for Development of the Judiciary, automated information systems need to be expanded and rolled out to the whole judicial system, not only within all first instance courts, but also second and third instance courts.
Serbia has recently implemented several judicial reforms to modernize and improve the regulatory framework for mediation, such as the new Law on Mediation in 2014. By implementing the new legal framework on mediation, the number of registered mediators and of mediation cases in Serbia have both increased. However, the Supreme Court of Cassation still registers an excessive amount of backlogged cases.
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.
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.
Legal reform and institutional capacity building have been priorities for the Government of Mongolia since 2005, when a specific Government Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection was established. However, the Government Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection still has institutional weaknesses and has not always been able to effectively implement changes of the legal framework.
Español | English: Mexico has made significant efforts to modernize its criminal justice system, specifically regarding public security and strengthening the rule of law. The current justice system, which entered into force in 2016, is based on the presumption of innocence and includes police professionalization as a public policy.
It is only 25 years ago that Mali initiated its transition from dictatorship to a more inclusive democracy and a more equal society. In many ways it is, therefore, no great surprise that the country has not been able to either transcend personalised power politics or overcome critical socio-economic cleavages.