“Exercising justice”: Local people in Parwan participate for the first time in mock trial

Abdul Hanan Rahnaward – Provincial Coordinator, Parwan

Close to 100 people including women, community representatives, civil society activists and citizens of Charikar participated in the first mock trial facilitated by Integrity Watch Afghanistan in Parwan province. Volunteers trained by Integrity Watch acted as judges, the prosecutor, the accused, and police officers. The scenario revolved around a hypothetical traffic accident that resulted in the killing of a child.

Lack of knowledge about the court proceedings, law, and justice system as a whole has resulted in low level of trust between the public and the judiciary in Parwan. But that is changing for now as more people are interested to know about the judicial system in their province. Abdul Ghafoor, Head of Charikar Development Council who was participating in the mock trial for the first time said, “Such mock trials are very informative and will obviously bridge the gap between the public and the judicial officials which will increase trust in the system.” Banu Wahid Payenda, a local community representative described the trial as “a learning opportunity” about fair trial guidance.

Integrity Watch uses mock-trials as an effective medium of communications to raise public awareness about judicial procedures and conduct of a fair trial by courts.

Integrity Watch started Community Based Monitoring of Trials program in 2016 in Parwan. Currently, fifteen local monitors representing their communities regularly monitor open trials of Appeals Court of Parwan, City Court of Charikar, and Primary Court of Jabal-ul-Siraj district.