By: Ali Ahmad Rafei, Focal Point, CBM-T, Balkh
Due to lack of coordination and weak case management system in the legal system, timely handling of cases is a major challenge in Afghanistan. It takes months and sometimes years for the judiciary to decide certain cases. Realizing the gap, Integrity Watch coordinated meetings with relevant departments of courts, police, prosecution departments and bar association to discuss a mechanism to prevent delaying of the case proceedings in the courts in Balkh province. The initiative was welcomed by the stakeholders and resulted in the establishment of a mechanism to conduct regular meetings. According to the agreed arrangement, chief of appeal court will lead the meetings.
While community engagement increases trust in the judiciary, cooperation among police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and courts is key to the effective and timely processing of cases in the judiciary.
Integrity Watch has been working with communities and volunteers to monitor courts in Balkh province since the inception of Community-based Monitoring of Trials program in the province in 2014. The program is enabling local communities to engage with courts through monitoring of open trials and sharing their observation with court officials. This has contributed to the openness of courts and bridging the gap between public and government.