Mock trials raising awareness of public about courts in Balkh

Saleem Tabish – Provincial Coordinator, Balkh

Integrity Watch facilitated conduct of a mock trial that was performed by volunteers in Balkh. Six dozens of people from different walks of life including community elders, local residents, government officials, court officials and students participated to learn how a fair trial is conducted.

Twelve volunteers trained by Integrity Watch performed different roles. Dressed in real court uniforms, the performers included a panel of two judges, a defense lawyer, a prosecutor as well as a victim and accused. Following the mock trial, participants discussed and debated issues related to justice in Balkh province.

Mock trial is an effective way to increase citizens’ awareness about judicial procedures and conduct of fair trials. District administrator of Dehdahi Mr. Wali Shah appreciated the efforts by the volunteers and requested Integrity Watch to conduct more of such awareness-raising gatherings in Balkh.

Integrity Watch Afghanistan has been implementing Community Based Monitoring of Trials (CBM-T) program in Balkh for several years. Seventeen Integrity Volunteers monitor the courts regularly based on a checklist of fair trials. The findings from the court monitoring are shared with local communities and with the judiciary through regular feedback meetings. Last year alone, around one thousand open trial sessions and 734 cases were monitored by volunteers trained by Integrity Watch in seven? Provinces.