Pashtoon Nahzatyar, Integrity Watch Afghanistan
On January 28th , fifteen community volunteers and a huge number of citizens participated in an open trial conducted by Primary Court of Kabul. During the trial, the participants observed court proceedings which included observing the uniforms of judicial staff, the presence of an advocate representing the defendant, the presence of witnesses and the reading out the sentence by the judge by the end of the session.
Najibullah Ahqaq, leading judge of Kabul Primary Court, indicated his appreciation of the participation of volunteers as citizens observing court proceedings and called it a step towards “transparency”. Mr. Ahqaq encouraged citizens to attend open trials as permitted by law and to suggest improvements. He called the sessions an “opportunity” for citizens observing a trail to share their findings with court officials for the betterment of court affairs.
Humaira Farahmand, one of the fifteen community volunteers, who observed these court proceedings in the Kabul courts, called the session “unprecedented.” According to her, the session was one of the best she has observed during last year.
Despite this court proceeding observation by the volunteers, being satisfactory, the lack of proper courtrooms where trials can take place remains an issue. There is a lack of proper witness stands, defendant’s docks and prosecution counsels’ benches are only a few of the issues regarding having proper courtroom facilities.
To help to make open trials where citizens can attend occur, Integrity Watch works with court officials and communities in Kabul. Conducting fair and open trials plays a key role in boosting the confident of the public in the official judicial system.