Afghanistan
strengthening the rule of law

Documenting the efforts of international organisations to strengthen the Rule of Law is not possible without touching upon the numerous challenges civilian experts are facing while working in a heavily militarised environment. The photos bring a human dimension to the common effort of the international community to facilitate a transition from years of conflict. Fallckolm Cuenca recalls -
Documenting the efforts of international organisations to strengthen the Rule of Law is not possible without touching upon the numerous challenges civilian experts are facing while working in a heavily militarised environment. The photos bring a human dimension to the common effort of the international community to facilitate a transition from years of conflict. Fallckolm Cuenca recalls -

"I've been a Mujaheed all my life and now you want me to teach justice…"

"Being responsible for training police and prosecutors across the country, I specifically recall one training where I was convinced that we had the wrong audience. A man in particular, did not say a single word during the ten days of lectures. At the closing ceremony he told me – I've been a Mujaheed all my life and now you want me to teach justice…"
"Being responsible for training police and prosecutors across the country, I specifically recall one training where I was convinced that we had the wrong audience. A man in particular, did not say a single word during the ten days of lectures. At the closing ceremony he told me – I've been a Mujaheed all my life and now you want me to teach justice…"
The history
of Afghanistan
is a fascinating kaleidoscope of peoples and beliefs engulfed in a perpetual state of conflict. What its history tells us is that Afghanistan has never been an isolated country. The British drew its eastern borders in 1893 and the Soviet Union supported a rapid 'modernisation' and implementation of socialist reforms in the 1970s and 80s. In 2001, following a civil war and brief but very destructive Taliban government, the country again became center stage - this time in the international fight against terrorism.
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) were established in 2002. The compounds were under military command but housed also diplomats and civilian experts. The Hungarian PRT compound in Pol-e Khomry, Baghnlan, Afghanistan.
A local doctor and his close protection gazing over Kabul from the notorious “Swimming Pool Hill”. Kabul, Afghanistan.
An important aspect of rule of law is enabling the private sector to develop. A carwash in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Street scene in Herat, Afghanistan.

What the
international
community found in the wake of the Taliban was an almost total erosion of all government institutions and their ability to provide some of the basic services to the population. The police and the judiciary were practically non-existent as warlords divided the country into private spheres of influence.
The
United Nations
defines rule of law as: “…a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.”
Following the Bonn Agreement, Germany assumed responsibility for police training. The German Police Project Team providing training at the German center at Camp Marmal, Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.
A police officer next to a police vehicle on a snowy day at Police Head Quarters, Kunduz, Afghanistan.
Police in training at the German training center, Camp Marmal, Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.
In 2013 the UN reported that flagrant violations were taking place in detention centers across the country. Kunduz was specifically implicated. A detention cell, Kunduz, Afghanistan.

Strong
ethnic and tribal
ties continue to define the political map and often dictate the law that rules. The importance given to kin and ethnicity has contributed not only to nearly endemic corruption but also the arbitrary exercise of power. Afghanistan is still trying to consolidate a common identity, as the fabric of Afghan society is a patchwork of norms and regulations that at times overlap but more often conflict. Strengthening Rule of Law has been nothing short of a challenge. It entails working with a multidimensional jigsaw puzzle consistent of tradition, customs, religious beliefs, and remnants of Taliban justice.
Dr. Sima Samar, the chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, at a meeting with international colleagues.
A young female member of the Afghan Independent Bar Association attending a Justice and Criminal Procedure training in Herat, Afghanistan.
Strong
ethnic and tribal
ties continue to define the political map and often dictate the law that rules. The importance given to kin and ethnicity has contributed not only to nearly endemic corruption but also the arbitrary exercise of power. Afghanistan is still trying to consolidate a common identity, as the fabric of Afghan society is a patchwork of norms and regulations that at times overlap but more often conflict. Strengthening Rule of Law has been nothing short of a challenge. It entails working with a multidimensional jigsaw puzzle consistent of tradition, customs, religious beliefs, and remnants of Taliban justice.
Police and prosecutors being taught Justice and Criminal Procedure by a national trainer. Strengthen cooperation with the judiciary was articulated as a strategic objective in 2010. Police Head Quarters, Kunduz, Afghanistan.
A high-ranking official on a visit to a Justice and Criminal Procedure training. The training coincided with the hand-over of the training center to national authorities. Lashkar Gah, Helmand, Afghanistan.
In high-conflict provinces courses were often held at provincial training centers annexed to or within military compounds. A Lynx helicopter departing from the British led center in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, Afghanistan.
Civilian experts rely on military transport to and from the provinces. The inside of a helicopter. Somewhere over Baghlan, Afghanistan.
A young soldier assigned as a “guardian angel” to a civilian expert during delivery of training in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, Afghanistan.
Soldiers departing with a Chinook helicopter from “The Citadel” – the British camp in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, Afghanistan.
A solider maintaining a helicopter at Camp Arena, Herat, Afghanistan.
Fallckolm Cuenca was working in Afghanistan between 2012 -2015 as a civilian expert for the European Union. The photos were taken while delivering countrywide training to prosecutors and police officers together with a team of national trainers. Follow the link for an interview with Fallckolm in the Chicago Policy Review.
Fallckolm Cuenca was working in Afghanistan between 2012 -2015 as a civilian expert for the European Union. The photos were taken while delivering countrywide training to prosecutors and police officers together with a team of national trainers. Follow the link for an interview with Fallckolm in the Chicago Policy Review.

Photo Essay Series

  • Stacks Image 758
    CHIATURA
  • Stacks Image 715
    SWEDEN
  • Stacks Image 717
    AFGHANISTAN
  • Stacks Image 711
    SENEGAL
  • Stacks Image 713
    THE AMERICAS
  • Stacks Image 725
    “1968”
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