Attorney General’s Office

Landscape Description

Afghanistan established the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) for the first time in 1964.  At the time, the office fell under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Justice Minister acted as the Attorney General.  Following a coup d'état in 1973, the AGO and courts were separated from the MOJ and became independent governmental entities.  According to the 1976 Constitution, crime detection stayed with the Judicial Police and the authority to investigate and prosecute cases fell to the AGO. 

When the Taliban Regime collapsed in 2001 and the Afghan Interim Administration took power, the AGO was re-established as an independent entity of the executive branch. Under article 134 of the current Afghan Constitution, the AGO continues to have authority to investigate and prosecute cases. According to the current Constitution, the police and National Security Department have responsibility of detecting crimes.

Program Summary/Description

JSSP supports the AGO to promote the rule of law in Afghanistan by enhancing the capacity of prosecutors, establishing institutional reform, and assisting in organizational development. JSSP encourages and supports the AGO to develop a sustainable organization responsive to law enforcement issues, emphasizing the ability to conduct independent investigations and prosecute criminal cases in a fair and efficient manner. Within this framework, JSSP helps develop AGO strategy, manage donor coordination, and provide technical assistance. JSSP endeavors to inculcate the AGO with the highest ethical, managerial, and professional standards. Training AGO prosecutors and providing support for continuing legal education are key components of the overall effort. Accordingly, JSSP seeks to develop the capacity of the AGO Education and Training Committee (ETC) and the Afghan Prosecutors Association (APA) to manage and implement training for prosecutors throughout Afghanistan. JSSP also assists the AGO with training and mentoring Internal and External Security Prosecutors to investigate and prosecute human traffickers and safeguard victims.

Project Components

Budget and Procurement: JSSP supports budget and procurement reform in the AGO Administrative and Finance Department.  Institutional capacity building in these areas, both in Kabul and throughout the provinces, helps AGO operate in a transparent, accountable, and efficient manner.  With JSSP’s assistance through training and mentoring to provide awareness of procurement law, procedures and processes, AGO will be better prepared to combat corruption.  

Human Resources Reform: JSSP supports AGO’s Human Resource Directorate to enable it to hire and promote staff based on merit as opposed to long-standing (traditional) family or tribal affiliations. By implementing transparent, civil service-type reforms, AGO’s delivery of judicial services will be more accepted by citizens at large and comply with internationally-accepted standards for judicial organizations. Specifically, JSSP is working to identify training needs and deliver the proper training to treat AGO staff more equitably in the areas of pay, promotion and transfer.

Police and Prosecutors:  The JSSP Police and Prosecutor Advisor works to improve the internal planning process in the AGO. JSSP mentors key AGO personnel to improve their planning skills to operate as a more coherent, efficient, professional and transparent governmental entity and to improve planning skills in order to implement the objectives set-forth in the AGO Five Year-Strategic improvement plan.

Executive Advisor:  JSSP supports the AGO Education and Training Committee (ETC), and Afghan Prosecutors Association (APA) to manage their own trainings, and provide ongoing training, mentoring and logistical support to help develop AGO training capacity. JSSP also helps AGO to develop and regularize a system of appropriate and necessary interagency communication and coordination, both for leadership and working-level staff.

Impact/Accomplishments

  • Participated in creation of Education and Training Committee (ETC) in 2009. The purpose of the ETC is to facilitate and expand AGO training capacity. The ETC consists of 15 members, all of whom hold other duty positions within the AGO and perform additional duties as members of the ETC. Although the ETC is not part of the permanent and authorized structure of the AGO, it has become increasingly responsible for coordinating training support and developing training plans for the AGO.

  • Participated in creation of Afghan Prosecutors Association (APA) in 2009. The APA is a social, independent, non-governmental, non-political and nonprofit association for prosecutors. APA objectives include protecting the rule of law, and promoting social justice and the advancement of professional knowledge. The APA has initiated a series of continuing legal education programs and outreach activities to recruit members and establish chapters in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.

  • Facilitated construction of AGO Darulaman Facility (completed in 2012). The facility was built in the Kabul district after which it is named. It was developed to accommodate AGO Headquarters and Directorates, which had expanded beyond the capacity of the AGO Main Facility. The Darulaman Facility consists of three buildings and provides office space to more than 1,000 AGO employees.

  • Developed and supported Computer Laboratory at AGO Darulaman Facility. The laboratory, also known as the Darulaman Computer Lab, was established in 2013 to provide hands-on computer training to all AGO employees based in Kabul. It consists of 20 computer stations, each of which are equipped with a computer and monitor and are linked to a printer. The computer equipment was donated by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs to help enhance AGO communications and reporting systems.

  • Developed curriculum to teach AGO Prosecutors of Internal and External Security (PIES) to combat trafficking in persons (TIP). Human Trafficking is a problem throughout the world and Afghanistan is no exception. In 2004, Afghanistan became a signatory to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons. Pursuant to this protocol, Afghanistan has adopted the Law on Combating Abduction and Human Trafficking. JSSP has conducted TIP trainings in the Kabul and Wardak Provinces and provided Training of Trainers (ToT) training to certify PIES prosecutors as TIP instructors.

  • Advised and assisted with the establishment of an AGO Policy and Strategy Unit (PSU). The PSU was established in 2010 to develop written policy and strategy detailing AGO plans to expand organizational capacity, improve organizational effectiveness, and prioritize competing mission requirements. The PSU is a standing committee consisting of eight senior AGO officials with the Deputy Attorney General for Investigations presiding. The PSU completed the AGO Five Year Strategy, which was adopted by the AGO Executive Board in April 2012.

  • Supported the AGO to establish the Strategy Implementation Committee (SIC). The SIC was established in late 2012 to monitor and facilitate the implementation of the AGO Five Year Strategy. The SIC is composed of ten members including two Deputy Attorneys General and five former PSU members. The SIC requires its members to monitor the implementation of the Five Year Strategy and provide monthly progress reports.

  • Assisted the AGO Human Resources (HR) Department to Implement Pay and Grade Reform. The Afghan Independent Administrative Reform Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) requires all Afghan ministries to implement basic civil service reform measures. These measures are designed to help the ministries professionalize their workforce. Pay and grade reform is designed to standardize job and promotion requirements and salaries throughout the many Afghan ministries.

  • Facilitated Afghan National Prosecutors Conferences in 2011 and 2012. The World Bank is providing funding for the AGO to conduct annual prosecutor conferences. In the last two years, more than 200 prosecutors from all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces have been able to attend and participate in each of these conferences. The purpose of the National Prosecutors Conference is to better establish communications and reporting between AGO headquarters and provincial prosecutor offices, identify recent policy and organizational changes, and highlight current AGO priorities.

  • Provided support to the Afghan Prosecutors Association (APA) Outreach Program. The APA conducts outreach events to recruit members and establish chapters, especially in provinces outside of Kabul. Over the last two years, the APA has conducted 12 outreach events in provinces such as Nangarhar, Herat, Balkh, and Bamyan. As a result of the outreach program, the APA has doubled its membership and transformed itself from a Kabul-based institution to more of a national organization.

  • Provided furniture and office supplies to the APA to establish a permanent office in Kabul at the end of 2012. Prior to the establishment of the permanent office, APA officials worked out of their AGO offices and were forced to borrow AGO office supplies. Now APA officials can conduct independent meetings and maintain membership and financial records in the APA office.

  • Provided training, mentoring, and logistical support to the AGO’s budget and procurement departments. The AGO faces numerous challenges as it seeks to develop its organizational capacity and implement necessary reform. One of the most critical aspects of these reforms is to adopt more modern budgetary and procurement practices. AGO budget and procurement offices, therefore, have developed standardized forms for provincial offices and Kabul-based directorates to better manage their budgets, to purchase goods and services, and to request the procurement of contracts.

  • Conducted training and facilitated implementation of the AGO Standard Case Filing System. The AGO Standard Case Filing System (SCFS) consists of 23 forms which are utilized by prosecutors at different stages of the criminal process. By distributing the 23 standard forms and ensuring prosecutors properly complete and transmit the forms, the AGO intends to develop a more effective, efficient, and fair criminal procedure.

  • Mentored and provided material support to help AGO Education and Training Committee (ETC) Trainers conduct training seminars and workshops for prosecutors. The Five Year Strategy requires the AGO to develop its own capacity to manage and conduct training for prosecutors throughout the country. Accordingly, the ETC has commenced the development, coordination, and delivery of professional training for prosecutors, especially those assigned to remote and underserved provinces.

  • Provided training and mentoring support to the AGO Human Resources (HR) Director in the areas of computer use, reporting, and English. The AGO HR Director has determined that office automation and the exchange of electronic information will provide the greatest leverage to expand organizational capacity. The AGO HR Director has prioritized training courses and mentoring programs to develop the computer skills and communications capacity of AGO employees.

  • Developed a new training and mentoring plan for senior officials in the Human Resources Directorate. Pursuant to a recent training needs assessment, the AGO HR Director determined several senior HR supervisors lack necessary administrative and management skills. The AGO HR Director has requested JSSP support to develop a training and mentoring plan tailored to HR Supervisors, with the design of developing their administrative and management skills.

Partners

Supporting the Afghan Attorney General’s Office, JSSP works with a variety of partners, including the Afghan Prosecutor’s Association (APA), Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA), European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and the World Bank.

A Primer for Practitioners

Tool to practical introduction to rule of law development in Afghanistan, cross-referencing training and educational support material.

Latest Report

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