Hope For The Rule Of Law – Afghan Attorneys Learning How To Bring Order To Chaos


Publish Date:
June 2, 2014
  • Sloan, Karen
National Law Journal
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Mahmood Nawaz has worked for international organizations pushing for democratic reform in his home country of Afghanistan. A lawyer, he believes that working within the government is the best way to effect the rule of law — no small feat considering its history of Taliban rule, official corruption and tribal customs whereby local councils mete out justice.

To that end, he spent the past academic year in Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law’s LL.M. program, studying anticorruption, human rights and the rule of law. The degree will help him secure a government job back home and give him added legitimacy within the legal system, he said.

The program got its start in 2007 and also hosts training sessions for Afghan lawyers, judges and government officials; publishes the Rule of Law Journal at Herat University; and sponsors a Rule of Law and Human Rights Center also at Herat University. The scholars program has emerged as the effort’s centerpiece and, as of the end of the last academic year, had helped 35 Afghan lawyers obtain masters of laws degrees. (Separately, the State Department supports Afghan legal education programs at the University of Washington School of Law and Stanford Law School.) Officials plan to continue these efforts even as the U.S. military draws down its forces in Afghanistan.

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