Canada to commit $30M to Afghan legal system
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2007 8:26AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 6:29PM EDT
Canada is committing $30 million to help reform Afghanistan's legal system. The announcement was made Tuesday in Rome by Helena Guergis, Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, who is representing Canada at a two-day conference.
Guergis is among representatives from more than 20 countries who are meeting in Rome to formulate a plan Afghanistan can implement to reform its justice system after 30 years of tyranny.
"What we hope to accomplish here is, first off, the launch of the process where we can revitalize or strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan," Guergis told CTV Newsnet from Rome on Tuesday.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer were also expected at the summit. The conference has been organized by the Italian and Afghan governments with the help of the United Nations.
Guergis said as part of Canada's commitment to development in the war-torn country, the federal government is committing $30 million to help support projects that will strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan.
The funds are part of the $1.2 billion Ottawa has committed to the country by the year 2011.
"This includes a newly launched program to help train judges, train prosecutors and train informal dispute resolution leaders in Kandahar province," Guergis said.
"This will be an incredible focus on women, and women's rights and human rights issues within Afghanistan."
Afghanistan currently has an attorney general, supreme court and justice ministry but has no national bar association and lacks the proper training for individuals aspiring to enter the legal system.
The country is also plagued by corruption, poor facilities and inadequate salaries for justice employees.
The lack of a proper legal infrastructure has lead to a loss of civilian confidence in the justice system and a lack of knowledge among the general public regarding human rights and citizen responsibilities.
In addition to Canada's leading military role, Guergis is optimistic Canada's contribution to the reformation of the legal system will be significant and will prompt other nations to play a larger role.
"I think that the fact that we're all here having this conversation is progress and success and we can see that the Afghanistan compact is progressing the way we had hoped it would," Guergis said.
Guergis is expected to deliver a speech where she will announce Canada's $30 million commitment to Afghan legal reform today.