A strong, independent and effective justice sector is essential to build citizens’ confidence in the rule of law. This principle, that we have helped codify in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, explicitly calls for building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
To achieve this goal, IDLO works to enhance judicial actors’ competencies, change management and organizational work processes. We also help to improve infrastructure, increase transparency and ensure independence of courts from political and private interests.
In many countries, the breakdown of rule of law has resulted in political instability and conflict. For us, restoring the rule of law by building – or rehabilitating – justice institutions, advancing legal and policy reform and strengthening knowledge and skills is a crucial contribution to promoting stability and development. Wherever there are weaknesses in judicial institutions, we strive to strengthen them through technical assistance and capacity building, policy advice and participatory processes involving both institutional as well as civil society actors.
IDLO promotes and contributes to the drafting of laws and policies that clearly define the independence, responsibilities and accountability of the justice sector. We also help improve the capacity of judicial institutions to coordinate, consult, plan and monitor progress, and enable them to address corruption, abuse and arbitrariness.
In 2015, we carried out institution building activities in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Ukraine.
In 2015, IDLO continued to provide basic and specialized legal training for the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Office of the Attorney General, Supreme Court and Afghanistan Independent Bar Association. We also worked to create conditions for target institutions to sustainably manage in-house continuing professional development.
Through our programs, IDLO provided training for over 2,600 justice sector professionals – including judges, prosecutors, criminal investigative police and defense lawyers – in all 34 provinces.
IDLO also continued to assist former training participants in their daily functions, providing over 5,000 hours of one- on-one follow-up coaching sessions to nearly 700 justice professionals, in line with individually set objectives and capacity development plans based on needs identified with beneficiaries and their supervisors.
As a result of JTTP training, beneficiary justice professionals are showing increased competence in their understanding and application of the law in the workplace. For trainings undertaken in 2015, post-test results on knowledge levels showed an average score of 83%, with an average improvement of 35% from baseline pre-test scores. Similarly, trainings undertaken under NL- NJSS demonstrated the effectiveness of IDLO’s training approach. Post-training evaluations conducted at three- and six-month intervals after the completion of NJSS trainings showed scores of 73% and 61% respectively, compared to a baseline of 34%.
IDLO also measured performance changes resulting from JTTP trainings, showing significant behavioral changes in training graduates, with 54% of them meeting the highest levels of performance requirements when they are back at their jobs. A full description of the assessment, its methodology and results can be found here.
In support of transition of training capacities to national institutions, IDLO worked to foster the concept of continuing professional development among the institutions’ senior leadership. In early May 2015, IDLO held a transition workshop to engage target institutions at the management and operational levels with a view to building institutional ownership of the transition roadmap. The workshop was followed by the visit of IDLO’s Director-General Irene Khan, which included discussions with senior government officials and a meeting with Afghanistan’s President. With support from IDLO, target institutions have formally established in-house training departments, which have reached different levels of maturity. IDLO further built their capacity through training and coaching on Curriculum Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Training of Trainers, and refurbished training rooms. While some are still working on their set-up and internal recruitment, others have reached more advanced stages of independence and have already began delivering their own Continuing Legal Education courses in Kabul and the provinces.
IDLO also continued to support the Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) in its public outreach work, with the aim to increase public awareness of rights and the formal legal system. In particular, IDLO provided material and technical support for AIBA to conduct 36 public awareness campaigns in the provinces of Balkh, Herat, Kabul, Kunduz and Nangarhar. In total, 2,160 individuals — including 816 women — from a diverse cross-section of Afghan society attended these campaigns in 2015. IDLO also continued to fund AIBA’s bi-weekly newspaper and monthly magazine in 31 provinces.
Following the establishment of a new Fund by the Netherlands to further enhance cooperation among rule of law actors and promote collaboration between Indonesia and Dutch institutions, in November 2014, IDLO was appointed as Fund Manager to identify grant opportunities.
Activities kicked off in 2015, with IDLO joining the Indonesia Justice & Development Working Group of the Security & Rule of Law Knowledge Platform. IDLO proactively supported its Secretariat with the facilitation of the group, to strengthen cooperation and information-sharing among Dutch institutions.
In May 2015, members of the Indonesian People’s Representative Council (DPR) Commission III (Lawand Legislation, Human Rights, and Security Affairs) visited The Hague to meet Dutch institutions and academics, in preparation of Indonesia’s penal code reform. In parallel, IDLO issued an initial call for concept notes and identified several preliminary ideas to be further developed into projects, in alignment with Indonesian priorities and the Indonesian Netherlands Legal Update actions points.
A programmatic framework was developed by IDLO to refine the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund’s focus and identify specific themes, with the objective of supporting the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions and ensuring equal access to justice in Indonesia. The first project selected aims at improving the environmental legal framework and its implementation, with manymore projects to follow in 2016.
In December 2015, IDLO hosted a two-day ‘Comparative Justice Policy Workshop’ in The Hague to debate recent developments in legal aid services and access to justice in Indonesia, the Netherlands and other countries. The event was organized in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Indonesian Ministry of National Development and Planning Agency, and the National Law Development Agency of the Indonesian Ministry of Law & Human Rights.
IDLO’s work is focusing mainly on three areas: building the capacity of county governments to develop legislation for the devolved functions; facilitating coordination between the national and county levels of government; and establishing systems for fiscal decentralization. In 2015, IDLO activities contributed to enhancing the capacity of county-level actors to undertake devolved responsibilities. These included:
IDLO has provided extensive technical assistance to the Kenyan judiciary and other key institutions mandated with constitutional implementation, including in the following areas:
In preparation for the 2017 general elections, IDLO assisted key institutions in the development of tools and stakeholder consultations. Some of the main outcomes include:
Judicial Strengthening Program
In 2015, successful advocacy by judiciary representatives led to a commitment by parliament and the government for increased financial resources.
IDLO provided technical assistance for the development of new important draft laws – the Conflict of Interest Law and Laws on Transparency and Access to Judicial Information – as well as the finalization of an updated bench book for Kyrgyz judges (a practical two-volume resource tool essential for judges to use while resolving the most common types of cases) and a Russian- language version of Annotations to the Civil Code, to be distributed during the first quarter of 2016 at the annual Assembly of Judges.
IDLO also supported the development of the country’s first mandatory continuing legal education program for sitting judges, which covers all areas of both substantive and procedural law, including criminal law and administrative offenses, civil law, and economic and administrative law.
To improve the efficiency of the Kyrgyz Judiciary through the use of electronic management systems, on 14 May 2015, IDLO delivered and handed over a fully operational electronic case flow system to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, which is now using it independently. IDLO also assisted the Supreme Court in developing an Automated Case Distribution system for its civil law department (Kollegia) and defined and designed the technical specifications for an electronic case management system, to be piloted at the Alamudun district court.
IT support and infrastructure were provided to 49 courts throughout the country, allowing judges to begin placing their decisions and docket data into www.sot.kg, the court decision publication website developed with IDLO’s assistance to increase the judiciary’s transparency and accountability by making judicial decisions available and easily accessible to the public.
To promote public legal awareness, In August 2015, IDLO completed the pilot episode of a reality-TV show on the role of the judiciary and judicial procedure and decorum. Six episodes of the show have been produced and will be aired in the course of 2016 on OTRK, Kyrgyzstan’s largest public TV network.
In close consultation with Malian national and local partners, IDLO has designed a five-year program aiming to strengthen the criminal justice chain in the provinces of Gao, Timbuktu, Mopti and Segou.
The overall objectives of this program are to bring justice closer to citizens, enhance citizen confidence in the formal criminal justice system and improve the functioning of informal and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in line with international human rights norms and standards.
To do so, IDLO aims to develop a bottom-up, pilot-type program that commences operations on a limited number of issues in a limited number of ‘justice localities’, which can be scaled up as experiences, learning and results permit. Pilot projects will be based on supporting local initiatives through small grants.
In 2015, IDLO set up its first office in Mali and began implementing pilot activities in Mopti aimed at promoting compliance of Malian criminal laws with international human rights standards. In particular, the project contributed to empowering victims of crimes in Mopti to access justice and obtain tangible and fair results. It also helped raise awareness among traditional leaders, communities and the general public of the applicable legal framework and international standards, as well as increase their ability to apply this knowledge in practice.
On 17 December 2015, IDLO delegates met the Malian Minister for Justice, Ms. Sanogo Aminata Mallé, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of IDLO’s programs in Mali.
In 2015, IDLO continued to support the judicial system of Somalia in addressing some of its key challenges by strengthening the linkages between formal justice and traditional dispute resolution, enhancing the capacityof the legal profession (through the Somali Bar Association) to fulfil the justice needs of the population, especially marginalized groups, and providing technical advice on legislative reforms to combat serious crimes, including terrorism.
In a bid to promote pacification, IDLO designed, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, a pilot reintegration (forgiveness) process for low-risk disengaged combatants in Baidoa, allowing them to return to their community without fear of harassment or retaliation.
To enhance the capacity of legal professionals with regard to human rights, trainings were held for 40 members of the Somali Bar Association (SBA) on the principles of fair trial, and for 17 attorneys on the Rights of Women and Children under Somali law, international law and customary law.
IDLO also organized a Training of Trainers session to strengthen the training, teaching, and presentation skills of the members of the Somali legal community, judiciary and Ministry of Justice, including six members of the SBA.
With a view to supporting the work of IDLO experts reviewing the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Counterterrorism Bill, Somali justice institutions agreed to establish a Technical Working Group and a Political Core Group. The Technical Working Group will be composed of selected representatives of the main Somali judicial institutions, such as the judiciary, the SBA, the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office, and will meet weekly. The outcomesof the work of the Technical Working Group will thenbe discussed and approved by a Core Political Group composed of the Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice and the Attorney General, which will meet on a monthly basis.
In the absence of a formalized Legal Training Institute (LTI), IDLO is providing standardized and systemized legal trainings to enhance the capacity of legal and justice sector providers for better service delivery. These initiatives are informed by a comprehensive needs assessment conducted by IDLO in 2015, and contribute to raising interest in the development of a fully-fledged South Sudanese institution capable of delivering similar support ina sustained manner.
During the year, IDLO delivered two four-week and one five-week sessions of the General Orientation to Legal Practice and English language training for the benefit of 32 entry-level private lawyers (30 men and 2 women) and 48 legal counsels (43 men and 5 women) of the Ministry of Justice. The training was designed to provide jurisdiction-specific legal knowledge, practical legal skills, and legal English language.
In the same period, IDLO also delivered two four-week training courses for 58 Public Prosecution Attorneys (50 men and 8 women) drawn from across the country, as well as from the Ministry of Justice headquarters in Juba. The training focused on themes such as Administration of Criminal Justice and legal English language.
Besides these activities, IDLO conducted a two-week training course on Human Rights Awareness and Advocacy for the benefit of 29 representatives of 16 civil society organizations working on access to justice, rule of law, human rights, peace initiatives and related areas, as well as human rights officers of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC). The course was conducted in partnership with the SSHRC, and in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) - Human Rights Division and Child Protection Unit, and UN agencies.
IDLO is also working with the College of Law at the University of Juba to ensure the inclusion and mainstreaming of human rights themes and approaches in its curriculum. Through its embedded Legal Education Advisor, IDLO oversaw the revision of the course content and reading guides for two courses on Refugees & IDPs Law and Child Law, which were taught to 105 students during the second semester of the Academic Year 2014/15 as part of the Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree program. In July 2015, IDLO oversaw the revision of the course content and reading guide for the course on Women & the Law. Moreover, it provided a compilation of South Sudan legislation and international treaty instruments on refugee, child and women law for use in relevant courses.
Supporting Criminal Justice Reform
The program focuses on highly sensitive, but critical Ukrainian justice sector issues. In 2015, it contributed to the most prominent reform initiatives, including the set-up of the new Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, expansion of deep deregulation and government e-procurement, as well as events aimed at fostering public dialogue and engagement in anti-corruption reform.
Activities with the Odessa Oblast (region) administration enjoyed local political support, and included the development of a legislative and regulatory framework for enabling the region to pilot progressive anti-corruption measures. The program also provided capacity-building support for the introduction of e-procurement systems for all public agencies operating in the region, and the establishment of a transparent and fair recruitment system for the public administration sector.
A package of proposed legislative amendments was finalized on 5 October 2015, and was submitted for approval by the Ukrainian Parliament. IDLO experts organized the testing, interviewing and selection process for 147 staff for the district administrations of the Odessa region. Between October and December 2015, IDLO provided training for all public agencies operating in Odessa Oblast on the electronic public procurement system, and identified mechanisms for NGOs to monitor government compliance with proper e-procurement implementation.
In Kyiv, IDLO experts assisted the Deputy Prosecutor General with the reorganization and institutional reform of the PGO, focusing on establishing a functional and efficient Prosecutorial Reform Unit. The program also provided support to the newly-launched Special Anti- Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, which is an indispensable component of an effective and independent institutional framework for combating high-level corruption in Ukraine.
Following an assessment of the organizational capacities of two identified NGOs, in October 2015, IDLO awarded two sub-grants to the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC), to contribute to the training of detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, and to the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), to increase understanding and awareness of patrol police reform among residents in selected target areas.