Criminal Justice

Re-establishing the rule of law, building integrity, addressing impunity, and developing a professional judicial culture are essential pre-requisites for peace and stability in Afghanistan and is an essential basis to effectively addressing narcotics trafficking.


The Criminal Justice or Sub-Programme 3 of the Country Programme for Afghanistan 2012-2014 aims to re-establish the rule of law, building integrity, addressing impunity, and developing a professional judicial culture, which are all essential pre-requisites for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Anti-corruption, prison reform and criminal justice capacity development, as well as juvenile justice and anti-human trafficking measures, are the main priorities agreed with national and international stakeholders where UNODC can make its best contribution for the next three years.

The sub-programme will promote and support criminal justice reform in order to align Afghanistan's laws to international standards. It focuses on anti-corruption efforts, which includes support towards compliance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and increased capacity for evidence-based policy and adjudication. UNODC will continue to support the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption (HOOAC), the Attorney General's Office and the Supreme Court, as well as offer legal advice for required reforms, and practical assistance in the implementation of obligations under the Convention

With a comprehensive approach, where provision of infrastructure goes hand in hand with building a solid legislative framework, UNODC will focus on building justice institutions' capacity in countering narcotics, terrorism, trafficking in human beings, legal aid or access to justice and the juvenile justice program. Special emphasis is placed on human rights and the protection of vulnerable groups, such as children and women. Provincial outreach is an important element in this approach, which started with Justice Support Centres established in selected provinces and will continue with provincial capacity building.

Another key activity of UNODC in Afghanistan is prison reform The main  focus will be on the post release reintegration of prisoners. UNODC will seek to ensure that the prison system respects the human rights of the prisoners and is aligned with international standards. Similarly, UNODC proposes to continue supporting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in its effort to continue reform of the juvenile justice system.  Increasing rates of juvenile detention coupled with the recent report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Afghanistan provides appropriate vehicles to partner with the international community in engaging with the government to address deficiencies in the juvenile justice system.

UNODC's goal is to ensure that justice institutions have a legislative framework that will provide fairness and due process of law to those accused of crimes, with special attention to vulnerable groups, viz., children and women. UNODC will continue to provide legal and policy advice to national and international stakeholders through the Criminal Law Working Group.

Sub-programme 3 will compliment the work of the other sub-programmes by carrying out research and analytical work with national counterparts, mainstreaming health components in prisons, as well as training in the Police Code of Conduct. The sub-programme will also have some cross-fertilization with the AL programme in the context of skills training for prisoner reintegration and alternatives to incarceration.

* Sub-Programme 3 (chart)

* Publications related to Sub-Programme 3 (click here)