Anti-Corruption Efforts in Afghanistan - Code of Ethics

Code Consultation11 January 2010 - Corruption and poor governance are major causes preventing the process ‎of reconstruction and development in Afghanistan. UNODC's work is essential in promoting and supporting the implementation of anti-corruption measures and in assisting in the implementation of an accountable justice system. Among others, UNODC advises the Afghan government on reform of legislation relevant to anti-corruption, including compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and creates and disseminates handbooks for justice sector actors. As part of UNODC's programme to strengthen Anti-Corruption measures in Afghanistan, the Attorney General's Office receives ongoing assistance in creating and implementing the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards for prosecutors. The first Code of Ethics was launched in August 2009.

The Code of Ethics has been developed in an Afghan-led process for over three years, and was eventually finalized with the expert technical assistance of UNODC and the Justice Sector Support Program of US State Department/INL (JSSP). This Code integrates international standards with legal and cultural norms of Afghanistan. Important aspects are the inclusion of constitutional and statutory obligations to protect human rights and the rights of the suspect and accused. The final draft of the Code was developed following a consultative process that included a series of ethics seminars and roundtables for prosecutor offices in Kandahar, Kabul, Herat, Mazar and Jalalabad.

The Code is composed of 28 articles that apply specifically to prosecutors and set the standards for their performance in office. It also includes an internal disciplinary mechanism for investigation, adjudication and appeal of complaints against prosecutors by the public and other legal professionals. Furthermore, it provides essential and fundamental standards and norms for all prosecutors, and implements the requirements of the UNCAC, ratified by Afghanistan in 2008. The importance of a strong Code of Ethics and Professional Standards and guidance on solid professional conduct was emphasized by His Excellency Mr. Aloko, the Afghan Attorney General, as an important element in the fight against corruption, and as an important signal of Afghanistan's implementation of the UNCAC.

The Code will strengthen professionalism and integrity in the Attorney Generals Office (AGO) and constitutes one of a series of steps to ensure the highest integrity of all prosecutors, and the ethical conduct that will result in the public's trust in investigations and prosecutions. Throughout the following months, and into 2010, UNODC will provide technical and financial support to the AGO for comprehensive training for prosecutors in all of the provinces, to strengthen the basic capacity, accountability and integrity of prosecutors.