New Penal Code adopted in Afghanistan

On 4 March 2017, His Excellency, President Ashraf Ghani endorsed Afghanistan's new Penal Code in Decree No. 256. The code will soon be published in the Official Gazette and comes into force nine month after the date of publication.  


A  Workshop on Afghanistan Penal Code Reform,   Nov 2012, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, organized by UNODC

The Penal Code is the first Afghanistan   has had in over four decades and was drafted by the Criminal Law Reform Working Group between (2012 and 2016). This follows the revision of the Afghan Criminal Procedure Code in 2010 which streamlined criminal case processes in the country.

The new Penal Code compiles all criminal provisions from other laws into a single document and modernizes and clarifies offenses and punishments. This enables the removal of unnecessary offenses or adding or merging of new ones, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the code in preventing, reducing, deterring, and fairly punishing criminal behavior. The revisions also ensure conformity with the standards and norms under the international treaties and conventions to which Afghanistan is a signatory.

The previous penal code had not been revised since 1976 and the new code was crucial due to the Government's signing of a number of new international treaties and conventions. UNODC was able to support this process through funding provided by the Governments of Japan and the United Kingdom.