First Workshop on Restorative Justice in Kabul, 4–5 March 2014

Upon a request from the Afghan Ministry of Justice, the Max Planck Foundation has introduced the concept of restorative justice to Afghan stakeholders. It is hoped that this will help reframing the relations between state courts and tribal councils

The starting point for the project on restorative justice in the social and legal context of Afghanistan were the “Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Programs in Criminal Matters” that were introduced by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 2002. The Max Planck project team intended to enable and encourage Afghan stakeholders to use these principles as a basis for the development of a framework for tribal councils and their relations with the court system of the country.

For this project three different factors have been identified, which are crucial for the restorative justice approach in the Afghan context, namely civil society, tribes and traditional dispute resolutions and the state justice system. In a series of three workshops the impact of each one of the three factors has been analysed with regards to restorative justice approaches in Afghanistan.

Civil society, being closer to the communities than criminal justice personnel, plays an important role for the implementation of restorative justice concepts, as experiences from other countries show and have thus been the focus of the first workshop. Dr. Mohammad Farajiha, Head of Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at the Faculty of Law and Assistant professor at the Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, Iran, was the key expert for the whole project and has chaired the workshops. He is also going to translate the “UN Basic Principles” and the “UN Handbook of Restorative Justice” into Dari.

Planned for May 2014, was an international conference in Kabul where the results of the workshops series were to be presented. In addition, participants should learn how other countries regulate the relations between traditional dispute resolution mechanisms and formal court systems. After the conference, working groups were planned to be established in order to develop a draft policy paper that can be discussed at an international conference planned for the end of the year. Afghan institutions and stakeholders have the ownership of this process, particularly the Ministry of Justice.

Further information on the overall project “Informal Justice as Restorative Justice – Efforts to Improve Relations between State and Traditional Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in Afghanistan”