High-ranking government officials from Afghanistan, the United States, and Germany, along with representatives from international organizations celebrated the opening of the Northern Initiative for Justice Advancement Training (NIJAT) pilot project in Kunduz Province today. Nijat, a Dari word which means to improve a condition or situation, is used in this context to signify the combined efforts of the local and international community to promote a robust rule of law environment in Afghanistan.
The 11-week training is a joint effort of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, the German Police Project Team, and the European Police Mission. The training will provide substantive and practical lessons that enhance the participants' knowledge of investigative techniques, as well as trial and advocacy skills.
A total of sixty police officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges will complete the training consisting of a criminal investigation phase, trial phase, and a specialized adjudication two-week phase for judges. The goal of the training is to improve the capacity of justice sector professionals to investigate, prosecute, defend, and adjudicate criminal cases.
This project confirms the high commitment of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in ensuring that its judiciary institutions improve standards and performances in the area of justice and cements the strong partnership between the Afghan government and the international donor community. United States Rule of Law Coordinator Peter Fromuth reaffirmed this in stating, "Our belief in the international community is that we can do more to promote rule of law training in Afghanistan, and can do it better, if we do not act alone, but instead act as close partners."
This is the first initiative of its kind in Afghanistan. Upon completion of the pilot project, the sponsors and the relevant Afghan Ministries will determine whether to extend it to train more than 2,000 criminal law practitioners in northern Afghanistan.