Independent National Bars key when implementing rule of law

The implementation of democracy and rule of law in post-conflict countries with weak democratic tradition, can not be imposed by “peace builders” from abroad.  In the context of a post-conflict country where well-intentioned foreign entities scramble to re-establish justice, there is a risk that the rule of law may in fact become a ‘disingenuous ideological tool’. The Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA), is playing a crucial role in advancing attitudes in favour of the rule of law and a functioning democracy. That’s some of the main conclusions in the recent report The Rule of Law, Democracy and the Legal Profession in the Afghan Context: Challenges and Opportunities, by Dr Phillip Tahmindjis, Director, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, (IBAHRI).

Dr Tahmindjis, has, since 2004, led the ambitious project to establish the first Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA). A project funded by the Swedish Foreign Ministry and under the auspices of the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC). With that unique 10-year experience in mind, Dr Tahmindjis comments on the report: ‘The push for democracy is often seen as ideology from the West. The fundamentalists who brand democratisation itself as anti-Islamist exploit this belief fully. What we can learn from this is the necessity for international intervention in Afghanistan to take a nuanced and sophisticated approach, encouraging the building of concepts that are accepted by the populace, rather than only the “peace-builders”.’

Christian Åhlund, executive director of ILAC, welcomes Dr Tahmindjis, IBAHRI-report, and shares the analysis.
– Supporting independent Bar Associations like the AIBA in Afghanistan, is key when trying to implement rule of law, democracy and anti-corruption work in post-conflict countries.