25 January 2012 - UNODC and the Government of Japan signed a $9 million grant agreement to build capacity in the criminal justice sector of Balkh, Bamyan and Herat provinces, in support of the Government of Afghanistan's effort to strengthen the rule of law in the country. The signing ceremony took place on 24 January at the Ministry of Justice and the project was signed by Ms. Ashita Mittal, Deputy Representative of UNODC Afghanistan and Mr. Seiji Okada, Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Japan, in the presence of the Acting Minister Mr. Sayed Yonsuf Halim.
"A strong justice system can facilitate the maintenance of law and order and serve as a peaceful mechanism for resolving disputes, while preventing impunity for crimes committed during, as well as after, a conflict. UNODC is grateful to Japan for its steadily continued support for the Country Office and glad to have this new partnership", said Ms. Ashita Mittal, the Deputy Representative of Country Office Afghanistan.
Under the framework of Criminal Justice Capacity Building in Balkh, Bamyan and Herat, the programme will build the capacity of the criminal justice by constructing judicial centres with courts and judicial housing and an office for the Ministry of Justice in Bamyan; the provision of legal training to judges and prosecutors; informing citizens, especially vulnerable groups, of their rights; and the provision of literacy and vocational training for the incarcerated population, over the period of three years. These activities will contribute to peaceful, democratic and sustainable nation-building in Afghanistan.
"We recognize that both human rights and security are inseparable from justice. Japan has made this first step of assistance in Rule of Law sector, believing that this project will improve access to justice at districts level in these three provinces in Tranche 1 and bring sense of fairness and stability to their communities", said Mr. Seiji Okada, Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Japan.
UNODC is pleased to work in partnership with the Governments of Afghanistan and Japan in a collaborative process that will make a stronger, fairer and more prosperous Afghanistan. These activities will be carried out under the Criminal Justice sub-programme of UNODC's Country Programme for Afghanistan 2012-2014.