On Wednesday, December 28th, U.S. Deputy Ambassador Elizabeth Richard hosted 40 practitioners and experts from the justice and law sector in Sana’a for a half-day conference entitled “Rule of Law in Yemen’s Transition.” The attendees included judges, lawyers, professors, human rights advocates, law enforcement professionals, and representatives from the international community. The goals of the conference were to identify key issues currently facing Yemen’s justice system, discuss ideas on how to improve the system, and to strengthen the relationships among the people working on these issues.
In her remarks to the participants, Mrs. Richard stressed the importance of the issue of justice in the transition as the U.S. and the international community work with the National Consensus Government to implement programming in this area. Following her remarks, U.S. Justice Sector Officer Bob Wong gave a brief overview of the subject of justice and presented the Embassy’s current thinking on how to address these issues. The participants spent the rest of the afternoon in sessions dedicated to such topics as Access to Justice, Training and Development of Lawyers, Police Reform, Corruption in the Yemeni Legal System, and Protection of Human Rights. The group came to a consensus on the need for various measures such as increased training and compensation for judges and police officers, the complete separation of the judicial branch from the other branches of government, and third-party oversight to ensure compliance.
The event was organized by the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section and included Yemeni professionals who had previously participated in U.S. State Department professional exchange programs. The Public Affairs Section plans to host similar conferences in the future on topics such as health, and entrepreneurship. For more information on these programs, please contact the Public Affairs Section at PASSanaa@state.gov.