Educating the local leadership on Afghan law and
encourage public trials in the Paktika Province
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 1, 2012) -- More than
30 local village elders and a visiting prosecutor gathered
at the Zarghun Shahr district center June 28 for a three
day course, where they studied Afghan law, conducted a mock
trial, and at the request of a local judge, received
instructions on Afghan family law and women's
The mock trial was the first public trial conducted in this
region of eastern Afghanistan's Paktika Province in
more than 30 years, and the request for training on family
law and women's rights is unprecedented.
The training was well received by the attendees and
established the foundation for future public trials that
incorporate evidence-based operations and preserve the
rights of all Afghan citizens.
Haji Mohibullah, an elder from Zarghun Shahr was excited to
learn about the rights of Afghan citizens.
"I am very happy for this seminar. It is an example of
the importance of education," he said. "Education
for all Afghans -- including our wives and daughters -- is
important if we want to have a successful
Attendees of the shura, the Afghan word for council, were
quickly presented with an evaluation to measure their
current knowledge of the Afghan legal code in the district.
The results were mixed. The class instructors, members of
the Joint Sector Support Program, or JSSP, at first were
not optimistic about the class's potential.
However, they jumped into the training and immediately
began to study the Afghanistan Constitution and the role
their local government plays in the legal system.
After the crash-course on Afghan law, the class received a
case study that had a civil complaint, a property dispute
and a criminal charge of physical assault. They were then
broken into groups and told to present a solution according
to Afghan law.
The groups presented their solution and discussed the
modifications from the instructor. This case study then
transitioned to an mock trial where it was tried
publically. The role players were chosen by the instructor
based on their experience and level of education.
The visiting prosecutor, Abdul Amini, used his skills to
successfully convict the defendant, and was impressed with
the performance of all the role players.
Capt. Bruce Vail an member of the 4th Infantry Brigade
Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division's legal team
attended the training.
"This trial is a positive step towards public trials
in Paktika and a travelling prosecutor in areas that are
unable to provide permanent legal support," he
The course on family law caused the most excitement in the
class, with many questions being raised, particularly about
divorce law. Legal advisor and translator Sadeed Hakimi
said that this part of the course is usually the most
interactive. Though concerns were raised, the class was
light-hearted and made a strong effort to understand the
Overall, the conference was a positive step towards
increased rule of law in Zarghun Shahr and throughout
Paktika. The 4thBrigade's rule of law team and the JSSP
have already arranged to teach several more courses
throughout the province.
A future of a free and just Afghanistan is one step closer