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The right to counsel as a safeguard of justice in Afghanistan: the contribution of the International Legal Foundation

31-12-2010 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 880, by Jennifer Smith, Natalie Rea, Shabir Ahmad Kamawal

In Afghanistan, rule of law projects have placed a heavy emphasis on rebuilding courts and law enforcement institutions but little attention has been given to the critical element of defence. This article examines the right to counsel in Afghanistan and the indispensable role that defence lawyers are playing in the development of the justice system.

Abstract

In Afghanistan, rule of law projects have placed a heavy emphasis on rebuilding courts and law enforcement institutions. Little attention has been given to the critical element of defence, particularly criminal defence services for the poor. Yet, without defence lawyers, there can be no rule of law. This article examines the right to counsel in Afghanistan and the indispensable role that defence lawyers are playing in the development of the justice system, illustrated by the experience of the International Legal Foundation. By providing early and effective representation to their clients, lawyers ensure that Afghanistan’s new laws and constitutional provisions protecting the rights of the accused are implemented.

Biography

Jennifer Smith is the Advocacy Director for the International Legal Foundation and a former public defender in New York City and Massachusetts. Natalie Rea, a public defender in New York City, is the founder and Executive Director of the International Legal Foundation. Shabir Ahmad Kamawal, the Country Director of the International Legal Foundation-Afghanistan, is an experienced criminal defence lawyer who has been with the organization since early 2006.


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