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Establishing the Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Developing a Just Society

Author: JACK D. KEM
Published in GVER, Vol. 6 No. 4

transitional societies, the goal should be to establish societal
boundaries that are predictable and not just to provide true liberty for the governed. To establish these societal boundaries during governmental transitions, the focus should be on those specific institutions that provide a measure of trust and confidence in the rule of law. These institutions include the legislature to enact laws, a police system to enforce laws, a functioning corrections system, and an independent judiciary to interpret the laws and to provide redress of grievances. In addition to those institutions that are directly related to "law and order," a number of institutions within society reinforce the rule of law that must also be developed, such as family structure, the media, and the educational system. These institutions provide a critical role in society maintaining and encouraging trust and providing stability in the lives of citizens in the transition to democracy, particularly when that transition is rapid and violent, it is critical that these institutions receive immediate attention so that an appropriate form of governance can take hold. Without these legitimate society-maintaining institutions, other competing institutions and players such as radical fundamental religious institutions and corrupt government officials will fill the void. Establishing the rule of law and society-maintaining institutions, therefore, is a critical focus in transitioning societies to set the stage for an enduring form of government that respects the rights of its citizens. This paper will address these efforts in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, as well as future efforts that are needed.

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