First rule of law course conducted for judicial affairs officers in peace operations
Participants from Ghana and abroad attend the training in Accra, Ghana in July 2010.
The last week of July, 2010 marked the first comprehensive training programme exclusively dedicated to officers working on justice issues in United Nations peace operations. The Rule of Law Training for Judicial Affairs Officers in United Nations Peace Operations was a five-day 'pilot' course that took place at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Accra, Ghana. The Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Service (CLJAS) of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) developed and delivered the training programme with the support of Canada and Germany.
In addition to DPKO, instructors represented a significant number of United Nations entities working on rule of law, including representatives from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of Legal Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime; the Director of the Rule of Law Unit in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General; Chiefs of the justice components of the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL); the German non-governmental organization, Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF); and two academic experts. Representatives of Canada, Germany and Ghana also attended the training and made welcoming remarks.
Twenty-three judicial affairs officers and human rights officers attended the course from peace operations supported by DPKO (Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Darfur/Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan, and Timor-Leste) and peace operations supported by the Department of Political Affairs (Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone). The participants were international and national staff members, joined by five additional non-staff members who were lawyers from African countries. Together, they represented over 20 nationalities.
The course was the first of four trainings scheduled between July and December 2011. The course will be funded by ZIF, with the support of the Government of Germany. DPKO and ZIF are jointly organizing the trainings.
A 300-page instructor’s manual consists of 20 modules covering different topics and includes talking points, discussion questions, exercises, charts, background information and slides. Valuable inputs on the instructor’s manual were received from colleagues in United Nations entities working on rule of law issues. Modules cover rule of law in peacekeeping; United Nations principles on rule of law assistance; international law; comparative justice systems including Islamic Law; transitional justice; functions of justice components in peace operations including assisting in the development of national justice strategies, coordinating stakeholders, mapping and assessing the justice system and providing technical assistance; and programmatic areas of justice components including access to justice, constitution-making and legal reform, independence and integrity, gender justice and justice for children.
Approximately 170 judicial affairs officers are currently deployed in 11 United Nations peace operations to assist host countries in strengthening their legal and judicial systems. A sampling of the work conducted by these officers includes helping national actors to set up magistrate schools, re-deploy judicial authorities to rural counties, rejuvenate national bar associations, and undertake needs assessments of the justice sector. It is hoped that future recruited staff members will receive the five-day training soon after their deployment to enhance their substantive knowledge and performance, as well as to ensure greater uniformity and coherence in the approaches to strengthening judicial and legal systems throughout peace operations.
The next training will take place in October in Cairo, Egypt. In addition to judicial affairs officers and human rights officers of peace operations, staff members from other United Nations entities will be invited to participate.