Tetra Tech is implementing the Afghanistan Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP) to support organizational capacity building, legislative drafting, and case management development for Afghan justice institutions.

After years of civil and international conflict in Afghanistan, the country’s justice sector requires legislative reform, operational capacity improvement, and an effective case management system. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) selected Tetra Tech to implement a five-and-a-half-year project to support the development of an Afghan justice sector cadre capable of managing, equipping, enabling, and sustaining its own criminal justice organizations. The project team works closely with four main counterpart institutions—Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office, and Ministry of Women’s Affairs—and supports key working groups on criminal law reform.

Our team launched the project successfully in 2017 by mobilizing more than 280 staff in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan. Our experts are working closely with justice sector institutions to train and build capacity of Afghan officials to ensure they are capable of equipping, managing, and sustaining their criminal justice organizations and that justice sector institutions can effectively manage budgeting, finance, procurement, human resources, staffing, and operations. The JSSP team provides structured capacity building to these institutions through mentoring and training newly hired to mid-level government employees to ensure that employees not only meet their institutions’ objectives but also help build a professional image that the Afghan public can trust. JSSP local advisors, supported by international subject matter experts, are embedded in the ministries to provide mentoring and on-the-job training to ministry staff.

Through JSSP, we mentored the MOJ Human Resources Department’s (HRD) Recruitment Department to prepare a recruitment plan for 2018, which resulted in a requirement for MOJ to hire 280 employees in accordance with the Afghan civil service’s pay and grading reform. This plan will serve as a guideline for the MOJ HRD to execute in 2018.

The JSSP team also mentored the Attorney General’s Office budget department personnel to prioritize projects for fiscal year 2018. From 23 proposed projects, 10 projects were prioritized for funding by the World Bank. The projects will focus on infrastructure, organizational development, capacity building, and women’s empowerment.

We also met with the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Centers (GDPDC) Case Management System (CMS) operator, who requested JSSP’s support with generating a report of inmates who were due to be released under presidential decree in March 2018. The JSSP team mentored the CMS operator on how to run the CMS database search and generate the report.

The Criminal Law Reform Working Group (CLRWG) used knowledge and skills gained from JSSP mentoring sessions to draft a Whistleblower Law that will assist the government in fighting corruption. The team provided substantial technical assistance to ensure the final draft followed international standards and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The Whistleblower Law will serve as an effective tool to allow civil servants to report corruption cases, fight widespread corruption, and improve governance and the rule of law in Afghanistan.

Strengthening local capacity while ensuring sustainability beyond the project requires ongoing trainings with counterparts’ mid-management and newly hired personnel. Tetra Tech is continuing to coordinate with hundreds of local Afghan staff working in various regions to implement universal improvements to Afghanistan’s justice sector institutions.