28 November 2003

Italy Supports UN Criminal Justice Reform Programme in Afghanistan

VIENNA, 28 November (UN Information Service) -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy has pledged  an  additional 1.5 million euros in support of  the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Criminal Justice Reform Programme in Afghanistan. This contribution brings the total  Italian contribution to this Programme to 3.5 million euros.

The two-year Programme budgeted for over 6 million US dollars addresses both normative and operational key aspects of criminal justice. On 15 June 2003,  the implementation of the activities related to the reform of the penitentiary system has started. The revision of  the Afghan national rules and regulations on penitentiary has already begun, as well as the rehabilitation and construction of principal Kabul detention centres. The other two components of the Programme are aimed at enhancing the Afghan national criminal justice institutions, including criminal law reform and training of key professionals and the reform of the juvenile justice system.

Afghanistan's legal apparatus has been largely obliterated over the past 25 years of conflict and civil war. The Bonn agreement in 2001 had identified legal reform and the rule of law as key elements to peace building in Afghanistan. It is in this context that  Italy  has taken the role of  the Lead Country for the provision of technical co-operation assistance to the Government of Afghanistan in the justice sector and is funding the UNODC Programme in addition to its bilateral activities. The Government of Austria is also a donor country to this programme, with a pledge of 700,000 euros.

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