Rule of Law
The United States Institute of Peace has been working since 2001 to strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan. Click to read more about our efforts in linking state and non-state justice systems, enhancing women's access to justice, constitutional interpretation, and transitional justice.
This report analyzes the effectiveness of a series of USIP pilot projects attempting to link the formal justice and governance sectors in Afghanistan with traditional dispute resolution actors. Though such pilot projects often helped support immediate dispute resolution, the broader political dynamics, and some cultural and economic challenges to the underlying assumptions of the linkages model frustrated many of the overall project goals.
A year after a political compromise ended popular protests in Yemen, the transitional government has met some benchmarks for reform. However, key demards for improved security and government services, for example, remain stalled. In this Peaceworks, Erica Gaston, of USIP's Rule of Law Center, and Nadwa Al-Dawsari, of Partners for Democratic Change, provide a snapshot of the local justice and security situations in four governorates to assess how the transition is progressing.
Featured Publications & Tools
Long marginalized by the country’s political leaders, Iraq’s small religious and ethnic minorities have made historic gains during 2012 with some critical assistance from the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).
The United States Institute of Peace’s Truth Commissions Digital Collection is part of the Margarita S. Studemeister Digital Library in International Conflict Management. The collection contains profiles of truth commissions and substantive bodies of inquiry from nations worldwide - offering general background information on the composition of each body, links to the official legislative texts establishing such commissions, and each commission's final reports and findings.
The U.S. Institute of Peace has unveiled a pathbreaking survey of attitudes toward the police, justice and rule of law in politically troubled Nepal, an effort that could help guide reforms needed to tame the violence and corruption plaguing the Himalayan nation’s young democracy.
Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies presents seven in-depth case studies that take a broad interdisciplinary approach to the study of the justice system. Moving beyond the narrow lens of legal analysis, the cases—Mozambique, Guatemala, East Timor, Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq, Sudan—examine the larger historical, political, and social factors that shape the character and role of customary justice systems and their place in the overall justice sector.
Rule of Law Center
USIP's Rule of Law Center is on the cutting edge of promoting the rule of law in conflict-affected states. It does this by taking a leading role in shaping thinking worldwide on rule of law issues, working on the ground in conflict-affected countries to promote justice and security, and leading the field in rule of law training delivery and the sharing of best practices.
The Rule of Law Center's pioneering work on transitional justice, model legal codes, consultative constitution making, communities of practice and traditional dispute resolution are examples of this successful approach.
What is the Rule of Law?
Justice and Security Dialogue brings together stakeholders at the local community level to strengthen rule of law and security by building lines of communication, increasing trust, sharing information, promoting accountability, and providing input on justice and security reform needs and options.
USIP's advisory work on constitution making is focused on providing options to design and conduct participatory, inclusive, transparent, and nationally owned constitution making processes that enjoy legitimacy and promote national dialogue, reconciliation, and a consensual political community.
The Rule of Law Center is working with international partners to assess the ways in which customary systems may complement and strengthen the state system in post-conflict settings.
The Rule of Law Center developed a series of training courses tailored to the needs of rule of law practitioners. The initiative is part of a broader training initiative at USIP under the auspices of the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding.
The Rule of Law Center works closely with Iraqi judges, parliamentarians, government officials and civil society to strengthen the rule of law in Iraq by addressing the property rights of IDPs, strengthening the Iraqi judiciary, clarifying the relationship between the central and provincial governments, and protecting minority rights.
The Rule of Law Center has shaped the field of "transitional justice" through research that examines these issues in comparative perspective, publications, grant-funded work, and substantive policy advice.
The Serious Crimes handbook is a reference tool for policymakers and practitioners who are designing strategies for tackling serious crimes in postconflict environments.
Rule of Law is examining the evolving legal and institutional arrangements for addressing violations of international humanitarian law (IHL). As part of this ongoing effort, USIP has just produced a guide to training programs in IHL for military personnel around the world.