This guide is the product of a two-year partnership between USIP and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Counterterrorism, during which USIP designed, developed and piloted a foundation rule of law course for the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law. The four 5-day pilot courses were delivered between November 2014 and July 2015 to mid- and senior-level legal, penal, police, judicial and civil society personnel from fifteen countries across Africa and the Middle East. The courses primarily focused on countries in transition; however, the core messages in this guide are applicable across all contexts, and the practical examples provided draw on lessons from six continents.

Drawing on the findings of an extensive needs assessment, input from a regional experts advisory group, and feedback from the pilot course participants and supporting expert resource persons, the author revised the content and structure of the guide to produce the current version.

The target audience for this guide is mid- and senior-level justice sector stakeholders. These include government officials (such as lawmakers, prosecutors, judges, police and corrections officials) and nongovernmental representatives (including defense lawyers, representatives of national human rights institutions and other oversight bodies, and members of civil society organizations).

The guide assumes that the reader has some degree of knowledge of and experience within the justice system in his or her own country. Persons who hold or may in the future hold a position of authority within the justice system, and who are therefore well placed to both promote and implement positive change, will find the guide particularly useful.

However, the content is also relevant for early career justice professionals and professionals within the security sector, and for others interested in understanding the concept of the rule of law and how both government officials and members of society can contribute to enhancing the rule of law within their societies.

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