Our justice teams contribute political solutions to conflicts and promote peaceful societies that respect the rule of law, including by assisting in the negotiation, drafting and implementation of peace agreements. Laying the foundations for the longer-term strengthening and reform of rule of law institutions requires strong partnerships with national authorities, development actors and civil society who will continue the work after the end of the mission because a secure environment instils public confidence in the peace process, and is also conducive to longer-term development efforts.
Our Judicial Affairs Officers help national authorities:
- to deliver basic justice services;
- assist nationally-led investigations and prosecutions of atrocity crimes and crimes that fuel conflict;
- support the resolution of disputes over land and other resources that drive conflict;
- reduce the level of prolonged and arbitrary detentions;
- enhance the professionalism and accountability of judicial staff and systems;
- develop and implement national justice reform strategies;
- strengthen the legislative and regulatory framework.
Judicial Affairs Officers in United Nations peace operations may be United Nations staff members, justice experts provided by national governments, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) or consultants. Judicial Affairs Officers bring a wealth of specialized expertise as lawyers, judges, prosecutors, legal advisors and court administrators.
As of August 2017, over 90 United Nations professional staff and more than 30 Government Provided Personnel serve as Judicial Affairs Officers in United Nations peace operations around the world.
United Nations Judicial Affairs Officers work closely with other United Nations partners as part of the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections Areas in the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict and Other Crisis Situations (GFP). To facilitate the provision of joint delivery of rule of law assistance, DPKO, UNDP and other partners are combining their respective rule of law capacities and leveraging their comparative advantages, through co-location of teams and convening of all other United Nations entities involved in rule of law work. The GFP arrangement represents a ground-breaking approach to addressing the institutional problems associated with the United Nations’ delivery of rule of law assistance in crisis-affected settings.
Example of our work
Mali – The MINUSMA Justice and Corrections Section supports the work of the national Pôle Judiciaire Spécialisé en matière de lutte contre le terrorisme et la criminalité transnationale organisée (PJS). The PJS is a specialized unit which was established in 2013 in response to the threat posed by armed groups and organized criminal groups present in Mali, particularly in the north. MINUSMA is helping to build national capacities in the PJS to investigate and prosecute crimes related to terrorism and transnational organized crime.
Central African Republic – The MINUSCA Justice and Corrections Section has helped the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) to detain and prosecute individuals for war crimes, rebellion and other offences. MINUSCA, along with partners, is also assisting the Special Criminal Court (SCC), which has jurisdiction over serious human rights violations. Founded in 2015, the SCC is a national court with the participation of internationally-recruited judges and staff. The SCC will contribute to restoring the rule of law in CAR and advance reconciliation and peacebuilding processes by ending the cycle of impunity for atrocity crimes. MINUSCA is also helping to re-open courts and re-deploy magistrates outside the capital. In 2015, with MINUSCA support, criminal hearings took place in CAR for the first time since 2010.
Afghanistan – The UNAMA Justice and Corrections Section supports the Government of Afghanistan with the work of the Anti-Corruption Justice Centre (ACJC). Established in June 2016, the ACJC is a specialized court and dedicated team of prosecutors focusing on serious cases of corruption. The first instance courts have already heard many cases, and issued convictions against a number of high-level officials on charges of bribery or embezzlement. Numerous other cases are being formally investigated. For further information, please refer to the UNAMA report, “Afghanistan’s Fight Against Corruption: The Other Battlefield”. Note UNAMA is a special political mission.