Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

“A Justice Delayed is a Justice Denied”

Timely access to justice is one of the most important rights of the people in a state. If people do not have such an access to justice, crimes will thrive and even multiply. One of the main reasons for people’s inability to have access to justice is the justice system itself. If there is no efficient justice system, providence of timely justice system is just a dream. Moreover, other evils like insecurity and corruption are also responsible for incapacitating the justice system to a great extent. Afghanistan is one of the countries where both the justice system and the social evils have limited the people’s rightful access to justice.
Afghanistan’s Attorney General Office (AGO) on Tuesday, May 30, highlighted in a statement the ongoing situation of crisis in the country has influenced people’s access to justice to a great extent, and it has also deterred the prosecutors to serve in the districts that are influenced by insecurity. According to a statement by the spokesman of Ministry of Interior (MoI), at least 25 districts are such that the prosecutors face high security problems. Such a situation is really threatening and it is bound to result in a gap, and that gap is mostly filled by informal justice systems or the ones that are supervised by Taliban.
In fact, Afghan justice system is not able to provide speedy justice in response to the different sorts of cases in different parts of country. The cases that are brought to the law enforcement agencies are not pursued with proper vigor and determination and the result is that the culprits easily get away with their crimes. If the culprits are caught on time and they are brought to justice this will give a very clear message and will enhance the confidence of the people on the justice system.
This can also be helpful in encouraging those victims who never go the law enforcement agencies to file their complaints against different types of crimes that are carried out against them. Nevertheless, their experiences have shown to them that their tribal norms and values and the draconian code of conduct that rule over their society stand more powerful than the hold of the justice that can be provided to them through the police or court of law.
One of the most basic demands of justice is that the people should be provided justice on time. It is believed that a justice delayed is a justice denied; therefore, the government machinery should be reliable and speedy enough to ensure such a justice. Moreover, it is also imperative that it should be easy for the victims to knock at the doors of the institutions that provide justice. If they feel comfortable and they are provided a welcoming attitude, they will rush to such institutions and will also develop a positive attitude towards government and its institutions.
Most of the victims have complaints that they are harassed by the authorities who are supposed to provide them justice. If they opt to go the police they have to face a discriminating attitude of the authorities in most of the cases. In many other cases, police does not have the required access and authority in many of the remote areas. Several times it has been observed that the victims who want to complain against any sort of violence or discrimination are silenced in different ways. This sort of inconvenience plays a major role in discouraging people to turn to police or court of law.   
Same is the case with the role and presence of formal courts. Most of the remote districts have their own courts based on Jirga or Shariah. These sorts of courts do not necessarily follow the law as per the constitution of Afghanistan, or they do not consider it suitable for their tribal setup. Most of the cases of violence and crime that are pursued are because of the media and civil society. Thus, it can be said without any hesitation that the institutional deficiencies have incapacitated the law to have its desired outcomes. And, this has resulted in continuation of incidents of violence and crime against the innocent people. 
Such incidents will keep on occurring unless, the justice system, strengthened by strong and authoritative institutions, take tangible actions against the culprits. The criminals always take advantage of the justice system that is lethargic and an inefficient justice system would keep on creating more and more criminals. Therefore, it is important for Afghan authorities to divert attention towards institution building for providence of justice to all the people of country, particularly women and children who are treated as a weaker strata. If a justice system is not able to protect the most vulnerable and the weakest, it cannot be believed to be based on democracy or even on basic teachings of Islam.