Transition Studies Review

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 660–673 | Cite as

Justice Sector Reform in Afghanistan: From a ‘Lead Nation’ Approach to a ‘Mixed Ownership’ Regime?

  • Matteo TondiniEmail author
International Order, Security and Strategic Studies


The article describes the policy-making structure which governs the reform of justice in Afghanistan. It is characterized by an evolution from a bilateral to a multilateral approach, aimed at increasing the Afghan ownership. However, observing the system ‘from within’, it seems currently ruled by a mixed regime, being still deeply influenced by external inputs. As a consequence, the final outcome of the process remains uncertain.


Afghanistan Donors Justice system Lead nations Local ownership 

JEL Classification

O19 F54 H56 K49 



The author is former project advisor to the Embassy of Italy in Kabul (Afghanistan)—Development Cooperation Office—Justice Programme (December 2007–May 2008). Paper presented at the International Peace Research Association 22nd Global Conference: ‘Building Sustainable Futures—Enacting Peace and Development’, held at the University of Leuven (Belgium) on 15–19 July 2008. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author. Internet pages last accessed on 31 May 2008.


  1. Barnett M (2005) Humanitarianism transformed. Perspect Polit 3:723–740Google Scholar
  2. Bassiouni MC, Rothenberg D (2007) An assessment of justice sector and rule of law reform in Afghanistan and the need for a comprehensive plan. Paper presented at the Conference on the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, Rome, 2 July,
  3. Boon KE (2007) ‘Open for business’: International Financial Institutions, Post-Conflict Economic Reform, and the Rule of Law. NYU J Int Law Polit 39:513–581Google Scholar
  4. Boone J (2008) Afghan failure to meet IMF target casts doubt on debt relief. Financial Times, 2 April,
  5. Bretton Woods Project (2003) Poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs): a rough guide, 9 April. Action aid, London,
  6. Cammack P (2006) Global governance, state agency and competitiveness: the political economy of the commission for Africa. Br J Polit Int Relat 8:331–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carnahan M, Manning N, Bontjer R, Guimbert S (eds) (2004) Reforming fiscal and economic management in Afghanistan. World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Center for Policy and Human Development (2007) Bridging modernity and tradition: rule of law and the search for justice. Afghanistan Human Development Report 2007, Kabul,
  9. Costy A (2004) The Dilemma of Humanitarianism in the Post-Taliban Transition. In: Donini A, Niland N, Wermester K (eds) Nation-building unraveled? Aid, peace and justice in Afghanistan. Kumarian Press, Bloomfield (CT), pp 143–165Google Scholar
  10. Deledda A (2006) Afghanistan—the end of the Bonn process. Trans Stud Rev 13:155–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dobbins J, Jones SG, Crane K, De Grasee BC (2007) The beginner’s guide to nation-building. RAND, Santa Monica, CAGoogle Scholar
  12. Eggen AR and Bezemer DJ (2007) The UNDP—World Bank/IMF partnership in achieving millennium development goals: the role of poverty reduction strategies. University of Groningen, MPRA paper no. 7030, January,
  13. Eide EB, Kaspersen AJ, Kent R, von Hippel K (2005) Report on integrated missions: practical perspectives and recommendations. Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, OsloGoogle Scholar
  14. Foster M (2000) new approaches to development co-operation: what can we learn from experience with implementing sector wide approaches? Overseas development institute, London, October,
  15. Government of Afghanistan (2005a) Justice for all: a comprehensive needs analysis for justice in Afghanistan. Ministry of Justice, Kabul, October,
  16. Government of Afghanistan (2005b) Millennium development goals islamic Republic of Afghanistan country report 2005: vision 2020. Kabul,
  17. Government of Afghanistan (2007) Consultative group manual: terms of reference and procedures. Kabul, 4 March,
  18. Hemming J (2008) UN says donors should back Afghan aid plan. International Herald Tribune, 22 May,
  19. International Crisis Group (2008) Afghanistan: the need for international resolve. Asia report no. 145, Brussels/Kabul, 6 February,
  20. International Monetary Fund (2008) Poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSP). IMF, Washington DC, 20 May,
  21. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2006a) Afghanistan compact. London Conference on Afghanistan, London, 31 January–1 February 2006Google Scholar
  22. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2006b) Afghanistan national development strategy: an interim strategy for security, governance, economic growth and poverty reduction. London Conference on Afghanistan, London, 31 January–1 February 2006Google Scholar
  23. Jones BD (2004) Aid, Peace and Justice in a Reordered World. In: Donini A, Niland N, Wermester K (eds) Nation-building unraveled? Aid, peace and justice in Afghanistan. Kumarian Press, Bloomfield (CT), pp 207–226Google Scholar
  24. Khalilzad Z (2008) Afghanistan’s new deal. New York Times, 20 March 2008,>sq=>st=nyt
  25. Levitz S (2008) Cup half full, half empty in Canada’s development work for Afghanistan. Afghanistan Times, 3 February, pp 2–3 (The Canadian Press)Google Scholar
  26. Macrae J (2002) The bilateralization of humanitarian response: implications for UNHCR. UNHCR report no. EPAU/2002/15, Geneva, December,
  27. Mascarenhas R, Sandler T (2006) Do donors cooperatively fund foreign aid? Rev Int Organ 1:337–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. OECD-DAC (2005) Harmonising donor practices for effective aid delivery, vol 2. Organization for economic cooperation and development, Paris,
  29. Stockton N (2002) Strategic coordination in Afghanistan. Afghanistan research and evaluation unit, Kabul, August,
  30. Thiele R, Nunnenkamp P, Dreher A (2007) Do donors target aid in line with the millennium development goals? a sector perspective of aid allocation. Rev World Econ 143:596–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tondini M (2007) Rebuilding the system of justice in Afghanistan: a preliminary assessment. J Interv State Build 1:333–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. UNAMA (2007) Afghanistan justice sector overview. UNAMA Rule of Law Unit, Kabul, AprilGoogle Scholar
  33. UNDP (2004) Security with human face: challenges and responsibilities. Afghanistan: National Human Development Report 2004, Kabul,
  34. Waldman M (2008) Falling short: aid effectiveness in Afghanistan. ACBAR, Kabul, March,
  35. Wolfensohn JD, Fischer S (2000) The comprehensive development framework (CDF) and poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSP). The World Bank, Washington DC, 5 April,
  36. World Bank (2001) Development cooperation and conflict. The World Bank, Washington DC, Operational Policy No. 2.30, JanuaryGoogle Scholar
  37. World Bank (2004) Supporting development programs effectively. The World Bank, Washington DC, November,

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IMT, Lucca Institute for Advanced StudiesLuccaItaly

Personalised recommendations