United Nations judicial experts – Building judicial systems in war-torn countries
Re-establishing and strengthening the judicial and legal systems in a country recovering from war is a key component of UN peacekeeping’s comprehensive approach to restoring and consolidating peace.
The first step is a thorough assessment of a host country’s justice sector: What kind of legal and constitutional reforms may be necessary? Are there enough judges, prosecutors and other court officials? Do they need training? Are there enough court buildings? Can damaged or rundown facilities be quickly repaired? Who can help pay for this?
UN justice experts work together with their national counterparts to chart a course forward for reform and professionalism – prioritizing necessary legislation, training needs, and facilities for construction or repair.
To better monitor and mentor, UN officials are often co-located with national actors at the Judiciary, the Legislature and Ministry of Justice. There they can provide advice, assistance and support to these key institutions while ensuring that they are fully functional and deliver quality prosecution. This is also an opportunity to determine what training for judicial staff should be arranged to improve their professionalism.
While UN peacekeeping missions have become more active and more effective in this field over the past decade, they are not working alone. Much of this reform work is carried out in full partnership with other international actors, such as UN agencies, funds and programmes, UN Member States, international legal associations and other non-governmental organizations.
The end result is what people in societies emerging from war so dearly yearn for: justice and trustworthy institutions that can uphold the rule of law.