More female judges, prosecutors and defence attorneys are needed in Kandahar, said panellists at a televised debate backed by the United Nations.
An audience of more than 80 university students attended the debate, supported by the regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and asked questions of the panellists, who represented civil society, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and the Department of Women's Affairs (DoWA).
The debate panellists responded to questions and discussed the importance of women seeking access to justice through the formal legal system rather than through the informal systems common in Afghanistan. They also focused on the need for more women working in rule of law institutions.
“A female defence lawyer or a judge better understands the issues faced by women," said Aziz Akrami, spokesperson for AIHRC's office in Kandahar. "It is important to have female judicial staff to follow cases of women, but unfortunately we don’t have female defence lawyers, judges or prosecutors, and their presence is very important.”
Another panellist, Rukia Asakzai., head of DoWA, discussed cases in remote areas where the decisions of community leaders have resulted in one side violating the decision because it doesn’t have binding legal status.