Profiles of Global Focal Point Support – Joint Rule of Law Engagements
In peacekeeping mission and transition settings, UNDP’s Global Programme works through the Global Focal Point for Rule of Law to deliver integrated assistance with our UN partners. In this section, we highlight a few of our priority contexts (Central African Republic; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Haiti; Mali; Somalia; Darfur, Sudan) that have received joint support to strengthen the rule of law and human rights and the subsequent results achieved in 2019.
Central African Republic
Encouraging commitments and progress in strengthening the rule of law have been demonstrated in CAR for the year 2019, despite ongoing violence. The Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (APPR) signed in February 2019 between the Government and 14 armed groups, references the need to establish the presence of justice, and security services all over the country, and a Truth, Justice, Reparations and Reconciliation Commission.
UNDP works closely with MINUSCA and other partners to enhance the rule of law in CAR, in the spirit of the GFP. In 2019, UNDP partnered with MINUSCA in supporting criminal court sessions, including cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as the killing of peacekeepers. As a result, five members of armed groups were convicted, an indication that efforts in the pursuit of justice are beginning to deliver concrete results, and contributing to further trust from the population in the rule of law and the State overall. This is further enforced by the continued operation of the Special Criminal Court, mandated to investigate grave human rights violations, which has more than 15 cases currently under investigation. UNDP’s partnership with MINUSCA also extends to security sector reform, specifically with regard to the renewal of the Internal Security Forces, including recruitment, training and redeployment. 1,000 new police officers were recruited to be trained, and a five year plan for the training of police and gendarmerie was developed. Joint efforts also contributed to prison sector reform, with 150 correction officers recruited and commenced training with deployments due to start in 2020. In cooperation with GFP partners, UNDP also supported key political and legal frameworks for the rule of law, resulting in the adoption of the legal aid law, the national justice policy, and a policy on community policing, and rehabilitated major infrastructure rehabilitations.
On a local level, UNDP impacts communities through its support for access to justice initiatives, where three legal clinics in Bangui and Bossangoa managed by the Association of Central African Women Lawyers have provided services to over 13,500 individuals, over 3,500 of these were SGBV cases. In addition, UNDP with MINUSCA and the United Nations Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict (TOE) continues to support a specialized police unit for the response against sexual violence (UMIRR), which has resulted in over 250 sexual violence cases being transferred to the public prosecutor's office and to the juvenile court, for further legal proceedings.
The two joint UNDP-MINUSCA rule of law projects concluded in 2019. With support from the GFP and Team of Experts, two new projects have been drafted for 2020 – 2023. One comprehensive programme for justice and security sector reform focused on gaining people’s trust and targeted efforts on women’s access to justice and security including on SGBV, as well as a specific one to continue support to the Special Criminal Court. The projects will continue to be implemented jointly between MINUSCA and UNDP, as well as UN Women, thus benefiting from the complementary mandates and capacities, with the Mission's political and operational weight combined with UNDP's technical and programmatic capacity.
13,507 people, including 3,536 survivors of SGBV, have received legal aid services in women lawyer-led clinics;
150 new correction officer students in training and second wave of 150 recruited;
5 former armed group members convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bangui Court –including for the murder of civilians and peacekeepers - and 15 cases under investigation by the Special Criminal Court.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Due to political uncertainty and an electoral process, the judicial sector in DRC received decreased international funding in 2019. In that light, UNDP has continued its partnership with MONUSCO in its effort to strengthen the rule of law in the country, through focusing on gender-based violence, strengthening the capacities of judicial institutions, facilitating access to justice for all, and striving for increased transparency and accountability in the judicial sector. UNDP has taken a balanced approach, with efforts targeted at the institutional level including the Ministry of Justice and the Thematic Group on Human Rights, as well as at the community level through local courts, tribunals, bar associations and civil society organisations.
UNDP continues to incorporate a long-term strategy with regard to its rule of law interventions in DRC. Such an approach is necessary when considering the protracted conflict in the country which has led to severe human rights violations mostly affecting the civilian population, primarily women and children, and where years of conflict have left weakened governance and rule of law systems. As well as looking to the future, UNDP takes a balanced approach in terms of interventions at the institutional and community levels, through support for the development of justice reform policy, as well as in the area of access to justice through support to trainings and mobile courts.
In DRC, UNDP’s work through the GFP provides a coordination platform for interventions in the judicial sector for better impact as well as for increased capacities for all UN agencies to address rule of law challenges. In partnership with UNHCR, UNDP have developed a joint programme with the objective of improving local governance, security and the rule of law, in the context of a large displaced population, specifically refugees, IDPs and returnees.
Strengthening rule of law institutional capacities will be a focus for UNDP going forward, where the formulation of a joint rule of law programme, in partnership with JHRO, MONUSCO’s Justice Support and Corrections Unit, with involvement from UNICEF and UNHCR, will support the management and implementation of the National Justice Reform Policy. UNDP will also emphasise the capacity of law enforcement to be able to uphold human rights standards, which will be aligned with other priorities such as the police reform plan. This reform plan will include the introduction of an accountability mechanism, so as to ensure an accountable and transparent security service underpins the pursuit of peace in DRC.
10 perpetrators of international crimes have been condemned by military courts and tribunals in the DRC, through support to seven investigation missions and four mobile courts, increasing the effectivity of the fight against impunity;
Technical capacities of 160 agents of the penal chain have been strengthened and 4,500 copies of three key publications and guidelines on investigations and criminal justice have been printed and distributed to judicial institutions.
Since 2017, the Joint Rule of Law programme has undergone a number of transitions in Haiti, which have all resulted in increased coordination between the UNCT and peacekeeping and political missions. The first transition involved the closing down of MINUSTAH with MINUJUSTH taking over as successor. 2019 witnessed another change with BINUH taking over the helm. This increasing level of coordination is key, as the joint programme adopts an approach of increased collaboration between all actors, including the technical and financial partners of the international community and partner institutions including civil society, in order to ensure a comprehensive knowledge and approach to the rule of law in Haiti and to allow for a multi-pronged format to programming. This multi-faceted approach allows for the programme to focus on four priority areas, comprised of the justice sector, the judiciary, criminal justice, and human rights.
In the case of Haiti, the joint programme draws on past experiences and previous lessons learnt in order to apply a bespoke product which caters directly to the rule of law requirements of the population. Previous iterations of the programme focussed primarily on cooperation with government institutions and partners on building their capacity in respect to the rule of law, and largely neglected the potential of a cohesive and triangular approach involving both government and civil society. This had detrimental consequences, as civil society historically takes an activist approach to its work in Haiti in promoting the rule of law and governance, and thus created tension in their working relationship with the government. As a result of the lack of cooperation, the quality of access to services, transparency and accountability suffered. This hindrance has acted as a catalyst for the programme to pivot its focus from exclusively focussing on supporting governmental institutions, to also supporting civil society both in terms of providing services akin to those provided by the government particularly in areas of deficiency, such as legal aid, psychosocial support and basic training, and to their traditional role as monitoring entities. This approach of bolstering civil society has allowed for improvement across the justice sector, particularly with regard to legal aid services, increased coordination between government and civil society, and scaling up of transparency and accountability efforts.
A priority going forward for the joint programme is to increase coordination with other UN actors already invested in the rule of law arena, including UN Women, BINUH and UNICEF, so as to allow for an efficient and united front from which to tackle rule of law issues, as well as to improve coordination across thematic areas and among institutional and civil society actors. UNDP will also prioritise giving effect to the mandate of the Legal Aid National Council, established in 2019, by supporting the rollout of a network of 18 legal aid offices planned for the country, thus allowing for a coordinated method of providing access to justice services. This will be complimented by UNDP’s support to civil society‘s role as an alternative justice institution, particularly in regard to its offer of services to the public, which will allow for increased legal aid and informal justice mechanisms.
298 police officers, magistrates, judges and civil society leaders were sensitised and trained on the legal framework and mechanisms for monitoring and investigation of SGBV complaints, as well as the psycho-social aspects in the treatment of juvenile victims and children in conflict with the law;
Technical support and capacity building of the justice sector vetting mechanisms with 21 missions of the Judicial Inspectorate of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP) and five missions of the Ad Hoc Vetting Commission of the Superior Council of the Judiciary completed across the country, 26 members of the MJSP were trained on data analysis and report writing and 18 jurisdiction reports and one final report drafted and submitted;
The Office of the Ombudsman’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan was drafted and adopted.
Five years on from the signing of the Malian Peace and Reconciliation agreement, the political and security situation remain challenging in the country, specifically with the increase of violent extremism and inter-community conflicts in the centre of the country. UNDP, in cooperation with MINUSMA and UN Women, continues to strive in strengthening the rule of law in Mali. In 2019, UNDP focused on supporting the restoration of the state’s security apparatus in the areas of the country mostly affected by conflict as well as support to upgrading the prison systems, programmes which were funded by the Netherlands and Norway.
One of UNDP’s main programmes in Mali, entitled “GFP prisons Mandela” is designed to improve conditions in over 50% of the total 60 prisons in the country. In 2019, this led to the capacity building of 430 prison staff from 13 prisons on UN standard rules for the treatment of prisoners, notably on the treatment standards for women and juvenile detainees jointly with UN Women and MINUSMA’s Justice and Corrections Section, under the umbrella of the GFP. In addition, the programme focused on upgrading prison infrastructures and rehabilitation initiatives with the objective of assisting a successful reintegration process. The result was an improvement in detention conditions, including on the access and quality of food and water, as well as upgrading recreation abilities. Another core project focuses on supporting the restoration of rule of law in the Central and Northern parts of the country that were mostly affected by the crisis. Under the “Restoration of State Authority and Access to Justice in the North”, 67 public institutions have been reinstated, including 11 prisons. This project has allowed public access to key judicial and legal services.
Looking ahead, in coordination with MINUSMA and other key partners within the UNCT, UNDP will incorporate an additional four key areas into its programme: conflict prevention, security, anti-corruption and prevention of violent extremism, in order to complement its existing initiatives to strengthening the rule of law. UNDP will also increase support to ensure the effective presence of security, justice and human rights institutions and actors, while placing a focus on restoring the population’s trust through community policing initiatives and activities aiming at strengthening their accountability and efficiency.
430 prison staff trained on issues related to minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners, in particular women and children (Mandela, Bangkok and Riyadh rules), and 13 prisons were rehabilitated and equipped;
Reinsertion activities developed in 10 prisons to prepare the social reintegration of the detainees after their release;
15 offices of the territorial administration reopened in Tombouctou, Gao, Menaka and Mopti regions.
The UN’s Rule of Law portfolio in Somalia is a joint effort of UNDP, UNSOM, UN Women, UNICEF, UNOPS, and UNPOL and aligns with the priorities of the National Development Plan of Somalia (NDP) to the achievement of SDG 16. It has been developed to respond to the Security and Justice Roadmap and Mutual Accountability Framework of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), which measures priorities for defining a federated justice and corrections model and building the capacity of the security forces and justice institutions as important milestones during the transition period. It aims to support Somalia’s rule of law institutions at federal and state levels to enhance their capacities to deliver justice and security services, improve civilian oversight of the security sector and apply a holistic rule of law and human rights approach.
To complement its support of rule of law institutions in Somalia, the Joint Justice Programme has focused on access to justice and community-led initiatives. UNDP supported local actors to facilitate community conversations and identify local solutions on justice, security and land issues, including a dialogue on how local dynamics and social structures affect the delivery of justice and security services. In practical terms, this has meant that 16 community dispute resolution centres have been supported which has led to 5,051 cases being resolved, in addition to the 16 districts have been covered through mobile courts and the 4,068 people that have been able to access legal aid services provided by lawyers and paralegals.
Security sector governance has also been an ongoing priority in Somalia. In 2019 the Joint Security Sector Governance Programme supported the operationalization of several security sector governance institutions, at both the federal and state levels, in line with the National Security Architecture initially approved in 2017. This included empowering staff with the ability to define their own capacity building plans and vision for institutional development. This has been critical for national ownership and to ensure that future support aligns with their own institutional planning.
Somalia provides a good example of the Global Focal Point for Rule of Law in action with joint approaches across UN entities to address rule of law challenges in Somalia. In 2019 GFP partners in Somalia collaborated to produce a new theory of change for the joint programme, based on reflection and review of past engagement in Somalia on rule of law support so that it can better adjust to the current context.
Looking ahead, a new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Somalia is due to go into effect in 2021. Rule of law and security programming will be an integral component, and key areas of cooperation will likely include elements such as support to community dispute resolution mechanisms, with a specific focus on women and youth engagement, and transitional justice processes. In addition, building capacities of communities to engage and monitor human rights issues will feature, as will supporting data collection on the rule of law and SDG 16, in order to maintain a holistic approach in the advancement of peace and security in Somalia.
People-centred access to justice was strengthened in Somalia, including community dispute resolution mechanisms as alternatives to formal courts particularly in rural areas. The 16 community dispute resolution centres resolved 5,051 cases, and the mobile courts have expanded from 8 to 16 teams in 16 districts in 2019 and registered 1,040 cases. Legal aid services were provided by lawyers and paralegals to 4,068 people (3,012 women and 1,056 men);
The capacity of public institutions to deliver justice and security services and improve the rule of law has been increased through: improved ability of security institutions to exercise oversight and deliver security including by supporting constitutional reform processes that also address the oversight and control of the security sector; support to the Joint Police Patrol Unit (200 officers were recruited from Puntland and Galmudug police forces) has increased the ability to operate across community divisions in Galkayo; and 127 people from ten line ministries have been trained on human rights in order to mainstream human rights in to their programmes and services;.
353 traditional elders and 150 religious leaders were engaged in efforts for preventing and countering violent extremism.
2019 was a significant year in the history of Sudan, with the end of the 30-year-long autocratic rule of President Omar Al Bashir in the month of April, a culmination of months of protests involving large numbers of women and youth. Three decades of a repressive government had allowed judicial institutions to fall into disrepair, with significant infrastructure and operational obstacles, and an erosion of public trust. The political milestone coincided with the planned drawdown of the UN-African Union hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2429 (2018). A memorandum of understanding between UNDP and UNAMID has enabled UNDP to assume UNAMID’s rule of law responsibilities in four Darfuri states during the hybrid operation’s drawdown process.
UNDP sought to improve the efficiency and quality of the criminal justice chain in Darfur, and ensure the provision of equitable and timely justice and security services. UNDP supported the construction of twelve courts and police stations, enabling greater access to justice for marginalized and vulnerable communities. In order to improve the safety and security of both prisoners and corrections staff, support was provided to the rehabilitation of three prison’s facilities, with specific attention given to ensuring gender sensitivity. In addition, a total of 200 members from civil society, including 65 females, were trained in trial monitoring techniques, with a specific focus on monitoring of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)-related cases, to promote greater transparency and accountability of justice and security institutions in Darfur and advance gender justice. The justice system’s capacities for investigating and prosecuting serious gender-related crimes were strengthened as a result of 235 law enforcement personnel receiving training on SGBV issues. This work was supported by UNDP and UNAMID, with additional capacity development and infrastructural support from UN-Habitat, UNICEF and UNHCR.
In an important milestone for human rights promotion in the country, the construction of the regional office of Sudan’s National Human Rights Commission (SNHRC) in El Fasher, North Darfur, was completed. This project, as well as the complimentary construction of four Human Rights Resources Centres (HRRC), was completed with UNDP support. Reinforcing the construction of institutions, UNDP also supported human rights capacity building of state and nonstate stakeholders. Over 200 district and court judges were trained on how to mainstream human rights into mediation processes and on court management issues. In the security sector over 470 law enforcement personnel were trained on human rights topics. In order to ensure that all people are aware of their human rights, 190 legal advisors from varying IDP camps, 56 of whom were women, were trained on human rights issues including accessing legal aid and the rights of women and children.
As Sudan continues its democratic transition, UNDP will support the transition government in its legislative reform efforts, in order to ensure that the rule of law in Sudan is inclusive, responsive and in line with international norms and standards. Building upon the substantial headway already made on access to justice in Darfur, the focus going forward will be to support enhanced access to justice for all through awareness raising initiatives, support to legal aid networks and organisations, and support to justice and law enforcement institutions nationwide, including both formal and customary institutions. The objective of these efforts will be to strengthen institutional capacity to respond to community justice and security needs in accordance with international human rights norms. UNDP will also support the government in its efforts to address the human rights violations of the past, in order to ensure sustainable peace is achieved in Sudan.
The construction of 12 court and community policing facilities in Darfur to promote access to justice for all;
235 police officers trained on human rights-based policing and the protection of survivors of SGBV;
200 members of civil society trained on trial monitoring to ensure oversight and accountability of justice and security institutions.