Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr today announced that Australia will send civilian justice advisers to Afghanistan to strengthen the country's rule of law under a Memorandum of Cooperation signed with the United States in Kabul on Tuesday.
The Australian Justice Advisers will be deployed by AusAID as part of the Australian Civilian Corps.
Ms Roxon said the advisers will mentor local Afghan legal officers, forming an important part of the international effort to build the capacity of personnel within the Government of Afghanistan to administer justice.
"Working with our US and Afghan partners in the justice sector to strengthen the rule of law and improve the operation of critical justice institutions is fundamental in a country that has seen prolonged conflict and upheaval," Ms Roxon said.
"Establishing a robust justice system in the Afghan community means that all accused people will receive a fair hearing, and our civilian justice advisors will be working with their Afghan colleagues towards this important outcome.
"Respect for the rule of law through a strong justice system is vital to long-term regional and global security."
Senator Carr said the advisers will play an important part in the international effort to build the capacity of the government of Afghanistan to administer justice.
"This deployment underlines the commitment of Afghanistan, Australia and the United States in working together to promote transparency, accountability and strong Afghan civil institutions," Senator Carr said.
"It also underlines our commitment to increasing aid to Afghanistan to support development and stability.
"Australian aid has contributed to real development gains over the past ten years including increasing school enrolments from one million to eight million and extending access to health services to 85 per cent of the population — up from 10 per cent in 2001."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Barack Obama announced the joint effort to strengthen the Afghan justice system during President Obama's visit to Australia late last year.
The Australian Civilian Corps justice advisers will work at the Justice Centre in Parwan (JCIP), established in partnership between the US and Afghan Governments in 2010.
It is anticipated that the Australian Civilian Corps advisers will be deployed to Afghanistan by late July.
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