Free Legal Aid
General Directorate of Legal Aid is one of the professional departments of the Ministry of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. At the outset this department was established in 1989 within the framework of the Supreme Court and until the end of 2007, it operated within the framework of country's judiciary. After 2008, according to presidential decree of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with all its personnel transferred from the formation of the Supreme Court to the Ministry of Justice.
This department pursues its responsibilities to provide free legal aid in accordance with the Regulation of Legal Aid arrangement that the mentioned regulation has been enacted based on the provision of Article 3 of the Law on Defense Lawyers and regulates the formation, duties and capability of the Legal Aid Office and the manner of activities of the legal aid provider and other affaires related to offer legal aids by the provider competent authorities regulated legal aids.
Since the right to have a defense lawyer or legal aid provider is one of the basic rights of suspects and accused and it is stipulated in domestic law and international conventions, according to the provisions of article (31) of the Afghanistan Constitution, article (2) of the Law on Defense Lawyers, article (4) of Regulation on Legal Aids and other legislative documents, provision of legal aid for the indigent suspects and accused is one of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Justice.
Furthermore, the provision of legal aid and legal consults for the underprivileged suspects, accused and convicts in criminal cases and cases relating to family disputes for the impoverished children and women has been provided as one of key obligations of the Ministry of Justice in National Policy of Legal Aid, National Policy and Strategy of the Ministry of Justice and other documents such as Road Map and Appraisal.
Therefore, the mission of General Directorate of Legal Aid is to pave the ground for individuals entitled to the legal aid and justice services in society in equal manner through the provision of legal aid, services and advices.
Organizational Structure and Formation
Carrying out and implementing the above mentioned mission in accordance with the provisions and instructions being stipulated in the previously mentioned documents is the obligation of general directorate of legal aid which has been created within the organizational structure and formation of the ministry of justice and consists of the subsequent central and provincial structural formation:
General Directorate of Legal Aid as a first grade being called Legal Aid Office in the Regulation on Legal Aid and consists of two sub-directorates (Legal Aid and Public Legal Awareness), carries out its administrative and executive affairs by its administrative employees of (grades 4, 5 and 6) executive management.
- Legal Aid Sub-directorate comprises one sub-director of (3rd grade) and 31 legal aid providers of (4th grade) in Kabul province;
- Public legal awareness sub-directorate consists of one sub-director (3rd grade) and civil education instructors (4th grade), public awareness manager of (4th grade) and other 16 public legal advertisers of (5th grade);
- Legal Aid General Directorate has (5) servant employees.
In total, the General Directorate of Legal Aid has (64) administrative and service personnel in the center.
Provincial Subsidiary Bodies
Subsidiary bodies of general directorate of legal aid in provinces consists of 33 posts of sub-directorates (3rd grade), 119 legal aid providers (4th grade) and 33 provincial public legal advertisers (5th grade). The number of legal aid provider in the province is adjusted according to the population, workload and volume of cases and the administrative ranking of the provinces. Therefore, the number of legal aid provider, including the manager of legal aids in the formation of judicial departments in each province, is from two to five persons.
Provision of legal aid at the district level
Since, the provision of legal aid and services has been the state’s obligation and for the purposes of paving the ground for the underprivileged suspects and accused to be entitled to this legal services in accordance with the legislative documents and national policy for legal aid, this legal aid and services is to be provided in district level.
Obligations and Authorities of Legal Aid Office
Leal aid office and its relating sub-directorates in provinces have the following obligations and authorities:
- Receiving the indignity form, examining and making decision on appointing the legal aid provider or declining it;
- Assigning the legal aid provider pursuant to this regulation;
- Utilizing the database of legal aid office;
- Monitoring the performances of respective legal aid provider and receiving their reports of performances;
- Collecting accurate statistics on legal aid services presented delivered by legal aid providers;
- Appointing the legal aid provider to render the legal aid services for defendants in criminal cases and for children and women in legal cases as well;
- Ensuring that justice and judicial authorities have provided the specified legal services at any phase of legal proceedings for rightful persons;
- Assuring the cooperation of all judicial authorities with the legal aid providers while rendering their duties;
- Ensuring the judicial authorities about the offer of legal aid by a designated legal aid provider, at any stage of the prosecution of the suspect, accused or indigent convicted.
- Organizing seminars, workshops, and courses and training programs to improve the level of professional knowledge of the Legal Aid providers of the Legal Aid Office.
- Submit quarterly reports on related performances and activities to the Ministry and the Commission.
- Perform other duties that assigned to that by the Minister of Justice or the Commission
Duties and Responsibilities of Legal Aid Provider
Providing the legal aid for suspects, accused or indigent convicts and defending the rights of indigent women and children in family cases, the victim and other unprotected groups including the following:
- Requesting for criminal lawsuits related to the client in all stages of judicial prosecution, meeting with the client, communication, connection and telecommunications of the under control client, detention or imprisonment in an environment where his secrets are protect
- Providing the legal aid services with honesty, faithfulness and respect for the client's personality, avoiding from any kind of discrimination based on gender, language, ethnicity, locality, region and race;
- detachment from any favor to the client and refraining from any measure that cause unfounded defer in the process of the inquiry and trial;
- Obtaining the client's documents, protection and returning them to the client in exchange for a written document, recording the information of the cases assigned in the database and submitting a report of daily work to the relevant authority.
Providing the legal advices and aid
Providing legal advice through the 188 Call Center hotline is one of the key tasks of this office and providing legal advice to suspects, accused or convicts, indigent women and children and other defenseless groups presented by a legal providers according to the category format in criminal, civil cases and the manner of trial process. Legal advices are provided after the filling out of consultation forms base on the provisions of law and confirmed by the person in charge of this office.
Defending the rights of the underprivileged people before the courts
Legal aid provider in all stages of prosecution (detection, investigation and trial) participates and response attentively on behalf of the client in the judicial authorities.