Habitullah Akhundzada, Taliban’s “Supreme Leader”, issued a verbal decree to change the Attorney General’s Office to the “General Directorate for Monitoring and Follow-up of decrees and directives”. With this decree, Taliban have reduced the AGO to an entity for follow-up of the orders of Taliban leadership, and they have curtailed AGO’s authorities for fighting crime, ensuring justice and supporting the fundamental rights of citizens.
This is Taliban’s latest step in dismantling Afghanistan’s legal infrastructure. Since their return to power on 15 August 2021, Taliban have dissolved key national institutions including the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, the electoral bodies, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the special courts and prosecution units dedicated to elimination of violence against women and children, subsequently dismantling the legal infrastructure that protected human rights and the rights of vulnerable groups.
Rawadari’s findings illustrate that in the past 19 months, Taliban have carried out arbitrary arrests and punishments in both civil and criminal cases. The existing laws have been overlooked and full investigations have not been carried out in these cases.
This latest decision to formally and intentionally abolish the key responsibilities of the AGO and grant unlimited power to courts, further weakens access to justice, especially as the constitution has been dissolved and other relevant laws such as the Penal Code have been suspended. These steps are a clear indication that the de facto authorities do not have the will to establish a fair and accessible justice system in the country.
This verbal decree regarding the AGO, as well as the ongoing violations of the fair trial principles, delays in addressing cases and indefinite detentions all contribute to corruption and violations of human rights.
Rawadari expresses serious concern regarding the status of rule of law in Afghanistan and calls on the de facto authorities to uphold their obligations for ensuring justice and rule of law, establishing a fair justice system based on human rights principles and preserving national institutions in Afghanistan.