Legal expertise for management of police detentions facilities

Kabul, 12 August 2013. Putting in place clear internal regulations for both detainees and police officers working in detention facilities was one of the main issues discussed at the kick-off meeting of the working group “Legal Support for Management of Police Detentions Facilities” at EUPOL HQ. The EUPOL Rule of Law Component and the Afghan Minister of Interior (MoI) Legal Affairs General Directorate were inviting experts on a strategic level to provide legal advice support.

Lt. Gen. Abdul Rahim Shuja, Chief MOI Legal Affairs General Directorate, who is chairing the working group on Afghan side together with EUPOL Mentor Ion GANE, said there needs much more work to be done in Afghanistan: “Some of the laws protecting detainees are not enforced fully yet.” He also said that “there is need for clear guidelines agreed with all legal institutions and this is what we will do together.”

EUPOL Mentor Ion GANE, stressed that this working group is another clear step forward and another prove of Afghan lead and Afghan ownership principles in practice, having together all Afghan main players in one place, ready to cooperate and deliver for the Afghan people and Afghan MOI staff as well clear standards, common approach and language on essential legal issues which regards detainees and police officers working in police detentions facilities.

This comprehensive approach is shared by the participants who are high ranking MoI officials, representatives from the Afghan Independent Bar Association, Ministry of Justice and Attourney General’s Office (AGO).

The members of the working group are aiming to address the main issues such as:

1.      Putting in place clear internal regulations, sops, guidelines and orders for police custody centers and police detentions facilities (not prisons) regarding both the detainees and police officers working in this facilities or /and dealing with detained suspects (starting with first 72 hours of detention and until conviction and transferring to prison).

2.      Putting in place a clear standard of coordination with Attorney General Office and General Directorate for Prisons and Detention Centers in order to provide detainees with all legal rights they are entitled for, according with International recognized standards.

3.      Putting in place a good system of specialized training for all police officers working in police custody centers and police detentions facilities (not prisons)

4.    Avoiding allegations of torture before being incarcerated and afterwards.

This list of crucial issues will need sincere follow-up and hard work in the next few months to produce a document which will then be presented to the strategic level of the Ministry of Interior. “We are facilitating meetings now each month on a strategic level and at least each month three times in an operational working group comprising of experienced police officers and other legal institutions representatives. They will have the task of drafting all guidelines, instructions, orders and sops as decided by strategic level,” says Ion Gane, EUPOL Rule of Law mentor.

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