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State and Non-State Justice Systems in Afghanistan: The Need for Synergy

Continual conflict in Afghanistan since the 1979 Soviet invasion left its state justice institutions in shambles. The post-Taliban era has seen a number of efforts to rebuild the justice system, many of which have failed to fix or even worsened the problem. In this article, Ali Wardak argues that synergy between state and non-state justice mechanisms offers the best way forward for the country. Significant problems with the current system mean that most Afghans bring their disputes to two non-state institutions, the jirga and shura, for mediation. Developing an evidence-based framework that includes both state and non-state bodies as well as civil society groups could offer an effective, accessible, and cost-effective solution, restoring public trust in Afghanistan’s justice system. Read the full article here.

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May Newsletter – Peace, Conflict and the Politics of Memory

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana
History teachers are fond of reminding their students that knowledge of the past acts as insurance against repeating it in the future. But when it comes to conflict how exactly is the past to be remembered? That’s where things get complicated. The politics of memory seem to be in the news a lot these days, from a national reckoning in the United States over Confederate monuments to questions about renewed tensions with Russia.

Looking back at the past is hardly a trivial affair. Large internal conflicts can completely transform societies, opening fissures in the social fabric that can take generations to repair. A collective remembrance of past wrongs can reunify a society, so long as victims and perpetrators all participate, but unqualified successes are few and far between. And strong, clashing opinions about the form and duration of collective atonement seem to abound. To unpack how different countries are dealing with these issues, this month’s newsletter circumnavigates the globe in search of lessons worth learning.

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What Does the New Women, Peace, and Security Index Measure?

Anne Marie Goetz’s article discusses the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Index, launched in October by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and Peace Research Institute. The WPS Index innovatively draws from existing gender equality indices and perception- and attitudinal-based measures in order to rank countries on the following three areas: women’s inclusion, justice, and security. While the WPS Index is the first to include levels of organized violence as a measure of women’s security, it would greatly benefit from additional measures of conflict. Read the full article here.

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