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Afghanistan, a factory of best practice manuals

We live in a world of constraints. Everyone cries: war, poverty, corruption. The Ministry of Interior tells us they are not the government. The foreigners are. Their hands are tied. We talk to the Americans, but it seems everyone has the same story. Everyone's hands are tied. We have overwhelming evidence, but nothing can supersede tied hands: insufficient staff, insufficient time. So charges are selected based on perceived severity and importance.

Sexual violence is the least important of crimes, it sometimes seem to me. It carries the worst punishment, but only for the most deserving victims. For the best of us, it is a secondary crime. Second nature to the life of a woman. In war, merely collateral damage.

Here in Afghanistan, I am aghast and at lost for words of the gazillion training lawyers have gone through. Afghanistan has become a factory of best practice manuals, things the foreigners could learn a thing or two from. Yet, it never occurred to anyone that manuals don't necessarily lead to accountability. That the best lawyers are not those who can recite provisions like we recite the Quran, but the best amongst them are the ones who knock on doors, pester, threaten with a smile, with a tiny bit of diplomacy, with measured anger, with a please and a firm tone.

And I am glad to see some of the best of them. Though far too few and far in between.



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