Afghan Attorney General Speaks at Camp Eggers
By Navy Chief Petty Officer Susan Hammond
Special to American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 10, 2008 Afghanistan’s Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabit was guest of honor June 5 at the Camp Eggers celebration of Law Day 2008.
Army Col. Robert Teetsel, staff judge advocate for Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan, presents Afghanistan’s Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabit with a plaque commemorating Law Day 2008 at Camp Eggers, Afghanistan, June 5, 2008. As guest of honor, Sabit addressed 30 U.S. and Canadian legal representatives about rule of law in his country. U.S. Navy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan’s staff judge advocate directorate hosted the event.
Sabit addressed 30 U.S. and Canadian legal representatives about rule of law in his country. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. observance of Law Day.
This year’s theme, “The Rule of Law -- Foundation for Communities of Opportunity and Equity,” mirrors the U.S. and coalition mission of assisting the Afghan government, said Army Col. Robert Teetsel, Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan staff judge advocate. “We could think of no better speaker than Dr. Sabit to talk to us about rule of law development in Afghanistan,” he said.
Sabit acknowledged that Afghanistan has far to go in establishing rule of law nationwide.
“There are infamous warlords who are governors of provinces,” he said. “This is the state of rule of law in this country.”
Sabit discussed factors inhibiting rule of law in Afghanistan, including the war against insurgents; illegal drugs; corruption among police, prosecutors and lawmakers; and laws that prevent him from prosecuting corrupt members of Afghanistan’s parliament.
The attorney general’s personal accounts of his struggles brought to the forefront the immediate need to eliminate corruption, said Army Chief Warrant Officer William Teeple, legal administrator for Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan.
“I am hopeful and recognize that success cannot just be measured by weighing in daily on our advances and setbacks,” Teeple said. “By remaining focused and understanding the principles inherent in the rule of law, we can create a solid foundation of reform and renewed faith in this country.”
Sabit said one of his successes since becoming attorney general has been the establishment of a program to appoint qualified prosecutors in the provinces and districts. Because of a shortage of lawyers, the government appointed many prosecutors who were not attorneys, but rather were laymen chosen because of their experience or past positions.
Last year, 150 new lawyers were recruited, and 233 were recruited this year. Sabit said these lawyers will replace layman prosecutors.
After graduating from Kabul University’s Faculty of Law, Sabit obtained master’s degrees in law and economics in the United States. After serving as legal advisor to the Afghan Ministry of Interior beginning in 2003, Sabit was appointed attorney general by President Hamid Karzai in August 2006.
(Navy Chief Petty Officer Susan Hammond serves with the Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan Public Affairs Office.)