Legal Pluralism and Militia Regulation: International, Domestic, and Community Accountability Frameworks for Sub-State Forces in Afghanistan
Journal of Afghan Legal Studies 2 (1396 / 2017), Forthcoming
20 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2019
Date Written: April 29, 2019
This article will examine how three different accountability and regulatory regimes apply to one of the most difficult areas to regulate – the conduct of local armed groups and militias. In Afghanistan, experiments with legal pluralism and the strong international presence have led to a layered accountability approach, with efforts to apply Afghan state, community-based, and international or foreign-law based accountability mechanisms to the largest and most long-standing community defense force model, the Afghan Local Police (ALP). There have been greater attempts to apply all three frameworks to ALP not only because of its size and longevity (active from 2010 and in 34 provinces), but also because it has been a lightning rod for criticism, with allegations of abuse continually prompting efforts to develop accountability measures and prevent future abuses. All three mechanisms have struggled to address these allegations, in part due to lack of political will and poor application of legal controls, but also in part due to some of the structural and practical difficulties of attempting to extend legal accountability to armed actors with grater sway (by virtue of their local power and control of force) than the rule of law.
Keywords: Afghanistan, Legal Pluralism, Militias, Accountability, Informal Justice, Human Rights Law
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