The Rule of Law Crisis in Afghanistan

8 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2020

See all articles by Mehdi J. Hakimi

Mehdi J. Hakimi

Harvard University - Harvard Law School; Stanford Law School

Date Written: September 7, 2020


The most indispensable requirement of the rule of law is the enforcement of legal constraints on government power. To that end, Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution, while beset by serious flaws, established a rudimentary system of checks and balances among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the state. After almost sixteen years of democratic experiment, the constitution’s nebulous system of separation of powers is in disarray — a predicament engendered, in key part, by the government’s increasingly authoritarian tilt. Relentless executive encroachment on legislative prerogatives and judicial independence has dealt debilitating blows to the rule of law in the fledgling democracy. Constitutional amendments and other bold measures are needed to avert a free fall into Afghanistan’s dark, despotic past.

Keywords: Afghanistan, Rule of Law, Afghan Law, Constitutional Law, Separation of Powers, Legislative Oversight, Judicial Independence, Executive Overreach, Comparative Law, Transnational Law, International Law, Legal Reform, Law and Development

Suggested Citation

Hakimi, Mehdi J., The Rule of Law Crisis in Afghanistan (September 7, 2020). Georgetown Journal of International Law, 2020, Available at SSRN: or

Mehdi J. Hakimi (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Law School

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Stanford Law School

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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