The Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) works to promote and protect the rule of law, social justice and implementation of Islamic instructions in Afghanistan. AIBA believe in the right of Afghan citizens to have disputes heard and determined with the support of defense attorneys who are well-qualified, committed to the ethical practice of law, and able to practice independently regardless of any discrimination and without interference.
AIBA was established to improve access to fair trials, to increase confidence in the legal profession among the public, to improve cooperation between stakeholders in the justice sector, to promote new generations of dedicated legal professionals and to fight against administrative corruption.
The Advocates’ Law, which was passed by the Parliament in November 2007 provides for an independent, non-governmental, independent Afghan Bar Association to be established to lead and regulate all activities of advocates. Following that directive, the first General Assembly of the Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) was held in late July 2008. Over 450 defense attorneys from all over Afghanistan came to participate in a four day conference, during which time the leadership of the AIBA was elected and the By-Laws were debated and adopted. The AIBA officially opened in September 2008, and began issuing licenses for defense attorneys according to the Advocates’ Law and the AIBA By-Laws in October 2008.
Since that time, over 400 advocates from across the country have become members of the AIBA. These defense attorneys have been screened for eligible under the relevant requirements and have committed to practicing law in an ethical way, according to the AIBA Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct was finally approved in January of 2009, and has now been published and is ready for distribution to all defense attorneys, across the justice sector and within the international community.
Article 2 of the AIBA By-Laws:
The Afghan Independent Bar Association functions to achieve the following objectives:
1. To support the implementation of Islamic instructions, rule of law and social justice;
2. To defend human rights and to fight against any kind of discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, language, color, disability or social or economic status;
3. To ensure respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of Afghan citizens before legal and judicial institutions;
4. To improve access to justice in courts and inspection institutions through the provision of appropriate and regulated legal services;
5. To distribute licenses to practice law to those who meet the requirements set out in the Advocates’ Law and these By-Laws;
6. To establish effective legal education programs to develop the professional knowledge of advocates regarding national and international legal standards;
7. To protect and defend the independence of advocates and their professional rights;
8. To regulate and uphold professional ethics and standards amongst the members and to encourage them to treat their clients properly;
9. To encourage advocates protecting their professional dignity and pride, to enhance public confidence in the work of advocates to fight against any kind of corruption;
10. To ensure legal aid for individuals in criminal, civil and commercial matters;
11. To monitor the professional activities of advocates;
12. To coordinate advocates’ activities and to support and defend their rights;
13. To ensure free legal services for indigent suspects and accused persons in accordance with the law;
14. To provide a variety of public legal awareness programs; and
15. To engage in joint efforts between association and other judicial inspection institutes.
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