Rechtskulturen Colloquium
Mon 14 Jan 2013 | 17:00–19:00

Bribed Justice. An Ethnography of Corruption in the Afghan Judiciary

Antonio De Lauri; Comment: Ebrahim Afsah (Copenhagen)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Juristische Fakultät, Room E25, Unter den Linden 9, 10099 Berlin

In Afghanistan, a modernized state justice system is at a crucial and troubled stage of establishment which will determine its future effectiveness as an institution that provides Afghan citizens with access to justice.This paper focuses on the phenomenon of corruption inside judicial institutions. By integrating the analysis of narratives of corruption with the observation of judicial practice and a critical approach to the reconstruction process, I argue that in Afghanistan, the phenomenon of corruption can be read in terms of “double institutionalization” whereby mechanisms of exchange and compensation, affirmed at the level of social practice, find a possibility of reaffirmation (of re-institutionalization) in the legal system. The creation of an economic system that depends on international aid, the consolidation of a state apparatus over-determined by warlordism and the foreign influence, and the process of legal modernization itself all play an important role in the re-institutionalization and radicalization of corruption. By taking into consideration this scenario, I adopt an ethnographic perspective to explore some of the effects of corruption on the work of judges and on the access to justice.

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