Thomas Kraemer is Senior Counsel at Kakar Advocates in Kabul, Afghanistan, and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is a Special Correspondent for JURIST currently based in Istanbul, Türkiye.
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has issued a decree directing that a plan be prepared for transferring the Huquq, or Rights Directorate, to the Supreme Court of Afghanistan. The Huquq Directorate currently is part of the Ministry of Justice. The decree approved last month is directed toward the Acting General Director of the General Directorate of Administrative Affairs, which is to prepare the transfer plan in conjunction with representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court.
The primary function of the Huquq Directorate is to assist in the implementation of decisions and orders of the Afghan courts. The Huquq Directorate also serves as a sort of screening body for the primary courts. Claims are submitted first to the Huquq Directorate, which will then summon the other party or parties and attempt to mediate the dispute. If mediation is unsuccessful, then the Huquq Directorate will refer the case to the primary court.
In August 2022, the Afghanistan Attorney General announced that his office no longer would be involved in the investigation, prosecution or oversight of criminal cases. Government offices were directed to report any suspicion of criminal activity to the courts for investigation. The new directive to implement the transfer of the Huquq Directorate’s function to the Supreme Court may be seen as an additional indication that the interim government views that judges well-versed in Islamic law are best positioned to implement justice in the country.