Constitution of Afghanistan

Afghanistan Judiciary

Under the Taliban, there was no rule of law or independent judiciary. Ad hoc rudimentary judicial systems were established based on Taliban interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law). Murderers were subjected to public executions and thieves had a limb or two (one hand, one foot) severed. Adulterers were stoned to death in public. Taliban courts were said to have heard cases in sessions that sometimes lasted minutes. Prison conditions were very poor and prisoners were often not given much food. Normally, this was the responsibility of the prisoners' relatives, who were allowed to visit to provide food once or twice a week. Those who had no relatives had to petition the local council or rely on other inmates.

The 2004 Constitution established an independent judiciary under the Islamic Republic. The judicial branch consists of a Supreme Court (Stera Mahkama), High Courts, Appeals Courts, and local and district courts. The Supreme Court is composed of nine members who are appointed by the president for a period of ten years (nonrenewable) with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga. The Supreme Court has the power of judicial review. Lower courts apply Shia law in cases dealing with personal matters for Shia followers.

Crime in Afghanistan includes drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and black marketeering. The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan's version of Homeland Security, has been accused of running its own prisons, torturing suspects, and harassing journalists, which has added to the controversy over human rights in the country.

Copyright law in Afghanistan has not been recognized by the United States since 2005. The court of last resort is the Afghan Supreme Court, which was approved in 2004 and is headed up by the Chief Justice of Afghanistan. The judicial system is still under construction.

Supreme Court of Afghanistan

Address: Massoud Square, Kabul, Afghanistan

Phone: +93(0) 20 230 22 63