Justice and security are inextricably linked. A strong justice sector protects and enforces people’s rights and deters would-be violators. An independent and effective justice sector is fundamental to security, particularly in post-conflict and transitional environments where opportunities for criminal activities and impunity are rife. Reforming the justice sector is a cornerstone of creating peace, stability and democracy. A country’s constitution and laws form the basis for protection of human rights. Critically, policies, procedures and practices within the justice sector determine the equal enjoyment of these rights by all.
Individuals experience security and insecurity in different ways based on, for example, ethnicity, sex, age, sexual orientation, economic status, religion and health. Around the world, women face particular barriers in accessing justice, while men are more likely to be imprisoned. Justice reform requires measures to address the specific needs of different groups, and integrating gender into justice reform is an essential strategy in this endeavour. If the justice sector is to have credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the community the reform process must include the participation – and address the needs – of all segments of society. This tool focuses on the institutional reform of the judiciary, law reform and access to justice, with specific emphasis on gender equality.
This tool is directed toward the personnel responsible for justice reform within national governments, international and regional organisations and donors. Parliamentarians, law societies and judges networks, civil society organisations and researchers focusing on justice reform may also find it useful. It examines justice reform within the broad and often overlapping contexts of post-conflict, transitional, developing and developed countries. Any justice reform effort is highly context-specific, and no one-fits-all template can be applied to a reform process. This tool provides suggestions and recommendations that can be adapted to the specific reform context within which you are working.