Africa Justice System Reform Initiative

The development of effective institutions and the creation of transparent, independent, reliable and accessible justice systems is the ultimate goal of the Africa Justice System Reform Initiative (AJSRI).  

The Africa Justice Reform program involves a completion of the African justice index,  a thorough assessment of the current state of justice systems and a subsequent reform phase.  We conduct institutional assessments through extensive research, in-depth analysis, and surveys to identify weaknesses in the justice system and offer thoughtful recommendations for reform.  

The goal is to create a well-functioning and accountable system that reflects the values and aspirations of people.

From the IIJD, we provide African governments and people the tools necessary to build a strong institutional foundation needed to foster democratic governance, uphold justice, preserve peace, empower communities, and sustain development.

Our work under the Africa Justice System Reform Initiative revolves around three important steps:  

        1. An Africa Justice Index,    

        2. In-depth assessments and 

        3. An implementation and control phase.  

The Africa Justice Index constitutes the first phase of our Africa justice system reform initiative, which is implemented with the justice surveys.

The Africa Justice System Reform is supported by the development of country profiles that gives a basic understanding of, and background information on each country’s governance structure. 

We have compiled African countries constitutions to facilitate your understanding of issues at stake. 

The Africa Justice Index is completed once all the necessary data are gathered.  As part of the Africa Justice system Initiative, are published the Institutions Reform News and Updates occurring throughout the African continent.

The Country profile offers a comprehensive picture and a general overview of the legal system of the African country assessed.

The Country profiles provide a basis needed to understand the context and the political and legal environment in which the institutions of the justice system function.

The profiles help explain why there is an adherence to the rule of law or not. In developing country profiles, the legal and political environment is assessed by capturing elements that collectively help present and better understand the system of governance and the state of the country.

The Institutions of the justice system are influenced by this environment.

The Elements that we take into consideration while assessing a country’s environment include: the constitution, the legislation, the type of regime and form of government, the system of laws, the justice system structure, the political process, the level of freedom and democracy, the level of separation, cooperativeness or delineation of responsibilities between the three branches of powers.

The Africa Justice Index is a mean of investigating the enduring problems and identifying issues plaguing African justice systems.  

The Africa Justice Index is based on several indicators developed in the IIJD justice system reform toolkit, which guides our investigation into the current state of justice systems. 

The toolkit presents characteristics necessary for a healthy and efficient justice system, such as transparency, accountability, impartiality, efficiency, accessibility, predictability, legitimacy and independence. 

These identified qualities of judiciaries, prison systems, police force and ADRs are translated into carefully developed indicators and parameters that determine to what extent these characteristics are present within the justice systems being studied. 

The Africa Justice index is established and maintained, based on indicators, research, analysis, and surveys conducted on African countries. Listening to people impacted by these justice systems is at the core of this process.  Based on the analysis and findings from the data collected, the IIJD makes recommendations on how to facilitate the reform of inadequate justice systems throughout the continent.

Constitutions are fundamental laws of a nation or state.  Constitutions delineate the character of the government; organize the regulation and distribution of power, and functions between the branches of the government.

Constitutions describe the extent of sovereign power, duties of authorities and the rights of citizens. The importance of a constitution as a fundamental instrument of power is many folds; it is crucial in understanding the system of governance and assessing the institutions of justice system. 

  For our purposes we focus on three aspects of the role of a constitution in a justice system reform initiative: 

  •  Firstly, as supreme law of the land, the constitution derives its power from the governed, not from the government.  It then has power over elected officials, including the Executive, and its power is absolute.
  • Secondly, the constitution defines the powers and functions of the three main branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial), the checks and balances of these branches, and the relationship between them. 
  • Thirdly, in order for the constitution to remain legitimate and functional, it must be interpreted by members of the judicial branch.

Interpreting the meaning and intention of the constitution is the ultimate power of the judicial branch of government and, as such, it must be done conservatively and without prejudice. To learn more about a specific country, please click on a country below to view its constitution.

In this section, the the International Institute for Justice and Development (IIJD) provides News and Updates that occur in the areas of the justice system reform within the countries of the continent of Africa. 

 In so doing,  we keep track of the reform work being done to render the countries’ justice system more effective, efficient, accessible, accountable, and credible.