KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghan civil society members called on President Ashraf Ghani and discussed an apolitical, transparent and fair procedure to be established the appointment of new Attorney General (AG), a statement said on Sunday.
Farid Hamidi who served as Attorney General for more than five years resigned on March 1, 2021. Civil society previously expressed their concerns about independence of Attorney General’s Office from political interference.
Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch, stated, “the independence of the new Attorney General will be paramount to effective prosecution of major corruption cases which have been pending in Afghanistan for years.” He continued, “Afghanistan has, to date, lacked the political culture to ensure an independent Attorney General is appointed.”
The absence of having to have experience of relevant prosecutorial work at a senior level as a prerequisite for candidates for the attorney general position has given the Executive an open hand in the appointment process of attorney generals and has allowed politically affiliated figures to serve in this critically important position.
Waheed Farzayee, a senior member of the Afghan Lawyers Union, stated, “The President should create an independent procedure based on which only people with professional experience and independence are eligible to become candidates for Attorney General position to truly serve to the spirit of the Afghan constitution.” He continued, “Attorney General’s tenure should also be specified to ensure the new Attorney General fights corruption without a fear of political backlash.”
Afghan civil society proposes that the president establishes a procedure based on which civil society and other independent actors can draw up a shortlist of names for him to choose one as the new Attorney General. Hand-picking candidates with no prosecution experience and/or political connections will undermine the independence of Attorney General from the outset, civil society representatives insisted.