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Skip Navigation LinksPOGAR > Activities and Projects > Modernization of Public Prosecution Offices Initiative

- Introductory Note
- Historical Background
- Objectives of the Project
- Timeline

Introductory Note

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched through the Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (POGAR) an initiative to modernize the public prosecution offices in some of the Arab countries, thus enabling those offices to face the growing threats of criminal activity.

The Project fits within the Programme framework topic of Peace, Security and Human Rights, and is entitled as follows: "Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Arab States - Modernization of Public Prosecution Offices".

The purpose of the Project is to support national efforts in the Arab Region to strengthen institutional capacity within the context of good governance and the rule of law in addition to enhancing citizen security.

The name Arab-Niaba allocated to this website refers to the Arabic word for the term Public Prosecution Offices which are at the centre of the Project.

Historical Background

Recent events and developments in the Arab region, such as renewed violence and increased calls for comprehensive and effective reform measures, have revealed the need for rule of law reform to address institutions that are concerned with increasing citizen security, improving respect for human rights and enhancing accountability in the society.

Public Prosecution offices are one of these institutions and they represent a vital component of the judicial system. Their importance lies in the fact that they are among the main civil institutions dealing with criminal procedures and prosecution issues in respect of citizen security and the rule of law.

In some Arab countries, the public prosecution offices are unable to face increased threats that they are facing as a result of globalization. These challenges are leading to a constant development and proliferation of various types of crimes.

Two years of consultations have led, in 2005, to the launching of the Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Arab States - Modernization of Public Prosecution Offices which focuses on the public prosecution offices as one of the main civil institutions that deal with increasing citizen security while protecting and promoting respect for human rights.

The project recognizes that, as an element of the judiciary, the public prosecution should be independent and capable of defending the public interest, while providing access to justice, upholding the rule of law and maintaining a cooperative and productive relationship with civil society organizations as representatives of the real needs of citizens in society. Only strong, independent, and transparent public prosecutors' offices can truly ensure access to justice for all its citizens, while at the same time ensuring respect of the rule of law.

Little attention has been paid to the role of public prosecution offices in the past, despite their importance and obvious need for support in knowledge and capacity building. This project provides an innovative entry point to rule of law reform in the region, evidenced both by the growing cooperation and active involvement of public prosecution offices in the pilot countries, and the increased interest on the part of the donors to expand the scope of this project.

The project presently includes the following pilot countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen. New pilot countries shall be included as part of the efforts to expand the scope of the project and, in 2007, Lebanon will be joining the participating pilot countries.

Objectives of the Project

The general objective of the Project is to increase the citizen's security in the Arab Region by developing and modernizing the key institutions that are concerned with citizen security: the public prosecution offices.

The Project lies on the following four pillars:

  1. Building and promoting the capacity of public prosecution offices.
  2. Creating and promoting relations of collaboration and cooperation between the public prosecution offices and civil society.
  3. Creating and developing communication channels between the public prosecution offices and the international community.
  4. Reforming the laws governing the public prosecution offices.

These areas shall be addressed through the implementation of a number of activities in the pilot countries: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Yemen. A number of activities will also be implemented on the regional level through integration and networking projects.

Timeline
  • Starting Date of the Project:    December 2004
  • Duration of the Project:
    • Preparatory Phase: December 2004 - June 2005
    • Implementation Phase (36 months):
         1. Phase I:    8 months
         2. Phase II:    24 months
         3. Phase III:    4 months

    The initiative was launched in Cairo in May 2005 in four Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen). It was later extended in 2006 to include Lebanon and in 2007 to include Algeria and Iraq.