4 Apr 2007

PR# 2007-265

JAG brings ‘Spartan Justice’ to Jalalabad

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The Task Force Spartan judge advocate general shared his legal expertise with around 20 Jalalabad lawyers and police officers during a training program which began April 1 in the Nangarhar provincial capital.

Army Maj. Brad Voorhees takes a “Socratic” approach similar to the one employed at Western law schools during the legal training he provides the local police officers, lawyers and clerks he mentors.

The April 1 class was the first of a series of training events designed to encourage a consistent, professional legal climate in the region. Voorhees will conduct classes and provide individual mentorship and counseling to area legal personnel over the next month.

Voorhees hopes the training, which includes blocks on trial procedures, criminal law and prosecution, will help develop a core of legal knowledge in the area, paving the way for future refinement of the regional legal system.

“The training is intended to enable the jurists and investigators in the area,” he said. “It’s important to get laws, judges and a legal system into place. We have to exercise the legal system and develop a course of dealing that reflects ‘how we’re going to conduct legal business in this province.’”

Those attending the seminars agreed that learning a consistent legal method will be of great value.

“This is the best seminar for us because it is going to enhance our professional expertise. We weren’t familiar with a lot of the system in the past and we have had a lot of mistakes. This is helping us correct those mistakes,” said Mohammad Ihrim Myakbrill, a detentions officer who is attending the program.

“We have a responsibility to conduct things in a specific way- especially since I am a prosecutor. I have to take care of everyone’s rights according to the current law and this seminar is helping me gain proficiency in that,” added Abdul Shkoor Ahshmi, another seminar attendee.

The training, Voorhees noted, dovetails with efforts by Italian International Security Assistance Force – Afghanistan partners and ISAF military police mentors as well as the Afghan government.

“Certainly, having a forum for exercising these skills is crucial to developing a legal system in Nangarhar,” the JAG said. “The experience we have here can help shape the legal system at the provincial and district level for the rest of Afghanistan.”

Program organizers and trainees alike seemed to grasp their role in an historic effort. “You are the founding fathers of the Afghanistan legal system; when your grandchildren open their history books they will see some of you,” Voorhees told participants at the end of the first seminar.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/