United Nations Releases Rule of Law Indicators Guide

NEW YORK—The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have released a new publication that introduces an instrument for monitoring changes in the performance and fundamental characteristics of criminal justice institutions in countries in conflict or post-conflict situations.

“The United Nations Rule of Law Indicators: Implementation Guide and Project Tools” was prepared with the assistance of the Vera Institute of Justice’s International Program, in collaboration with other members of the Altus Global Alliance—a network of six nongovernmental organizations and academic centers in Brazil, Chile, India, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States—and consultants from the University of the Fraser Valley and Harvard University.

“Vera is proud to lead an international team to create this innovative instrument that grounds our knowledge of war-torn countries’ progress toward a stable and sustainable rule of law,” says Michael Jacobson, Vera’s director. “The guide explains how a country can use the indicators to measure its progress toward the rule of law and assess the challenges it must surmount.”

The indicators presented in the publication are intended to be used as an internal assessment of how criminal justice is delivered in countries emerging from conflict, rather than as a comparative instrument between countries. They will be implemented by June 2012 in three countries, including Haiti and Liberia, with the collaboration of their national governments.

“Our collaboration with the UN and national governments has resulted in an instrument that highlights the measurement of both successes and shortcomings within law enforcement, judicial, and correctional institutions over time within a country,” says Monica Thornton, director of international business at Vera. “We hope this will augment knowledge of the services being delivered by these institutions to the most marginalized communities, resulting in a fairer and more reliable criminal justice system.”

The full text of the guide is available on the UN website.