Remarks at Justice Sector Reform Panel

William R. Brownfield
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC
April 11, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is obviously both an honor and a pleasure to be with you today. May I offer you the INL perspective at this stage? Others have and will talk about IDLO’s mission, its noble mission to enhance and strengthen rule of law, support good governance in developing countries, countries in economic transition, countries emerging from conflict. I do not need to explain to you all the importance of those missions, so nobly and well supported by IDLO since, over the last 30 years. Let me offer you the perspective of the Assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

Ladies and Gentlemen, every year, I do a large number of very complicated foreign assistance programs and projects to the tune, depending upon what the 535 men and women who vote in this complex where we are currently located, will decide every year somewhere around 2 billion dollars a year. In order to implement these programs, I must have either people or partners in the field capable of managing very complicated programs in very sensitive countries that by definition, if we are there with our programs, have security or law enforcement or rule of law challenges that they must confront.

Traditionally we do programs with one of three groups of people. First, those who are actually my employees, and I do have a number of them, about 700 or so, a little less than 500 that are stationed permanently in Washington, and a bit less than 300 that are deployed overseas. I am in more than 80 countries around the world, you can do the math, if I had to depend solely on permanent staff, I would have approximately 2.5 people in each program country, some of those countries are managing 600 million dollar programs. I think it’s pretty safe to say I would fall flat on my face if I relied exclusively on permanent, full time US Government employees.

The second group that we have traditionally used are private sector contractors, and I have between three or four thousand under contract at any given time. They do excellent work, I am proud of what they do in implementing these sorts of contracts for us. However, they are representatives of private companies. They are in this business, as we say, to make a profit, and I don’t need to bore you with stories of the occasional difficulties we have had over the past 10 years in terms of actions and activities by contractors.

The third package of partners that we have developed over the past 30 years are international organizations. They have names that you all are quite familiar with, they have names like the United Nations, the Organization of American States, other fairly well known organizations. But they’re not really implementers, they are organizations themselves, and to a certain extent, they will manage programs that fit in with what they themselves are trying to do programmatically.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have bored you with this little story to say to you there is a niche that must be filled. We don’t have enough people in our own permanent ranks, we cannot use private sector contractors for everything, and the international organizations like the UN and its constituent parts or the OAS and its constituent parts simply cannot do all the things we need them to do. We need, there is a growing demand for an organization like, well, the International Development Law Organization.

And may I offer two examples of just how well they fill this need. One, Afghanistan, some of you may have heard of the country. We are in a process of transition, announced by the President of the United States more than two years ago, indicating that at the end of, by the end of 2014, something will change. Call that change what you wish, and it is a work in process, but we are moving toward transition. May I tell you with absolute confidence that regardless of how that drawdown or transition occurs, there will still be a justice sector in Afghanistan, it will require some degree of support, assistance, training, institution and capacity building. And I am delighted to confirm that INL and IDLO now have a program, a rather large program, one of my largest programs in Afghanistan, to the tune of 47 million dollars to perform this function, as well as the continuation of a second program that runs at about 12 million dollars to provide support and training for prosecution of crimes against women and providing legal aid to those victims.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not say to you that IDLO is the only organization that could perform this function and manage these programs. I do say to you with no hesitation it is the best organization to do these programs in Afghanistan at this time.

Second example, South Sudan. In some ways, almost a polar opposite of the challenges that we confront in Afghanistan. Two years ago, three years ago, I’ve lost a bit of my history, the Republic of South Sudan did not exist. We are dealing with a nation, a government that is still in the process of standing itself up, of creating itself. We are delighted to have a program to the tune of nearly two and a half million dollars with IDLO to support a judicial development program in South Sudan to establish and support a judicial training institute in South Sudan. And may I offer you the following commentary: IDLO in South Sudan does more than just implement a complicated, and might I suggest, dangerous program in the security situation there. They also serve as the overall international donor coordinator. Without them, ladies and gentlemen there would not be one judicial program in South Sudan there would be four, or five, or six. And whether they would overlap or leave great holes in the process, I don’t know. All I can tell you is with that coordination, you actually have six different donors working to common purpose as opposed to six different donors working in six different directions.

So, ladies and gentlemen, may I conclude by saying, I am here to talk about the International Development Law Organization not in order to emphasize the nobility of its purpose. I am here to say to you that we need IDLO, and if it did not exist today, we would have to invent it, because it does something that must be done, and, so far, no one else in the world is doing.

And may I remind everyone in this room that where they operate and what they do is not without risk. I presume everyone in this room is aware that slightly less I believe than two weeks ago, there was a massive and vicious in a courthouse or judicial administrative center in Afghanistan, and it resulted in the deaths of a number of Afghans. Many of these Afghans were in that building at that time as students of an IDLO program, and I say this to you just to remind us all that as we support IDLO, as we ask them to perform these missions in some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous places, let us not forget that we are putting them, to a certain extent, in harm’s way and support them when they come under difficult situations.

Thank you.