Former Soviet Union: U.S. rule of law assistance has had limited impact

Former Soviet Union: U.S. rule of law assistance has had limited impact

Supporting former Soviet nations in promoting the "rule of the law" has been problematic

This article explores the U.S. government’s efforts to support nations of the former Soviet Union in their transition to an enduring system of democracy and open markets include the promotion of the “rule of law” in these countries.

The United States has aimed its assistance at helping these countries to:

  • establish a modern legal basis for the administration of justice
  • create a strong and independent judiciary
  • strengthen legal education for legal professionals operating within the system
  • improve law enforcement practices
  • broaden access and participation of civil society in the legal system

The article concludes that:

  • establishing the rule of law is a complex and long-term undertaking. After nearly a decade of effort and more than $200 million worth of assistance, the program has had difficulty fostering the sustainable institutions and traditions necessary to establish the rule of law in this region
  • many of the elements of the Soviet-style legal system are still in place in the new independent states
  • there should be a greater emphasis on measuring project impact and achieving project sustainability

The article recommends that:

  • each new project should be designed with specific strategies for achieving defined long-term outcomes that are sustainable beyond U.S. funding
  • there is a provision for monitoring and evaluating the project results, using verifiable outcome indicators and measures, to determine whether the desired outcomes have been achieved and are likely to be sustainable

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.