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Former Soviet Union: U.S. Rule of Law Assistance Has Had Limited Impact

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Since 1991, the 12 new independent states that emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union have been struggling to overcome a long tradition of totalitarian rule, marked by an arbitrary system of justice and state suppression of human rights. The U.S. governments efforts to support their transition to an enduring system of democracy and open markets include the promotion of the rule of law in these countries. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID, the rule of law embodies the basic principles of equal treatment of all people before the law and is founded on a predictable and transparent legal system with fair and effective judicial and law enforcement institutions to protect citizens against the arbitrary use of state authority and lawless acts. For fiscal years 1992 through 2000, the U.S. government has provided about 216 million in assistance to help the new independent states of the former Soviet Union develop the sustainable institutions, traditions, and legal foundations for establishing a strong rule of law. The United States has aimed its assistance at helping these countries 1 establish a modern legal basis for the administration of justice, 2 create a strong and independent judiciary, 3 strengthen legal education for legal professionals operating within the system, 4 improve law enforcement practices, and 5 broaden access and participation of civil society 2 in the legal system. For the purposes of this report, we refer to this array of

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law

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