The Afghanistan Centre for Dispute Resolution’s mission is to support, attract and maintain local and international business and investment in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan through offering alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services that are cost-effective, transparent, and accountable.
What is the role of the ACDR?
ACDR is the only entity in Afghanistan that resolves commercial disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”). It offers arbitration, mediation, professional audit, and expert review services. ACDR was established in 2015 with the financial and technical support of the UK and US governments in Afghanistan. Since its establishment in 2015, ACDR has resolved over 200 disputes through ADR mechanisms.
ACDR is the only entity in Afghanistan that resolves commercial disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”).
What are the main activities of ACDR towards raising awareness of arbitration in Afghanistan?
ACDR conducts training for government entities and the private sector. It also partners with relevant stakeholders and foreign ADR institutions in conducting events on arbitration in Afghanistan.
How many qualified arbitrators do you have in ACDR?
We have 20 qualified arbitrators. Through ACDR some of them are certified by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (“CIArb”). ACDR plans to provide its other arbitrators with similar certification opportunities as well. We have the distinct honor to have Mr. Kawun Kakar as one of our arbitrators.
Has ACDR issued any arbitral award since its establishment?
As mentioned, ACDR was established in 2015 but we started our arbitration services in August 2019. Since August 2019, ACDR has issued 4 arbitration awards and currently is working on several other arbitration cases.
What are some of the recent achievements of ACDR in the field of arbitration in Afghanistan?
For the purposes of simplified and effective dispute resolution for government contracts in Afghanistan, ACDR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Procurement Authority on 9th Oct 2019. According to the mentioned MoU, disputes arising from domestic procurement contracts over AFN 100,000,000 will be resolved through arbitration in ACDR.
For the purpose of the sustainability of ADR in Afghanistan, and arbitration, in particular, ACDR has signed an MoU with the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (“AIBA”). In order to be qualified to take a bar license to practice law in Afghanistan, all applicants are required to study and pass a six-month legal course offered by AIBA. According to the mentioned MoU, AIBA will for the first time add the subject of Arbitration and Mediation to the above-mentioned legal course.
ACDR has provided its arbitrators with international certification opportunities and several training opportunities abroad in coordination with international arbitrators, lawyers, law firms, and ADR centers.
Disputes arising from domestic procurement contracts over AFN 100,000,000 will be resolved through arbitration in ACDR.
How are the arbitral awards being implemented?
The losing party has the option to voluntarily comply with the arbitration award. If not, the winning party can enforce the domestic award through the Huqoq (Rights) Directorate of the Ministry of Justice.
How are the foreign arbitral awards being implemented in Afghanistan and what is the role of Hoqoq Directorate and the court with the respect to implementing a foreign arbitral award?
There is no established mechanism in Afghanistan for the implementation of foreign arbitral awards. By virtue of Article 56 of the Arbitration Law, the foreign arbitration awards are enforceable in Afghanistan. But there is no regulation on how to enforce a foreign arbitration award in Afghanistan. In practice, the foreign arbitration award is implemented by Huqoq Department if it complies with the requirements set forth in Afghan Law. ACDR is working with relevant stakeholders on the mentioned issue. We have achieved some progress as well but would need to work more.
About Zahid Omarzai: Zahid Omarzai is an attorney licensed by the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) and has several years of experience working with an international law firm in Afghanistan. In this capacity, his primary focus areas were commercial law and corporate law. He has published an article entitled “Overview of Arbitration in Afghanistan – A Practical Approach” in which he analyzes the arbitration regime in Afghanistan and suggests practical solutions to overcome the barriers in the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Afghanistan. He has represented Afghanistan in Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot), which is the world’s most prestigious moot court on arbitration, and currently volunteers as Country Director for Vis Moot in Afghanistan. He is currently working as the Executive Director of the Afghanistan Center for Dispute Resolution (ACDR) where he oversees and works for the development of the ADR system in Afghanistan.