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Afghan president nominates 1st female justice to highest court

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan listens during a press conference at the White House, Mar. 24, 2015.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

By CARLO MUNOZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 14, 2015

KABUL, Afghanistan — For the first time in Afghanistan’s history, a female judge has been nominated to sit on the country’s highest court.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani nominated Anisa Rassouli to the High Council of the Supreme Court on Sunday in Kabul, according to government officials and local news reports.

If confirmed by the country’s parliament, Rassouli would be the first woman to sit on the nine-member tribunal. Her nomination is expected to be submitted to Afghan lawmakers soon.

The unprecedented nomination is part of the Ghani administration’s efforts to promote more women to high-profile positions in the national unity government and bureaucracy.

Sahira Sharif, a female parliamentarian representing Khost province, praised Rassouli’s nomination.

“We hope she comes forward with better programs for providing justice to the nation, particularly for women,” Sharif said in a telephone interview on Sunday.

In April, Afghan lawmakers approved Ghani’s nominees for a number of cabinet positions, including four women.

The issue of women’s rights has been a top government priority since Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah assumed office last September from former President Hamid Karzai.

Although women have made some significant gains in Afghanistan’s tradition-bound, patriarchal society, the long-standing attitudes toward women as second-class citizens in society were brought to the spotlight in March after the brutal murder of a female vendor at the hands of a mob in downtown Kabul. This sparked outrage in the country and galvanized efforts to strengthen women’s rights.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report

munoz.carlo@stripes.com
Twitter: @natseccarlo