Democratic Republic of the Congo Rule of Law and Justice Assistance Program Assessment
In 2017 Democracy International conducted a Rule of Law and Justice Assistance Program Assessment for USAID/DRC designed to provide an analysis of the primary challenges and opportunities for rule of law reforms and to determine the level of political will for these reforms in order to make programming recommendations for USAID. DI focused on collecting data at multiple levels of the political process and incorporated document reviews, key informant interviews, focus groups, and site visits in order to provide a diverse analysis.
Despite high levels of donor investment in justice sector reform, DI noted that attempted reforms brought few sustainable improvements, in large part because of absent host government funding, and that the justice system remained plagued by corruption. Additionally, DI found that the low level of legitimacy for political leadership in DRC and inadequate checks and balances are problematic for establishing the rule of law. DI recommended that USAID shift its focus from strengthening the judiciary to instead pursuing judicial independence and assuring free and fair elections in order to increase governance and leadership legitimacy.