August 4, 2007
Interview of the Chairman of Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the correspondent of the National News Agency of Uzbekistan (UzA)
While speaking to the correspondent of the National News Agency of Uzbekistan the Chairman of Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan Buritosh Mustafaev has told about the essence and significance of consistent and enormous reforms of judicial system, which have been underway in Uzbekistan during the years of independence and aimed at ensuring the human rights and freedoms.

?The consistent reforms which are being undertaken under the leadership of President Islam Karimov add one another and are inseparably mutually linked regardless of the fact in which sphere they are implemented ? whether it is a state or social building, or the legal system. Here the main connecting link is to ensure the protection of human interests. Proceeding from this, the program of measures of a step-by-step implementation of reforms has been elaborated.

The first stage (1991-1995) has been characterized by establishment of the national strategy of reforming the judiciary and creation of constitutional and legal bases, as well as institution of Constitutional Court for the first time in the country. The laws ?On Public Prosecutor?s Office? (1992), ?On Courts? (1993), as well as the Economic Procedural Code (1993), Criminal Code (1994), Criminal Procedural Code (1994), the Code ?On Administrative Responsibility? (1994), laws ?On appealing against the actions and decisions, violating rights and freedoms of citizens? (1995), ?On Constitutional Court? (1995), and others were adopted.

The second stage ? 1996-1999 ? has been described by deepening the judicial reforms based on the analysis of the accumulated experience and democratization of the justice system. Measures aimed at maintaining the practical equality of prosecution and defense during the trial, as well as raising the status of defense lawyer?s office have been implemented. The Civil Code (1995-1996), Civil Procedural Code (1997), Criminal Executive Code (1997), the new edition of Economic Procedural Code (1998), Laws ?On defense lawyer?s office? (1997), ?On guarantees of defense lawyer?s activity and social protection of defense lawyers? (1998), President?s Decrees ?On improving the structure of Economic Courts of the Republic of Uzbekistan? (1996), ?On measures to ensure the implementation of verdicts of economic courts? (1997) and other documents were adopted. 2000-2004 can be considered as the third stage ? the stage of further improvement of judicial system. In particular, the specialization of courts, considerable liberalization of criminal punishments have been accomplished, the quality of courts? work has improved, terms of consideration of cases have shortened, the order of consideration of appeals of civil and criminal cases has been introduced, the order of applying to the Court of Cassation has been reformed, the legal mechanism of ensuring the implementation of court decisions has been established.

The new editions of the laws ?On Courts? (2000), ?On public prosecutor?s office? (2001), ?On implementation of court acts and those of other bodies? (2001), ?On introducing amendments and addenda to the Criminal, Criminal Procedural Codes and the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on administrative responsibility vis-à-vis liberalization of criminal punishments? (2001) were adopted. In this period the Decrees of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan ?On improving the judicial system of the Republic of Uzbekistan?, ?On establishing the High qualification commission on selection and recommendation to the posts of judges at the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan?, the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers ?On measures to improve material and technical basis of general jurisdiction courts of the Republic of Uzbekistan?.

At this stage in connection with liberalization of criminal punishments, which is of a special significance in ensuring the rights and freedoms of the person, the amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedural Codes of the Republic of Uzbekistan have been introduced, thanks to which the certain positive results have been achieved. Thus, following the implementation of new classification 73% of all crimes have been transferred into the category of crimes, which do not pose a considerable social threat, and are less grave, and only 25% ? to the category of grave and heinous crimes.

At the same time, the practice of application of fines in lieu of taking into custody as a mean of punishment has been expanded. The confiscation of property as a type of criminal punishment has been abolished. The system of punishments applied in respect of minors, women and elderly people has been reconsidered and the ease in applying punishments to these categories of citizens has been introduced.

The order of consideration of criminal cases has been simplified. The terms of investigation and consideration of cases in courts have been shortened. The institute of reconciliation has been introduced into the criminal legislation and is broadly being applied to the practice.

The main objectives of reforms of the fourth stage have been defined in the address of President Islam Karimov at the first joint session of Legislative Chamber and Senate of Oliy Majlis on January 28, 2005. In particular, the analysis and generalization of an experience, gained during the years of independence, liberalization of the judicial system based on the principles and norms of international law are among the priority objectives.

In this period the issues of exclusion of death penalty from the criminal punishment system and transferring to courts the right to issue the arrest warrants have been brought up to the agenda. Based on the universally recognized principles of international law and norms of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, on August 1, 2005 the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan adopted a Decree ?On abolishing the death penalty in the Republic of Uzbekistan? and on August 8 of the same year ?On transferring to courts the right to issue the arrest warrants?.

The social relations, which have been shaped in society for over the last years, creation of social, economic, spiritual and legal prerequisites, changes in the political and legal worldview of citizens, in their turn, had created the circumstances for adoption of Laws ?On introducing amendments and addenda to some legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in view of abolition of death penalty? and ?On introducing amendments and addenda to some legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in view of transferring to courts the right to issue the arrest warrants?.

Abolition of the death penalty in Uzbekistan, the fact that it has been changed to a life or long-term imprisonment fully meet the advanced world tendencies in this direction and affect the principles of humanism and social justice endorsed in the Constitution of Uzbekistan.

Having joined other 122 states, which abolished the death penalty, Uzbekistan has once again clearly demonstrated to the world community that the country has its own specific stand in this issue and confidently moves on the way toward democracy. By now only the courts are in charge of the use of compulsory measures related to the limitation and denial to a person of its main rights and freedoms.

These reforms, in their essence, are a practical manifestation of social, economic, political, legal, cultural, and awareness progress of Uzbekistan, as well as the world recognized ?Uzbek model?.

Tashkent, August 2, 2007


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