Over the past eight years, gradual changes have been made in Uzbekistan's
judiciary system. Special attention is paid to judicial reforms, ensuring independence
of judiciary power, enhancing its authority, and liberalization of law enforcement,
which is called upon to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Adoption of the Act "On introducing amendments and addenda to Criminal,
Criminal-Procedural Codes, as well as the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan
administrative responsibility in line with liberalization of criminal punishments" of
August 29, 2001, has become one of the most important stages of judiciary reforms.
The presidential decrees "On abolition of the death penalty in the Republic of
Uzbekistan" of August 1, 2005 and "On delegating the right to courts to issue sanction
for arrest" of August 8, 2005 (Habeas corpus) have become a logical continuation of
liberalization of the judicial sphere.
Abolishing the death penalty and replacing it with life sentences was a crucial
moment in Uzbekistan's legal reform. Life imprisonment in Uzbekistan is an
exceptional punishment and will be enforced only for two crimes - premeditated
murder in aggravating circumstances and terrorism. At the same time, this type of
punishment may not be imposed upon women, persons who were under the age of 18
at the time the crime was committed, and men above the age of 60.
"Habeas corpus" regulations require that a judge reviews nearly all arrests
within 72 hours and is required to approve arrest warrants. The arrestee is entitled
to receive information akin to a Miranda warning, is allowed to make a phone call,
and in criminal proceedings, is granted the right to a lawyer. Specific provisions in
the legal code now ban both the practice of torture and attaining evidence through
torture. Introduction of "Habeas corpus" has become a significant step forward in
implementing the judicial reforms.
Since 2001, the institute of reconciliation was introduced in law enforcement and
judicial practice in Uzbekistan, and has so far proven its effectiveness. Nearly 126,000
citizens were released from criminal liability as a result of this practice.
Another important step was taken in March 2009, when the Senate of Uzbekistan
approved changes to the country’s criminal code, thus increasing the number of cases
to be resolved through reconciliation - up to 42 from 26. Reconciliation between
offenders and victims of crime was made available for lesser offenses, such as
disorderly behavior, taking the law into one’s own hands, breaches of labor code, and
interfering in private correspondence.
Amendments to the Criminal Code introduced by Law in April 2008 have limited
the maximum level of punishment for premeditation of a crime and an attempted
crime. Punishment for uncommitted crimes may not exceed three quarters of a
maximum punishment stated in the Criminal Code. This manifests Uzbekistan's
commitment to the ideals of humanism and justice.
The Presidential Decree on reforming the legal profession dated back to May
2008, and has become a logical continuation of the process of liberalizing the judicial
system. The Chamber of Lawyers was established in line with the Decree as an
integrated system of self-governance of the lawyers' community. This non-profit
organization, as an attribute of civil society, takes necessary actions to protect lawyers'
rights and monitors their obedience to laws and professional ethical requirements.
Almost 75 percent of crimes were moved from the category of grave and the
gravest crimes to the category of crimes that do not represent a serious public danger.
Uzbekistan widely uses penalty and restitution rather than arrest and detention for
Thanks to liberalization of the legal system, Uzbekistan now has one of the lowest
number of prisoners per 100,000 people, resulting in only 142 prisoners. Meanwhile,
in Russia, the number is 611 per 100,000, and in the United States, 738 prisoners per
100,000. Over the past ten years, the number of prisoners in Uzbekistan has fallen