EMBASSY OF UZBEKISTAN TO THE UNITED STATES
SOCIAL ISSUES
Political Reforms
Judicial Reforms
Human Rights Policy
Children's Rights
Freedom of Religion
Human Trafficking
Prevention of Torture
Anti-Corruption Policy
Gender Policy
Support For NGOs
Freedom Of Speech
Healthcare Policy
Education Policy
Revival of Cultural Values
Physical Education and Sports
Business Climate

 
SOCIAL ISSUES
Judicial Reforms
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 economic crimes.

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 two-fold.


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