Extradition: facilitating prosecution, protecting from persecution
Transnational organized crime transcends cultural, social, linguistic and geographical borders. The criminal networks forge bonds across borders as well as overcome cultural and linguistic differences. The criminals in one state flee to another to escape prosecution, exploiting domestic variations in the substantive and procedural laws of the states.
In response, nations historically designed extradition as one form of international cooperation. Extradition is an instrument that enables a state (Requesting State) to obtain custody of, and prosecute, a person who is accused or convicted of one or more criminal offences against the law of this state and who is located in another state (Requested State). International standards require the extradition process to be just but also efficient. Extradition must take place in strict accordance with the law.
To strengthen the skills of judges and lawyers in Uzbekistan in applying the provisions of the domestic law regarding judicial review and appeal of the decision/resolution on extradition taken by the General Prosecutor or his deputy, the Regional Office for Central Asia of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC ROCA), within the framework of its Global Legal Advisory Programme, and in cooperation with the Training Centre under the Ministry of Justice and the General Prosecutor Office of Uzbekistan conducted two national training courses entitled "Implementation of International Legal Instruments on Extradition into National Legislation and Practice". The training courses were held consecutively from 21 through 23 May 2013 at the Training Centre of the Ministry of Justice in Tashkent.
The training programmes were designed to familiarize the trainees with both international, regional and national legal instruments, initiatives and tools in the area of extradition. The extradition casework practice was presented to the trainees from the standpoints of the criminal justice practitioners involved in the process: prosecutors (UK, Ukraine, and France), judges (Russian Federation, Uzbekistan) and lawyers (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and ECHR).
The trainees were provided with an opportunity to learn best practices and lessons learned in dealing effectively with extradition requests to ensure swift and effective prosecutions overcoming geographic and legal boundaries, on one hand, and protection of human rights of those subject to extradition, on the other. With a view to solidify the knowledge acquired and improve application skills, the trainees were asked to solve a practical case in the last session of the training courses.
Overall, 113 trainees completed the courses, including 53 candidates for judges, 30 lawyers (from Tashkent and the regions), and 25 professors of the Training Centre. The prosecutors from the General Prosecutor Office's International Department (including its Head) also attended the course. This gave them an opportunity to discuss concrete cases with their counterparts from Russia, Ukraine, and the UK, as well as experts from Interpol and the European Court on Human Rights, who acted as trainers.
Note: In September 2010, Uzbekistan adopted amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure. A new section entitled "International cooperation in criminal matters" was introduced. The amendments established the grounds and procedure for mutual legal assistance and extradition that previously had not been regulated by the law. Specifically, the Code has been supplemented with article 602 providing for judicial review and appeal of the decision/resolution on extradition taken by the General Prosecutor or his deputy. Moreover, in May 2012, the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan issued the Ruling "On certain issues of international cooperation in civil and criminal matters" to interpret, among others, the abovementioned provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and facilitate their application.