Draft New Code on Execution of Criminal Punishments Aims to Enhance Human Rights Protection of Prisoners, Increase Focus on Social Rehabilitation and Reduce the Prison Population in Uzbekistan

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been supporting an Expert Group to develop a new Code on Execution of Criminal Punishments. Members of the Expert Group and representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office and its Academy, the Main Directorate for the Execution of Punishment and the Probation Service under the Ministry of Interior, the Ombudsman Office and academia recently gathered at a webinar to discuss progress made with the development of the new law.

“Uzbekistan has committed to humanizing its criminal legislation, increasing the accountability of law enforcement agencies and promoting independence of the judiciary”, said Mr. Ikrom Fazilov, Deputy Chief of the Probation Service under the Ministry of Interior. During the roundtable he presented the main elements of the draft Code on Execution of Criminal Punishments.

The new Code is expected to expand the rights of convicted persons in terms of guarantees for humane treatment, access to social benefits, such as pensions, provision of specialized secondary and higher education, as well as access to sign language interpretation and other services for prisoners with hearing, speech or related impairments.

The Code foresees the introduction of individualized social rehabilitation programs for offenders. “UNODC recently published a new Prisoner Classification Handbook in Russian, which can be of great use to Uzbekistan’s penitentiary to finalise the new Code and ensure effective implementation following its adoption”, said Mr. Koen Marquering, UNODC Central Asia Criminal Justice Program Coordinator.

“A well-designed and managed classification process is a cornerstone of an effective prison system, fundamental to the protection of human rights, the ability to individualize case and sentence planning and the efficient use of limited correctional resources”, Mr. Marquering noted.

During the roundtable, experts from Lund University (Sweden), the National Law University named after Yaroslav Mudriy (Ukraine) and the Law Enforcement Academy under the General Prosecutor’s Office of Kazakhstan shared experiences in implementing prison reforms, promoting independent prison monitoring, enhancing the scope of non-custodial sanctions and other measures aimed at reducing the prison population.

In addition to the Code on Execution of Criminal Punishments, UNODC is providing expert support to the development of new Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes in Uzbekistan. During the roundtable, it was noted that the prison population in Uzbekistan currently stands at 67 per 100,000 people. With the introduction of new criminal legislation, including enhanced application of non-custodial sanctions, it is expected that the incarceration rate may go further down to 34 per 100,000 of the national population.

As the guardian of the Nelson Mandela Rules, UNODC supports Central Asian countries to reduce the scope of imprisonment, strengthen prison management, improve prison conditions and ensure the reintegration of prisoners upon their release.

The event is part of the UNODC project “Support to Criminal Justice Reform in Uzbekistan” implemented under Sub-Program 2 on Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention, and Integrity of the UNODC Program for Central Asia, with financial support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).



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UNODC Justice Programme in Central Asia

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