UNODC Enhances Kyrgyz Lawyers Skills on TIP Victims DefenseĀ 

Trafficking victims have a wide range of civil legal needs, depending on their personal circumstances and the trafficking situation they endured. Mostly victims have limited access to legal aid which in turn impedes the effective response of the criminal justice system and is one of the obstacles for those who have been able to report the incident and continue to receive the necessary assistance. Legal assistance is mainly provided by lawyers working in shelters which sustainability is not guaranteed due to lack of or limited government funding.

To strengthen the attorney corps in representing the interests, protecting the rights and legitimate interests of TIP victims, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Programme Office in the Kyrgyz Republic, has developed a special Training Module for lawyers with further conducting the trainings based on this manual.

On 26 and 27 September, the Training Centre for Lawyers in partnership with UNODC equipped some 20 lawyers with skills and knowledge on national and international legislation, criminalizing human trafficking, as well as the rules of criminal procedure for reviewing and resolving cases of this category.

Describing a lawyer as a subject of criminal proceedings in cases of trafficking in persons, Aizhan Orozakunova, Director of the Training Centre for Lawyers noted that the procedural status of lawyer allows him/her to act as a representative of both the prosecution (victim) and the defense (accused). At the same time, the set of procedural powers and opportunities do not change depending on the party on which the lawyer speaks. Accordingly, enhancing capacity of lawyers with the necessary practical skills and special knowledge will enable them to effectively participate in criminal cases to protect the rights of victims of trafficking

According to Raushan Bolotalieva, National Programme Manager of the UNODC Program Office in Kyrgyzstan, with the recent endorsement of the National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking in the Kyrgyz Republic, persons who suffered from TIP-related crimes will get the status of the victim of human trafficking which allow them for get free state-guaranteed aid including legal one. "In this regard, lawyers from the Register of State-guaranteed Legal Aid should be equipped with necessary knowledge and skills to provide efficient legal services to the people in need", she outlined.

Training participants have learned to collect and structure evidence-based information on trafficking cases; conduct a survey of the victim and witnesses, including children in cases of trafficking in persons, taking into account psychological characteristics and preventing secondary victimization; develop an algorithm of actions in the framework of a criminal investigation into cases of human trafficking; advise victims for protecting their rights, and receiving social, psychological, material and other assistance and compensation for harm resulting from committed crime.

UNODC actively supports government agencies and civil society organizations in the implementation of the State program of the Kyrgyz Republic to prevent and combat human trafficking in Kyrgyzstan for the period 2017-2020. The support is being delivered in the following fields: legal advice on bringing legislation in the field of combating TIP in line with international standards; expert support in the development of national action plans to combat TIP; capacity building of specialists of authorized state bodies to combat TIP; strengthening criminal justice measures against TIP; assistance in raising public awareness of the risks and threats of human trafficking.

The training course was conducted as part of the UNODC project on criminal justice response to trafficking in persons in the Kyrgyz Republic funded by the Bureau of the US Department of State for Combating International Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Law Enforcement (INL).

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