UNODC Helps Judges and Defense Lawyers to Uphold International Human Rights and Criminal Justice Standards

With a view to contribute to enhancing efficiency of the criminal justice system to promote the rule of law in the Republic of Uzbekistan and in implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between the UNODC ROCA and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Global Legal Advisory Programme conducted two training courses for judges and lawyers from Tashkent and the regions.

The first training course "Application of international instruments/standards and national legislation related to the procedure of habeas corpus" held in February, aimed at increasing the skills of judges and lawyers to effectively implement the international standards and domestic legislations related to the procedure of habeas corpus in day-to-day practice with due respect to the rights of detained suspects or accused. Demonstrating its commitment to international standards, Uzbekistan has introduced the measures of judicial control over decisions of custody (habeas corpus) in January 2008. However, while a new legislation has been introduced on judicial control of detention, the full effect of its implementation has yet to be seen and criminal justice practitioners need to be trained.

The second training on "International legal instruments, national legislation and casework practice with regard to prevention and suppression of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of suspects and accused", held in March, built on the outcomes of the first and was designed to strengthen capacities of judges and lawyers to prevent and respond to torture and ill-treatment at pre-trial stage. Of the nearly ten million people detained globally, those held in pretrial detention face the most significant risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. While detained for investigation, suspects and accused are in danger of being ill-treated in an attempt to make them incriminate themselves.

Both training courses were conducted in cooperation with the Research Centre under the Supreme Court, Training Centre of the Ministry of Justice and Chamber of Lawyers of Uzbekistan with financial support of the UK. The training courses were delivered at the Law Training Centre of the Ministry of Justice separately for each target group, and were conducted by prominent practicing judges and defense lawyers from the Russian Federation, France, the UK and Ireland as well as UNODC and UNICEF experts. The training programmes were designed in such a way to combine both theoretical and practical aspects including case studies. Overall 26 professors of the MoJ Training Centre, 14 professors of the GPO Training Centre, 39 judges and 68 trial lawyers were trained on habeas corpus; and 20 professors of the Ministry of Justice Training Centre, 15 professors of the GPO Training Centre, 25 judges, and 60 trial lawyers were trained on torture and ill-treatment, respectively.