Uzbekistan Presents Draft New Criminal Executive Code

18-22 November 2019, Tashkent, Uzbekistan - Following the creation of an inter-agency working group earlier this year, Uzbek authorities for the first time presented a draft of the new Criminal Executive Code during a week of roundtable and expert discussions supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) from 18 to 22 November 2019.

The draft code was presented and discussed during a 2 days of roundtable discussions hosted by the General Prosecutor's Office of Uzbekistan and the Tashkent State University of Law, which brought together a group of criminal justice practitioners, experts and academia.

"I strongly believe that the roundtable and expert discussions will contribute to the ongoing process of improvement of criminal executive legislation and bringing it in line with international standards" - emphasized Mr. Islambek Rustambekov, Vice Rector of Tashkent State University of Law during the second day of the roundtable. 

Members of the interagency expert group who have been working on the important piece of legislation governing the penitentiary stressed in the course of the roundtable that the Concept for Improvement of Criminal Executive Legislation adopted by Presidential Decree in 2018 foresees the humanization of the system for the execution of punishments, implementation of international standards into national legislation. As part of this effort, Uzbekistan established a Probation Service and is taking steps to improve conditions in correctional institutions, review the system of prisoner classification and promote social reintegration of offenders.

During the event, the invited UNODC experts presented international standards, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) a related interactive e-course, produced by UNODC, which assists prison staff and other stakeholders to understand and apply the Nelson Mandela Rules.

The expert discussions held during the week focused on application of alternatives to incarceration, prisoner education, vocational training and employment programs, the work of the probation service, the significance of civil society organizations in ensuring effective social reintegration of offenders. The roundtable also served as a platform to discuss the experiences with penal reform in different countries, lessons learnt, as well as specific issues, such as working with juvenile offenders and other vulnerable categories.

It was highlighted that the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners constitute the universally acknowledged minimum standards for the management of prison facilities and the treatment of prisoners, which should serve as the basis for the new code. To support the Uzbek authorities in this endeavor, UNODC engaged international experts to present a legal analysis of Uzbekistan's current Criminal Executive Code and engage in discussions on various aspects of the new code. Meetings with the management of the Prison Service and various of its departments, including a visit to a probation office in one of the districts of Tashkent, were also held.

The roundtable and expert discussions were held within the framework of the UNODC Program for Central Asia and the Action Plan ("Roadmap") on further development of cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNODC with support from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US State Department.

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