UNODC Promotes Discussions on Criminal Justice Reform in Central Asia 

More than 65 policy-makers, academics, justice professionals and civil society representatives from Central Asia and the CIS region came together on 24-25 November 2014 to discuss reform initiatives, current challenges and good practices for criminal justice systems at the Fifth Expert Forum on Criminal Justice for Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 

The Expert Forum, organized jointly by OSCE and UNODC, highlighted the importance of respecting the rule of law and human rights in criminal justice systems. Questions concerning alternatives to pre-trial detention, legal conditions for the conduct of certain coercive investigative acts as well as fair trial rights, were the focus of the discussions.

"Reform of criminal legislation is an important entry point and a prerequisite for the establishment of a democratically accountable criminal justice system that protects human rights", said Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia in her opening statement at the Expert Forum. "UNODC has therefore developed a set of technical tools to assist countries in this area, using as a basis the UN standards and norms in human rights and in criminal justice. These norms and standards are essential to successful criminal justice reform and ultimately to long-term sustainable development", she added. 

The Expert Forum has emerged as a leading regional platform in Central Asia for professional dialogue on criminal justice and judicial reform, human rights in criminal procedure and the harmonization of national legislation with international criminal justice standards.