On 15 May, the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation was signed betweenUNODC Regional Office for Central Asia and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The Memorandum is build on the existing good working relationships established by UNODC/ ROCA with the Supreme Court as a result of the technical assistance provided to Uzbek judges within the the framework of the Global Legal Assistance Programme. ,The Memorandum is designed to deepen cooperation between ROCA and the Supreme Court in strengthening the judicial system of Uzbekistan through, among other activities, development and delivery the training courses aimed at enhancing judicial integrity and improving justice administration.
Fair and effective criminal justice system that ensure respect for human rights is a prerequisite for combating crime and for building societies based on the rule of law. Recently, Uzbekistan has undertaken several serious step to reform its criminal justice system. On 1 January 2008, habeas corpus and related amendments to criminal law came into effect. Under the new law all decisions to arrest accused individuals or suspects must be reviewed by a judge, and defendants have the right to legal counsel from the time of arrest. Legislation abolishing the death penalty took effect on 1 January 2008 and replaced it with prison terms ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment. On 12 December 2008, President Karimov signed legislation on joining the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on Abolishing the Death Penalty.
The Memorandum is a further step that is designed to translate into reality the adopted legislation. Enlargement of the librarian pool of the Research Centre under the Supreme Court is one of the commitments of ROCA under this Memorandum. Regional Office handed over to the Research Centre the UN Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as well as a set of the UN legal instruments and publications in the field of preventing and combating drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism.