UNODC Supports Criminal Justice Reforms in Uzbekistan

With the adoption of an action plan on the development of criminal and criminal procedural legislation in May this year, Uzbekistan's authorities put in place a strategic framework to guide the country's efforts to strengthen the rule of law and promote a humane, effective, transparent and accountable criminal justice system.

In October, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan hosted a two-day international conference - 'The Democratization of Legislation and Law Enforcement Practices in Criminal law and Criminal Proceedings Spheres: Uzbekistan's Experience' - to discuss the ongoing reforms in this area. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) partnered with UNDP, USAID, OSCE, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Regional Dialogue to support this dialogue platform, which gathered some 200 criminal justice practitioners and experts from national human rights institutions, think tanks and media.

"Modernization of our criminal justice system requires a comprehensive reform of criminal, criminal procedure and penal law," noted Kozimdzhan Kamilov, Chair of the Supreme Court. "The priority of such changes should be, first of all, ensuring greater independence of the judiciary and strengthening judicial control, in particular at the pre-trial stage. This will require not only legislative, but also institutional and functional changes in the work of law enforcement, prosecutorial and judicial bodies".

During the conference, participants discussed priority areas for criminal law reform, such as the system of classification of crimes, procedural safeguards to ensure fair trials, sentencing policies and the application of alternatives to incarceration.

"Human rights are at the core of the UN's work. As we see the transformative changes taking place in Uzbekistan, this is the sentiment that allows us to move forward to make sure that criminal legislation and practice are aligned with international norms and standards," stated Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia. "As an organization that works on prevention of drug abuse, crime and terrorism, we believe that our key interlocutors are those responsible for delivery of the rule of law. As part of the UN family, UNODC is committed to support the judicial reform process together with the Supreme Court and other key stakeholders in Uzbekistan."   

Earlier this year, UNODC published a commentary with recommendations for criminal justice reform. A roundtable in Tashkent in August served to discuss prospects for reform of the penitentiary system in Uzbekistan. During this event, UNODC presented an analysis of the current Penal Code and a policy paper with recommendations for the drafting of a concept on the further improvement of penal legislation. This concept, which includes plans for the establishment of a new probation service, was adopted in November 2018.

UNODC supports criminal justice reform in Uzbekistan within the framework of the 2015-2019 UNODC Program for Central Asia and the 2017-2019 Action Plan ("Roadmap") on the further development of cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNODC.

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at +996775987817 or by e-mail: vasilina.brazhko[at]