- Published: May 18, 2016
Legal policy starting point
Kyrgyzstan is an exception among the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. After gaining independence, and after the "Tulip Revolution" of 2010, a parliamentary democracy has developed. Several government re-shuffles have taken place in this process, making it difficult to stabilise the democratic structures. In the third set of elections since the Revolution, both the electorate and their votes were directly collected in electronic form for the first time in October 2015 in order to prevent electoral fraud. The unique use of new technologies entailed both successes and difficulties, given that the registration of voters' biometric data was obligatory. Not all voters were willing to comply, some fearing that this might lead to the data being misused. The laborious identification led to queues and waiting times outside the poling stations on election day, so that some voters did not take part for this reason.
Six parties managed to achieve the 7 percent threshold and take up seats in Parliament. The governing Social Democrats defended their position. The turnout was almost 60 percent. Whilst greater confidence in the electoral system is a sign of increased political and social maturity, the young Kyrgyz democracy remains fragile in the face of economic and ethnic problems. International advice and support hence continue to play a major role.
Kyrgyzstan acceded to the customs union of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2015, and anticipates that this will have a positive effect on the country's economy, which has been seriously weakened in financial terms. Having said that, this may also not rule out changes in the political influences in the bilateral relations in the region.
Cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, headed by the new Minister Jyldyz Mambetalieva, was further intensified and continued in a spirit of trust.
The modernisation of the Kyrgyz legal profession, which was initiated in the previous year, formed the focus of the legislation consultation. To this end, the IRZ organised a study trip to Germany for representatives of the Ministry of Justice, as well as for Kyrgyz lawyers. The programme encompassed specialist discussions in the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, at the Joint Legal Examination Office of the Länder Berlin and Brandenburg, at the Federal Bar, with the German Bundestag's Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with the States of Central Asia, in a law office and at Berlin Regional Court. The exchange focussed on the experience of the German legal profession on the path towards self-government and the role of the lawyer as an independent body of the administration of justice for the judiciary and for society. Improvements to the legal profession and enhancing its independence were dealt with in detail, as were the application and interpretation of the occupation-specific statutory provisions.
At a further local event on this group of topics, a particular focus was placed on legal training as forming the basis for high-quality legal services, as well as on the specialist and societal recognition of the legal profession. The remaining post-Soviet influences make it difficult to optimise the examination procedure and to introduce a case-orientated learning system, so that these elements too meant that controversial discussions ensued. The professional ethics of lawyers is a further field of specialist exchange, in which international experience can provide a major impetus.
Foci of activity in 2015
Administration of justice
- Study visit to Berlin by representatives of the Ministry of Justice, as well as by Kyrgyz lawyers
- Seminar in Bishkek on legal training and on the professional law of lawyers with the Ministry of Justice and the Lawyers' Council
- Two workshops in Bishkek on criminal law on young people and criminal procedure law for the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the training centre at the Office of the Public Prosecutor General
The IRZ will be continuing its cooperation with the Ministry of Justice in 2016. Further advice is to be provided in the shape of events held locally and in Germany on the effective implementation of the new Act on the Legal Profession and on further consolidating the newly-formed professional bodies of the legal profession. The IRZ will also be continuing its fruitful cooperation with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in the shape of practice-orientated workshops.