The working group from the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan on auditing national courts: Anarchan Bazaralieva (top left), Chairwoman of the working group; IRZ short-term expert Guldzhan Esenalieva (right), a former judge
The working group from the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan on auditing national courts: Anarchan Bazaralieva (top left), Chairwoman of the working group; IRZ short-term expert Guldzhan Esenalieva (right), a former judge
Kyrgyzstan

At the end of 2020, the Judicial Council of the Kyrgyz Republic decided to adopt a model for auditing national courts. This model should allow the auditing of administrative practices and court management based on a standardised process for the first time in Kyrgyzstan.

The working group appointed by the Supreme Court to work on these developments has deliberately borrowed from European models, in particular the comparable German model and the uniform countrywide Austrian model.

This work has been supported by the EU programme “Rule of Law Programme in the Kyrgyz Republic – 2nd phase (ROLPRO2)”. This EU programme, in which IRZ is significantly involved under the leadership of GIZ in the areas of “Legislation”, “Court Management” and “e-Justice”, has supported the working group in particular with European expertise. This helped to ensure, not least thanks to its commitment, that the new auditing model in Kyrgyzstan – unlike the current Soviet-style “Proverka” (Russian for “review”) – will focus on the issue of court management and administration instead of reviewing the administration of justice.

The first audits are due to take place by the end of 2021. The judiciary in Kyrgyzstan is expecting the new system to deliver the potential for reviewing services nationwide and the service level of each individual court for the first time. In the long term, administrative practices should be standardised across Kyrgyzstan, along with a sustainable improvement in service quality.

In April 2021, the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic began to tackle the relevant implementation methods. These include the development of a training module for future auditors. As part of the training programme, guidelines for the objectives, scope, implementation (using checklists) and production of the final audit report should be discussed and communicated. The first training sessions are due to take place at the Judicial Academy of the Kyrgyz Republic, the national training institute for the justice system, during the second half of the year. The EU programme will continue to provide active support for this and other measures as part of its “Court Management” activities.

In addition to its auditing activities, the EU Court Management programme is also focussing on the production of a second improved and extended edition of a handbook on court management issued for presiding judges. The second edition, which is also due for publication this year, follows on from the success of the first edition. There was a lot of positive feedback from judges at the time about how useful these guidelines were. The audits and the handbook go hand in hand and together should contribute towards improving the level of service provided by courts and thereby enhance the reputation of the justice system amongst the general population in the long run.

Author: Christoph Kopecky, a long-term expert at IRZ on the EU programme to promote the rule of law in Kyrgyzstan