Study trip on the reform of the penitentiary system

Visit by the Uzbek delegation to the prison Berlin Tegel.
Visit by the Uzbek delegation to the prison Berlin Tegel.
Uzbekistan

Against the background of the upcoming modernisation of the penitentiary system in Uzbekistan, a study tour on the reform of the penitentiary system, including international standards, took place in Berlin from 16 to 18 April 2024 in cooperation with the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which was represented by Bekzod Karimov, Chief Prosecutor of the Department for Supervision of the Application of Legislation on the Execution of Judicial Decisions and Decisions of Other Bodies. The Head of the Probation Service of the Department for Ensuring Public Security and Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Sharof Uralov, represented the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan.

Klaus Meyer-Cabri, Head of Department D of the Federal Ministry of Justice, welcomed the delegation at the beginning of the working visit. Jochen Goerdeler, Head of Division IV A5, gave a presentation on penitentiary law in Germany.

The Uzbek participants visited the Berlin Prison Training Academy, whose director, Dr Marcel Tietz, described the selection process for applicants, the content of the training and the opportunities for further training. Of particular interest to the delegation was the pilot project ‘VR Detention Room Revision’, in which various scenarios can be played out in a virtual detention room with the help of mobile VR glasses.

Over the next two days, the delegation visited three different types of prisons in Berlin: the open and the closed prison Tegel and the remand prison Moabit. The specialist presentations were rounded off with visits to the specially secured detention room, the nursery, the vehicle workshop and the training kitchen.

The delegation was impressed by the very informative technical discussions and the guided tours, which gave them a direct insight into the practical side of penitentiary system in Germany. They emphasised that they took away many valuable ideas for the national reforms in Uzbekistan.

Study trip to Berlin by the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office

Visit by the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community in Berlin during a study trip in June 2022 (photo: IRZ)
Visit by the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community in Berlin during a study trip in June 2022 (photo: IRZ)
Republik Usbekistan

IRZ has a long-standing cooperation with the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which plays a vital role in the implementation of criminal law reforms. It has, for instance, installed numerous mechanisms for policy to prevent and combat corruption, introduced new instruments, adapted regulations and carried out structural changes within public administration.

After a high-level conference on preventing and combating corruption was held in Tashkent in March 2022, the study trip to Berlin from 19 to 24 June 2022 marked a continuation of cooperation on this topic. In total, nine public prosecutors with special portfolios travelled to Berlin, led by Erkin T. Yuldashev, the Deputy Prosecutor General.

International mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (including asset recovery) was another thematic priority of the trip. Following a welcome address by Under-Secretary Dirk Mirow, the technical programme began with a discussion at the Federal Ministry of Justice with Georg Schäfer, Head of Division II B 7 International Criminal Law, on cooperation in the area of extradition and enforcement assistance. The Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office oversees international enforcement of sentences, and the delegates listened attentively to the presentation of the procedure for cross-border cooperation on asset recovery. The Head of the Legal Assistance Department at the Berlin Public Prosecutor General’s Office used a separate expert talk to provide the Uzbek colleagues with insight into how international legal assistance in criminal matters is handled from a practical standpoint.

The Senate Department for Urban Development, Building and Housing offered one example for preventing corruption in the public sector: the Head of the Anti-Corruption/Internal Audit Unit, Silvia Kröber, and the Head of the Control and Service Unit of the Building Construction Department, Matthias Schich, explained the organisational structure and tasks, the internal control system and the project process, including award procedures and the necessary documentation. They also explained the authority’s mission statement – which was developed collaboratively with the staff – as well as internal recommendations for action for the envisaged code of conduct to prevent corruption.

At the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, Birgit Otto, Head of the Integrity, Anti-Corruption and Sponsorship Unit, Julia Paul, anti-corruption officer, and Ms Büchner, responsible for public sector employment law, gave an introduction to the corresponding rules at federal level. They provided an overview of the legal bases and their implementation in the federal institutions.

Senior Public Prosecutor Dr Rüdiger Reiff, long-standing Head of the Central Anti-Corruption Unit and Head of the Anti-corruption Working Group of the Berlin authorities, added some field reports and case studies to flesh out the expert talk. This invited the Uzbek colleagues to address comparable matters from their own experience and to discuss various approaches.

The visit to Transparency International drew attention to corruption prevention beyond the areas of regulation and control. Dr Roberto Kukutschka, Research Expert for Corruption Measurement Tools, demonstrated that education and persuasion through communication and coalitions with governments, authorities, politicians, companies and civil society groups are needed in order to counter corruption.

An exchange of experience with the Potsdam Public Prosecutor’s Office addressed the current challenges within public prosecutor activities, during which Senior Public Prosecutor Rolf-Uwe Kurz presented modernisation approaches – such as the evaluation of new instruments, regionalisation, specialisation and accelerated case handling – and then discussed the methods with the Uzbek colleagues. They were particularly interested in the demarcation of public prosecutors’ competence from other authorities such as the police, as well as in the executive branch’s right of direction.

The visitors attended an oral hearing in a criminal case for grievous bodily harm at Tiergarten Local Court, which stimulated an exchange of experience on the principles of procedural law. Discussions focused on the length of proceedings: while time limits are imposed on the duration of investigations and judicial proceedings in criminal cases in Uzbekistan, the presiding judge Martin Ernst emphasised that the independence of the judiciary in Germany allows judges to handle cases according to the general workload.

During their visit to Berlin, the Uzbek public prosecutors were given an opportunity for intense discussions with their German colleagues on legal policy issues that are relevant to their work. Although legal traditions and the social context differ greatly between the two countries, they share very similar understandings of the need to curb corruption and ideas about the requirements of a modern criminal justice system.

 

31 Yuldashev Mirow Dirk Mirow, Under-secretary at the Federal Ministry of Justice welcomes Deputy Prosecutor General Erkin T. Yuldashev from Uzbekistan during a study trip to Berlin by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan in June 2022 (photo: IRZ)

Conference on the policy to combat corruption and prevention strategies held on 1-2 March 2022 in Tashkent

UzbekistanThe Uzbek government has been pursuing a strategy to combat corruption for a while, and has launched state programmes and respective regulations including laws and compliance control provisions for state institutions to combat corruption. As the criminal prosecution authority, the General Prosecutor´s Office is exposed to the offences, and is also responsible for enforcing the relevant regulations. The IRZ and the General Prosecutor’s Office organised a conference in Tashkent on the policy to combat corruption and prevention strategies due to the major importance of this topic in terms of legal policy. The General Director, Dr. Frauke Bachler and the responsible Head of Section, Angela Schmeink, attended in person.

The Ministry of Justice of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia represented by State Secretary for Justice, Dirk Wedel, also took an active participation in the event with relevant expertise. In addition, Horst Bien from the General Prosecutor´s Office in Düsseldorf and Günter Neifer, Head of Department at the General Prosecutor's Office also gave presentations on the German policies to combat corruption. Judicial Council Richard Bock and Veronika Kormann form the Federal Chamber of Notaries, outlined the system to combat money laundering in Germany. A lively professional exchange took place among the 120 participants, in which relevant registers recording (anonymous) whistleblowers and evidence of corruption in the public sector were discussed in addition to questions on the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences.

The German delegation also made a point of meeting the agency to combat corruption that was founded two years ago to prevent corruption. It has developed a wide range of instruments (such as procedures to promote transparency or the use of public funds) to nip corruption in the bud. It is also dedicated to raising awareness in civil society. Various other meetings with the General Prosecutor's Office, the Supreme Council of Judges, the Ministry of Justice and the Academy of the General Prosecutor's Office took place outside the meeting to explore the potential of current legal reforms for additional cooperation with the IRZ, which has been active in Uzbekistan for 12 years. The delegation was pleased about the great response and openness to impulses for international legal cooperation on the part of the Uzbek partner organisations.

Press release of the NRW Ministry of Justice:
https://www.justiz.nrw/Mitteilungen/2022_03_09_Besuch_Usbekistan_STS/index.php