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Uzbekistan - annual report 2017

Published: June 1, 2018
Event to strengthen the capacities in the area of further training of public prosecutors with the further training facility of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Tashkent: Evgeniy Kolenko, Head of Training Facility at the General Prosecutor’s Office (5 th from left front); Lawyer Philipp Wendt, Managing Director of the German Lawyers´ Academy (left); Dr. Stefan Tratz, Judge at the Higher Court, Director of the German Judicial Academy (1 st row, 6 th from right)
Event to strengthen the capacities in the area of further training of public prosecutors with the further training facility of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Tashkent: Evgeniy Kolenko, Head of Training Facility at the General Prosecutor’s Office (5 th from left front); Lawyer Philipp Wendt, Managing Director of the German Lawyers´ Academy (left); Dr. Stefan Tratz, Judge at the Higher Court, Director of the German Judicial Academy (1 st row, 6 th from right)

Legal Policy Situation

At the end of 2016, the long-standing prime minister and interim president from September 2016 to December 2016, Shavkat Mirsiyoyev, won the presidential elections with approximately 88 percent of the votes. He officially assumed the office of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Since then, the new leadership’s political signals have been discussed controversially: On the one hand, many new initiatives and regulations have triggered changes in the country’s domestic, foreign and economic policy that had been difficult to imagine previously. Among other things, an option of a direct online dialogue with the President was created, in which complaints by Uzbek citizens are received via a virtual reception room. Furthermore, there were clear indications of a new tendency regarding Uzbek foreign policy towards regional neighbouring countries – Tajikistan in particular. In addition, the mandatory exit visas for Uzbek citizens are to be abolished from 2019.

In the legal and judicial field, both the merging of the Supreme Economic Court and the Supreme Court initiated by the new leadership with the respective resolutions and the establishment of administrative courts deserve to be mentioned.

At the same time, there have not yet been any lasting changes. The Uzbek society’s spirit of optimism perceived at the beginning of the new president’s term has since abated. It still seems to be crucial for the greatest demographic power within the Central Asian region to continue to maintain domestic political stability with the help of extensive control mechanisms. Simultaneously, the new leadership is committed to the pursuit of economic liberalisation and economic structural reforms. It is a declared goal to attract foreign investors. International influences are constantly growing, thus increasing the importance of Western languages, international experience and contacts at all levels. It remains to be seen to what extent the President’s ambitious reform agenda, demonstrating a new openness towards these influences, will be put into practice.

Overall Concept

Bilateral cooperation continued in consultation and close collaboration with the Presidential Institute for Monitoring of Legislation.

The specialist dialogue with the General Prosecutor’s Office that has been intensified over the last two years was deepened even further during the year under review. Three local events addressed current issues of legislation in criminal law and criminal procedural law, further training for the Public Prosecutor’s Office and juvenile criminal law. The seminars saw both a theoretical exchange of knowledge between Uzbek and relevant German experts as well as support in the form of a practical exchange.

The further training facility at the General Prosecutor’s Office needs to be mentioned for its commitment in modernising public prosecutor training and making the entire area more effective. For the first time, this training facility provides generally trained staff with specific prosecutors’ knowledge, thereby promoting the quality and recognition of the activities of the Uzbek Public Prosecutor’s Office. The IRZ contributed to this by organising an exchange with leading experts from the German Judicial Academy and the Academy of the German Bar Association in Tashkent. The German colleagues demonstrated methodological diversity in their teaching practice and made recommendations for the integration of lecturers from different professional groups at a “Train-the-Trainer” event.

The VIII International Conference on Administrative Court Procedure Law and Administrative Procedure Law in Tashkent serves as an example of consolidated German cooperation in the year under review. For the first time, the IRZ participated in this GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) -hosted conference devoted to lectures and discussions on the principles of administrative procedure law and administrative court procedure law. Legal practitioners, academics and various lawyers exchanged views on fundamental pillars such as the ex officio investigation, enforceability, exercise of discretion, protection of legitimate expectations or proportionality in various Central Asian countries. The establishment of an independent administrative court jurisdiction on 1 June 2017 entailed a great need for consultation, especially in the training events for judges, which the IRZ will address.

The privatisation of the Uzbek notarial system, which is planned for 2018, also triggered a topical need for advice. Thus, a delegation from the Uzbek Ministry of Justice travelled to Germany to gain an insight into the working practice of German notaries, particularly into the use of modern information and communication technologies. Furthermore, the ministry and the notaries from Uzbekistan also dealt with digital legal relations and a variety of electronic registers, facilitated by visits to the Federal Chamber of Notaries and various notaries’ offices. Expert talks with the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and with the Federal Chamber of Notaries and the German Notaries’ Association provided a platform for an in-depth exchange of self-administration and the chamber system of the notaries’ office.

Foci of Activity 2017

Administration of Justice

Public Law

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

Outlook

The IRZ will continue its cooperation with the current partners in consultation with the Presidential Institute for Monitoring of Legislation in 2018. The plan is to extend the trusting cooperation with the General Prosecutor’s Office. Measures are also planned with the Ministry of Justice, a long-standing partner of the IRZ, and the State Law University.

Moreover, cooperation with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which was restructured in 2017, will be initiated, preferably with the Council for Administrative Law Affairs, which leads the implementation of reforms in the newly created administrative court jurisdiction.