IND Habeas Corpus Implementation Training Series
December 01, 2008
In 2008, IND trained more than 180 judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and investigators in the implementation of the new habeas corpus legislation in Uzbekistan.
IND conducted four workshops in Tashkent, Ferghana, Nukus and Samarkand with the participation of American experts, among them U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim of the District of Minnesota, Defense Attorney Paul Denenfeld, Cindy Shain, Director of the Kentucky Regional Policing Institute, and Sarah Lum and Ivan Abrams, former U.S. prosecutors. IND designed the workshops to address challenges in the application of recent legal reforms aimed at improving protection of human rights in Uzbekistan.
IND conducted in July a national workshop on the implementation of habeas corpus in cooperation with the Institute for Civil Society Studies and the Ministry of Justice. The workshop was attended by 56 Uzbek participants, including senior officials engaged in the implementation of habeas corpus and other human rights reforms. Representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office, Uzbek Bar Association, Ombudsman’s Office, National Center for Human Rights, Oliy Majlis (Committee for Legislation and Judiciary Reform), and experts from the Tashkent Law Institute took part in the workshop.
During the workshop, the U.S. experts Cindy Shain, Director of the Kentucky Regional Policing Institute, and Sarah Lum, a former U.S. prosecutor, presented their experience on the application of the habeas corpus in the United States and other countries. This was followed by a discussion led by Uzbek national experts on the results of monitoring the implementation of judicial review of arrests and detentions in the first months after the law came into effect.
The workshop allowed for a productive discussion and produced recommendations for further improving the skills of the police, prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges involved in the judicial review process, especially in the regions, and creating conditions for equality in court of the prosecution and defense. The workshop was covered by the Uzbek media, which interviewed the foreign experts, IND staff and government representatives.
In November, IND conducted three workshops on criminal justice reform IND worked in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Institute for Civil Society Studies. A total of 125 prosecutors, judges, police investigators and defense lawyers from Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Ferghana, Andijan, Namangan, Samarkand, Bukhara, Navoi and Jizzak participated in the trainings. The seminars in Ferghana and Samarkand also were covered by local media.
An array of topics related to habeas corpus and other ongoing legal reforms were discussed during the training. One of the legal issues discussed was the need to transfer the authority for measures restricting liberty, such as issuing arrest warrants and approving surveillance, from the prosecutors to the judges. The importance of a detainee having access to a lawyer after being brought into custody was stressed during the dialogue.
The training also addressed the need for greater support for defense lawyers in order to promote a fair and just legal process.
The training was conducted by three U.S. experts: U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim, defense attorney Paul Denenfeld, and former prosecutor and Country Director of ABA/CEELI Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, Ivan Abrams. The workshops were attended by senior Uzbek government officials from the Ministry of Interior, General Prosecutors Office, the Supreme Court, as well as local government officials. U.S. Ambassador H. E. Richard Norland and Sarah Buchanan of USAID attended the training in Samarkand.
The training was used as an opportunity to partner with UNDP in distributing, throughout Uzbekistan, 150 copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and more than 100 copies of the text on the latest Supreme Court interpretations of the habeas corpus legislation.
In their evaluations, most of the workshop participants said the training helped them understand basic human rights principles within the concept of habeas corpus. The participants appreciated the unique opportunity to talk to their colleagues in an open forum and exchange ideas.
The participating investigators found the training very useful, especially the small-group sessions in which they were able to have more in-depth discussions with their American counterparts. Many of them pointed out that the current habeas corpus law is not developed well enough for their needs.
Participating defense attorneys said they believed the introduction of habeas corpus would allow them to better serve and protect their clients. Some of the problems that the defense lawyers touched upon in their evaluations include: inconsistencies in the law, lack of communication between the courts and the defense and the need for open court hearings.
Many of the judges said they felt that the implementation of habeas corpus has given them more responsibilities -- and that they are the ones actually making the final decisions rather than the prosecutors. One of the participating judges pointed out that unless the judicial system becomes truly independent, it will be difficult to fully implement any changes, including habeas corpus. The judges said they found the mock hearings during the training especially helpful.
The prosecutors said they felt that it was important to them to get the chance to talk to judges, investigators and defense lawyers to compare their experiences and viewpoints. Some also acknowledged the importance of the discussion on cooperation with the media and the public. The prosecutors mentioned the need for further work to fully implement the law on transferring the arrest warrants to the courts.
IND continues to implement projects promoting good governance, human rights and rule of law in Uzbekistan.