Justice and anti-corruption issues discussed
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- A video conference on justice and anti-corruption issues was held on 30 June under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Over the past three years, more than 20 laws, decrees and decrees on these priority issues have been adopted. As a result of the reforms, the courts have today acquitted 2 thousand 273 persons. In addition, more than 3.5 thousand young men and women who committed crimes through negligence, were taken under the guarantee of the mahalla and the public and were released from punishment in the form of imprisonment. Sixty law enforcement officials were prosecuted for human rights violations.
The meeting noted that such changes strengthen the faith of our people in the triumph of truth and justice. However, it is too early to say that our people are satisfied with the judicial system.
It was emphasized that the recent tragic events in the internal affairs bodies of the city of Andijan and Chirakchi district should wake up the leaders of the system, urging them to draw specific conclusions. Currently, eleven internal affairs officers involved in these crimes have been called to account, 7 executives have been relieved of their posts, and 16 have been brought to disciplinary action.
In an open dialogue with local people conducted by parliamentary groups led by the heads of the chambers of the Oliy Majlis, the public openly declared cases of injustice in this direction.
From now on, deputies and senators, based on this experience, will conduct regular dialogue in their constituencies on issues of ensuring justice and the fight against corruption, involving the judiciary, sector leaders and the public.
Cases of injustice and problems expressed by the population will be critically discussed quarterly in local kengashes, followed by specific questions to the responsible persons and an assessment of their activities.
The relevant committees of the Oliy Majlis will conduct a rating of justice and the corruption situation in each region, and will hold parliamentary hearings and audits based on the results of each half-year.
The National Center for Human Rights, the Ombudsman and the Tashkent State Law University have been instructed to organize the training of senior law enforcement officers in the special training module “Human Honor and Dignity - The Highest Value”.
It was noted that the quality of the investigation and the qualifications of the investigators did not meet the requirements. So, in the first 5 months of this year, the courts acquitted 323 citizens, to whom the investigating authorities filed unfounded charges, and also ruled out unfounded charges against 1854 people. In the past year alone, the state paid 6.7 billion soums of material and moral damage to 236 acquitted persons.
As you know, the competition for judges was tightened by establishing requirements such as a certain length of service, graduation from the Higher School of Judges.
The meeting noted the need to establish similar requirements for candidates for investigators. In particular, it was entrusted to a number of responsible departments to create the Institute of Investigation, to develop completely new requirements for the profession of an investigator, to introduce advanced experience and standards in this area.
Another important issue is that the law enforcement authorities violate the jurisdiction of cases. In particular, there are types of crimes that can be investigated by any investigative body, and the jurisdiction of certain articles to a particular investigative body is not specified in the law.
In addition, in 2018-2019, the first instance court acquitted 307 people in 192 criminal cases. In none of these trials have prosecutors dropped charges. In this regard, it was noted that it is necessary to introduce a procedure by which the prosecutor, without waiting for the completion of the trial, will reject the charges on his own initiative if during the trial errors of the investigation are revealed.
- Everyone who comes to the courthouse must leave with confidence that justice is triumphing in Uzbekistan. This is a requirement of the President! - said the head of state.
In more than 8 thousand or 44 percent of the appeals received this year, the applicants complained about the incompleteness and bias of the consideration of cases in the courts, the delay in the consideration.
One more example. In 2019, more than 2.5 thousand or 44 percent of the cases considered in economic courts on appeal, cassation and supervision were canceled or changed. This indicates that in one of two cases, decisions of district and regional economic courts are changed after consideration by a higher court, which causes entrepreneurs and investors to suffer in matters of time and cost.
Responsible persons are entrusted with reviewing the judicial system based on best practices and international standards on the principle of “one court - one instance”.
The judicial practice of “supervisory review of cases”, which is outdated and whose very name does not correspond to the essence of justice, will be completely discontinued.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has put forward a proposal to eliminate all factors affecting the adoption of a fair decision by the court, including the right of the chairman of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General to protest. Chambers of Parliament will consider this proposal.
It was emphasized that the decisions taken by the courts should be based only on evidence examined during the trial. It was noted that some judges are fixated on the materials of the investigation, and this discredits the law, the judiciary and the state. It is indicated that justice should be carried out in front of people, openly and transparently, in the name of justice.
The head of state also touched upon the creation of amenities for residents of certain areas and cities when applying to the court. For example, in Urgut, one of the most populated areas (500 thousand inhabitants, 102 mahallas), there is no civil court, so citizens have to travel 80 kilometers to get to the Taylak inter-district court.
In this regard, instructions were given to optimize ships and their activities.
Private property should be guaranteed by law and courts.
Over the past year and a half, courts have quashed 1730 decisions of khokims on land allocation, demolition and privatization of buildings and structures.
In a thousand cases, the courts restored the rights of citizens and entrepreneurs related to land relations, in 51 cases - in connection with demolition, in 62 cases - regarding privatization
It was pointed out that it is necessary to cancel the revision of the results of privatization, and, in general, to prevent government agencies from taking such an initiative that should be fixed by law.
It is necessary to strengthen guarantees of land rights and strictly determine that the issue of canceling property rights can only be resolved in a judicial proceeding, the President noted.
It was emphasized that the khokims of regions, districts (cities), and leaders of all sectors are obliged to ensure strict compliance with these requirements in their subordinate territories.
- Understand one thing - an investor who is going to invest funds pays attention first of all to the extent to which judicial protection of his rights is guaranteed. Let the leaders understand: no one has the right to interfere in the activities of the court, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
A bill will be drafted to strengthen the responsibility for obstructing the activities of a judge and forcing him to make an unfair decision.
Advocacy is an integral part of achieving justice, and the role of this institution in ensuring justice is invaluable.
Today there are about 4 thousand lawyers in Uzbekistan, on average 8.5 specialists per 8.5 thousand inhabitants of the country.
Moreover, 43 percent of lawyers work in Tashkent, and not a single law firm is registered in 20 districts of the regions.
The need to cancel the requirement of having two years of legal experience to start advocacy, to introduce the procedure for students to practice as an assistant lawyer was noted. From now on, law schools will train undergraduates specializing in advocacy.
Due to the lack of a transparent selection procedure for lawyers provided by the state, there are cases when some investigators call familiar lawyers to the accused and put pressure. So, last year in Tashkent, out of more than 7 billion soums allocated by the state to lawyers, half was paid to 20 law firms (a total of 746 of these firms operate).
In this regard, the relevant ministries were instructed to launch an electronic system for selecting attorneys who provide legal assistance at public expense. First, the system will be implemented as an experiment in the capital.
The necessity of establishing the mandatory participation of a lawyer in the cases of persons accused of committing especially serious crimes, as well as when considering the application of a preventive measure in the form of detention or house arrest, was also emphasized.
A package of legislative acts will be developed and submitted for discussion, aimed at increasing the attractiveness of advocacy, strengthening protection and guarantees of the rights of lawyers.
The widespread adoption of digital technology in the judiciary is a requirement today. The task was set to introduce, by the end of the year, a single complex of Adolat information systems in the Supreme Court.
This will allow to appeal to the courts electronically, monitor the status of complaints online, send information to the parties in electronic form.
It was emphasized that this year the courts should be 100 percent provided with video conferencing.
The next important issue on the agenda of the meeting was the anti-corruption reforms.
It was noted that 143 types of public services were transferred to electronic form, in 35 departments the number of necessary documents and the time for receiving the service were halved. The principles of openness and transparency have been introduced into the processes of budget spending, government procurement, sale of land, buildings and structures.
As you know, yesterday, on 29 June, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan signed a decree on the creation of the Anti-Corruption Agency.
Office together with the leaders of industries and regions will have to carry out the following tasks.
First, the khokims of all regions, districts (cities) in the territories under their jurisdiction, and industry leaders - in their systems, within a month will develop a program “Without Corruption” together with the agency. The main objective will be to ensure openness and transparency, as well as digitalization of activities.
Secondly, effective parliamentary and public control over the prevention of corruption will be established. In particular, the agency will analyze the state of anti-corruption work and annually submit a national report to the President and the Oliy Majlis.
It is also indicated that the agency, together with the public, the media and other institutions of civil society, should study the perception of corruption among the population and entrepreneurs, evaluate the performance of state bodies.
Thirdly, in the fight against corruption, serious attention will be paid to the issue of training. For this, a separate training module on the study of corruption problems, a special department and a master’s program will be opened at the Academy of Public Administration and Tashkent State Law University. Training courses will also be organized for senior staff, especially khokims, to develop their knowledge and skills in this area.
Responsible persons provided information on the organization of the execution of tasks set at the meeting.