UPDATE: A Guide to Legal Research in Uzbekistan

 

By Maria Stalbovskaya

Update by Mirfozil Khasanov

 

Mirfozil (Fazil) Khasanov worked for US and international human rights and humanitarian organizations in education, training and torture prevention projects. He co-authored articles on civil society development in Uzbekistan and was responsible for the project of official translation of international humanitarian law instruments into Uzbek.

 

Published November/December 2016

(Previously updated by Maria Stalbovskaya in Sept./Oct. 2007 and by Mirfozil Khasanov in Jan. 2014)

See the Archive Version!

 

 

1.     Introduction

The Republic of Uzbekistan is positioned on the ancient Great Silk Road that linked Europe and Asia from the 2nd century BC to the end of the 14th century AD. It is the most populous country in Central Asia, having population of 31,576,400 people. The total territory of the country is 447,400 sq. km (172,700 sq. miles). It borders Kyrgyzstan in the east, Kazakhstan in the north, Tajikistan in the southeast, Afghanistan in the south and Turkmenistan in the west. The capital of Uzbekistan is the city of Tashkent. Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva and other cities of Uzbekistan are popular tourist destinations with a vast abundance of historic sites and places.

 

Uzbeks are the predominant ethnic group and profess Sunni branch of Islam, with Shia Muslims constituting around 1% and being mainly represented by ethnic Iranians. If previously only did Slavic populations profess Eastern Orthodox Christianity, within the last decade representatives of other ethnic groups have joined the church too, Judaism is represented by Ashkenazi and Bukharian Jews and other faiths are also represented.

 

The state language is Uzbek. It belongs to the Karluk branch of the Turkic languages family, and is mutually intelligible with other Turkic languages to varying degrees: over 70% with Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tatar and Turkmen, around 60% with Azeri and some 80% with Uyghur. The Russian language continues to be used in business correspondence and official documents as well as in everyday communication. Tajik, a variety of Persian, is predominantly spoken in Samarkand, Bukhara and is in use in the pockets across the country. The Karakalpak language is an official language of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. It is a Turkic language close to Kazakh, and has been heavily influenced by Uzbek.

 

In the 19th century, the Imperial Russia conquered the three khanates – Bukhara, Kokand and Khorezm – the territories roughly corresponding to modern Uzbekistan. Despite wider resistance to the Soviets, the Soviet power was established by 1920. The Bolshevik government created the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, in lieu of the short-lived Turkestan ASSR, the Bukharan People's Republic, and the Khorezm People's Republic.

 

During the World War II, Uzbekistan became a home for some 1,500,000 refugees evacuated from the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, including hundreds of thousands of children. Some 1,430,000 people from Uzbekistan fought against the Nazi Germany, while a number of them were lured into the Turkestan legion, military units made up of Turkic peoples to fight in the ranks of Wermacht by the promises of liberation of their country from the communist yoke.

 

Following the failed coup d'état of the August 18, 1991, Uzbekistan announced its independence on August 31, 1991. On December 8, 1992, the 11th session of the Supreme Council of Uzbekistan adopted a new Constitution that replaced the Constitution of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic of 1977.

 

Uzbekistan consists of 12 provinces, one autonomous entity and a capital with a special status. The provinces, Karakalpakstan and Tashkent city are divided into districts. Karakalpakstan is an autonomous republic with own Constitution and national flag.

 

2.     Legal System of Uzbekistan

The contemporary law of the Republic of Uzbekistan belongs to a civil law family. It is transitioning from the Soviet law-based concepts to modern legal standards.

 

Prior to the Russian conquest, the law of the Uzbek khanates was based on Shari’a (Islamic law) and adat (customary law). In an ambitious bid to develop the sense of shared citizenry among the colonized people, to incorporate them into the empire, and to promote a uniform legal system, the Imperial Russia introduced elements of the European legal system, albeit with limited success. Later, the Communists sought to abolish the Shari’a courts as a part of overall secularization policy: it took almost a decade to close them down completely. In contrast with the Imperial Russia, the Communist regime considered the law as an extension and tool of politics, and courts as the government institutions that promote and implement government policies. The notions of the rule of law, civil liberties, protection of property were alien to the Soviet law. While after independence Uzbekistan retained its secular character and employed what the government called “the phased approach” to upgrade its legislation to the international standards, it is yet to address serious tasks related to comprehensive incorporation of modern legal concepts into practice.

 

The hierarchy of the Uzbekistani law is: The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, constitutional laws, codes, ordinary laws, decrees of the President of Uzbekistan, decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers, and other normative legal acts. The Constitution and the law on normative legal acts provide for supremacy of the Constitution and laws of Uzbekistan in its territory. Though many laws contain a provision stating that in case of conflict between the national legislation and an international treaty, the latter is applied, no mechanism is available to directly employ the clause. Therefore, international law and treaties do not have direct effect and have to be implemented in order to be enforced.

 

2.1.   The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The current Constitution (in English) was adopted on December 8, 1992 on the eleventh session the Supreme Counsel of the Republic of Uzbekistan of the twentieth convocation. The Constitution of the Republic of Karakalpakstan was adopted on April 9, 1993 by the twelfth session of the Supreme Counsel of the Republic of Karakalpakstan of the twelfth convocation

 

2.2.  Constitutional Laws of the Republic Uzbekistan

The legislators are yet to define issues constitutional laws to address. Since independence, the Uzbek parliament adopted 7 constitutional laws out of which 5 retained the effect and status:

·       "On the Foundations of State Independence of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1991),

·       "On the Results of the Referendum and the Basic Principles of Organization of State Power" (2002)

·       “On the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan" (2002)

·       "On the Legislative chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan" (2002)

·       “On strengthening the role of political parties in the process of renewing of governance and furthering democratization thereof, and in modernization of the country” (2007).

 

2.3.  Codes of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The codes are very important elements of the legal system of Uzbekistan. They are given effect and/or amended by special laws.

·       "City-planning Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (2002)

·       "Housing Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1998)

·       "Family Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1998)

·       "Land Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1998)

·       "Custom Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (2016)

·       "Code of Economic Procedure of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1997)

·       "Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1997)

·       "Criminal Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (2001, English)

·       "Correctional Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1997)

·       "Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1994, English)

·       "Tax Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1997)

·       "Civil Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" Part One (1995), Part Two (1996)

·       "Labor Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1995)

·       "Code on Administrative Responsibility of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1994)

·       "Air Code of the Republic Uzbekistan" (1993)

 

3.     Form of Government in Uzbekistan

According to the Constitution, Uzbekistan is a democratic republic, where the state power is exercised pursuant to the principle of separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial.

 

3.1.   Legislative Branch of Government

 

3.1.1.The Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The highest representative body of the state is the Oliy Majlis (the Supreme Assembly) of the Republic of Uzbekistan. This body exercises legislative powers. The referendum of January 27, 2002 approved a proposal to change structure of the Oliy Majlis. The Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan was enacted on June 1, 2004 as a bicameral parliament consisting of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate. (The law amending the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was officially published on May 22, 2003).

 

The Legislative (lower) chamber of the Republic of Uzbekistan is composed of 150 deputies, of which 135 are elected by territorial constituencies on a multi-party basis for the term of five years and 15 represent the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan.

 

The Senate (upper chamber) of the Republic of Uzbekistan consists of territorial representatives (senators) of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, of provinces of Uzbekistan and of Tashkent city, elected by the respective local Legislatures from among their members by secret ballot. Each territory elects six senators. The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan appoints another 16 members of Senate from among the country’s most distinguished citizens with broad practical experience who performed meritorious service in the area of science, the arts, literature, and industry.

 

Parliamentarians and senators are elected for a term of five years. They cannot hold paid positions, except those related to teaching and research, during the term.

 

The Senate and the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis adopt and amend the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan; schedule referenda; define fundamental areas of foreign and domestic policy; define the structure and competences of legislative, executive and judiciary agencies; decide on issues of the national territory; regulate customs, currency and credit systems; decide on taxes and other mandatory fees; approve the national budget; convene the Central Election Commission; elect the Human Rights Ombudsperson and his/her deputy; approve the Prime Minister; declare war, national emergency, and nationwide mobilization; ratify or denounce international treaties; and exercise other powers provided for by the Constitution.

 

The exclusive powers of the Legislative chamber of the Oliy Majlis include election of its Speaker, Deputy Speakers, Committee Chairpersons and their deputies; stripping parliamentarians of immunity; adoption of enactments related to politics, socio-economics and domestic and foreign polices of Uzbekistan; and adoption of parliamentary procedure and other resolutions.

 

The Senate has exclusive powers to elect Senate Chairperson and his/her deputies, Committee Chairpersons and their deputies; to approve the nominations for judges of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Higher Economic Court made by the President of Uzbekistan; to approve decisions of the President of Uzbekistan to appoint or dismiss the Prosecutor General, the Chairpersons of the Audit Chamber and of the National Security Service; to approve the appointment and dismissal of heads of Uzbekistan's diplomatic missions and of the Central Bank Chairperson proposed by the President of Uzbekistan; to strip Senators of the immunity; to hear the reports by the Prosecutor General, Central Bank Board; and to  make enactments on politics, socio-economics and foreign and domestic policy of Uzbekistan.

 

3.1.2.     Legislative Process

The right to initiate legislation in the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan is vested in the following: The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan; the Republic of Karakalpakstan through the highest body of state authority; the deputies of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan; the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan; the Constitutional Court; theSupreme Court; the Higher Economic Court; and the Prosecutor General Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 

The Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan passes laws, decisions and other normative legal acts. Any bill is considered to have been adopted when it is passed by a majority vote of the total number of the members of the Legislative Chamber. Amendments to the Constitution or constitutional laws are deemed to have been adopted when they are voted by the two thirds of the Chamber members.

 

The Chamber passes the bill to the Senate that approves or returns it. After the approval, the Senate sends the bill to the President of Uzbekistan for signing. If the bill returned by the Senate is re-voted and supported by the two-thirds of the Chamber members, it is deemed to have been adopted. The Senate may propose to the Chamber to work on a bill through a joint reconciliation commission.

 

Promulgation of the laws and other normative acts is a pre-requisite for their enforcement.

 

3.1.3. Chairperson of the Senate

 

In accordance with the article 13, the Constitutional Law “on the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, the Senate elects the Chairperson on the nomination of the President of Uzbekistan by a majority vote cast through secret ballot and for the duration of the Senate. The elected Chairperson suspends membership in political parties and movements. The appointment can be terminated by the Senate decision approved by more than two-thirds of votes cast in secret ballot.

 

Pursuant to the article 14, the Chairperson:

1)     convenes and chairs the sessions of the Senate and its Council;

2)    leads preparations of items to be submitted to discussion in the Senate;

3)    sends the approved bills to the President of Uzbekistan for signature;

4)    coordinates efforts of the Senate Committees and Commissions;

5)     assures monitoring of implementation of the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan and of the Senate resolutions;

6)    distributes responsibilities between Deputy Chairpersons;

7)     leads the inter-parliamentary relations and is in charge for the Senate groups related to the international parliamentary organizations;

8)    approves the statutes and editorial boards of the Senate’s print outlets, as well as their staffing cost estimates;

9)    appoints and dismisses the chief editors of the Senate’s print outlets upon coordination with the Senate Council;

10)  is responsible for management of the Senate’s print outlets;

11)   represents the Senate in relations with the Legislative Chamber, other state agencies, foreign states and international and other organizations;

12)  signs the resolutions of the Senate and the Senate Council;

13)  is responsible for management of the Senate’s apparatus, for approving the cost estimation to support Senators and the Senate apparatus;

14)  performs other duties as foreseen in the Constitution of Uzbekistan, the law on the Senate and the Senate Regulations.

 

After the December 25, 2008 amendments to the law on the Legislative Chamber, political parties represented in the Oliy Majlis are allowed to voice their disagreement with the majority party or faction and announce themselves to be in opposition.

 

3.2.  Executive Branch of Government

The Executive branch of powers include: The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, and hokimiyats (administrations) of provinces and cities.

 

3.2.1.     Presidency

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is the head of state and the executive authority responsible for coherent functioning and interaction of the public administration agencies in the Republic of Uzbekistan. The April 11, 2007 constitutional amendment assigned the executive power to the Cabinet of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister.

 

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is elected for a term of five years. It is the second change of the office term since 1991. The original five-year term was extended to seven years by the May 22, 2003 law and reduced back to five years by the December 12, 2011 amendment. 

 

The powers of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan include:

·       To be a guarantor of human rights and freedoms, respect the Constitution and laws of Uzbekistan;

·       To take measures required for the protection of the national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity;

·       To represent the country inside and outside Uzbekistan;

·       To nominate to the Oliy Majlis the candidates of the Prime-Minister, Ambassadors for missions abroad, of the Senate Chairperson, of the Chairpersons and Judges of the Supreme Court, Higher Economic Court and Constitutional Court, of the Chairpersons of the Central Bank Board and of the State Committee for the Protection of Nature;

·       To appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister, his/her First Deputy, the Deputy Prime Ministers, the members of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Procurator General of the Republic of Uzbekistan and his/her Deputies, and the Chairperson of the Audit Chamber;

·       To appoint and dismiss judges of provincial, district, and city courts for criminal and civil cases, of military and economic courts;

·       To appoint heads of state administration of provinces and Tashkent city, nominated by the Prime Minister;

·       To sign the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan;

·       To serve as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic, to appoint and dismiss the high command of the Armed Forces, and to confer top military ranks;

·       To establish the national security and state control services, to appoint and dismiss their heads, and exercise other powers vested in him/her;

·       To suspend or terminate the decisions of the public administration;

·       To declare the state of war and to submit the declaration to the Oliy Majlis for approval;

·       To impose the state of emergency and to submit the declaration to the Oliy Majlis for approval;

·       To award or strip of citizenship and to grant asylum; and

·       To propose amnesty acts to the Senate.

 

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan issues decrees, enactments and ordinances binding on the entire territory of the Republic on the basis of enforcement of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 

3.2.2. Transfer of Presidential Power

According to Art. 96 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan (amended on April 18, 2011), should the incumbent President be unable to perform the duties of his/her office, the Chairperson of the Senate of the Republic of Uzbekistan serves ad interim. Upon the determination of his/her incapacitation, the elections of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan have to be held within the ensuing three months. The previous wording of the article from April 24, 2003 detailed that the State Medical Commission had to be established by the decision of both chambers and it would have been responsible for such determination, and that the ad interim President would have been elected from among the parliamentarians and senators within ten days. The April 18, 2011 amendment omitted the provision on the State Medical Commission and provided for the Senate Chairperson to become the acting President ex officio in the case of incapacitation of the incumbent President.

 

After the President Islam Karimov suffered a stroke and brain hemorrhage on August 28, 2016, and demised on September 2, 2016, the Senate Chairperson Nigmatilla Yuldashev became the acting President. However, at the September 8, 2016 joint session of both chambers, convened to discuss the issue of “provisional performance of tasks and duties of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, the Chairperson Yuldashev proposed to appoint the Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev the acting President “in view of his long leadership experience in the public administration and governance agencies, and the credibility he enjoys among people”. The both chambers approved the proposal and appointed the Prime Minister Mirziyoyev acting President. On September 9,2016 the Central Election Commission announced the opening of the election campaign period. The presidential elections have been scheduled for December 4, 2016.

 

3.2.3. Government

The Cabinet of Ministers is a top executive power agency, responsible for efficient management of economics, and social and spiritual sectors as well as for enforcement of laws, ordinances and decisions of the Oliy Majlis and the President. It issues enactments and ordinances that are binding on all bodies of administration, enterprises, institutions, organizations, officials and citizens throughout the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 

According to the Constitution, the majority party or faction nominates its candidate for the office of Prime-Minister and submits it to the President of Uzbekistan's for approval. After the President approves the nomination, the Legislative Chamber and Senate vote on it.

 

The Prime-Minister submits the nominations for the Cabinet to the President for approval. The Oliy Majlis can remove the Prime-Minister, if the President of Uzbekistan approves their motion of no confidence. The President of Uzbekistan consults with political parties and factions to nominate a new candidate. If the nominee is not approved by the Oliy Majlis twice, the President dissolves the Parliament and appoints a Prime-Minister.

 

In accordance with the article 98 of Constitution, the Prime Minister shall:

1)     organize and lead the work of the Cabinet of Ministers and be personally responsible for its efficiency;

2)    chair the sessions of the Cabinet of Ministers and sign its resolutions;

3)    represent the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan in international relations;

4)    perform other functions provided for in the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 

Ministries:

·       Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Public Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Ministry of Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan

 

State Committees:

·       The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Statistics

·       The State Committee of Uzbekistan on Privatization, Demonopolization and Development of Competition

·       State Tax Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection

·       State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Geology and Mineral Resources

·       State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Architecture and Construction

·       The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Land Resources, Geodesy, Cartography and State Cadaster

 

State Agencies:

·       Uzbek Agency of Automobile and River Transport

·       Press and Information Agency of Uzbekistan

·       "Uzarkhiv" Agency

·       "Uzkommunxizmat" Agency of Uzbekistan

·       Standardization, metrology, certification Agency

·       Agency on Intellectual Property of the Republic of Uzbekistan

 

State Inspections:

·       The State Inspection of the Republic of Uzbekistan for flight safety supervision

·       The State Inspection on oversight of safe conduct of work in industry, mining and domestic sectors of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       The State Inspection of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Railway transportation safety supervision

·       The State Inspection of the Republic of Uzbekistan on supervision for electric power industry  

·       The State Grain inspection at the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       The State Inspection for control over the use of oil products and natural gas under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan

 

Other Committees:

·       The Committee on Religious Affairs under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       The Committee on the management of public reserves under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Coordinating Committee for Development of Science and Technology under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan

 

3.3.  Judicial Branch of Government 

The judicial system in the Republic of Uzbekistan consists of the following courts: the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the  Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Higher Economic Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the  Supreme Courts of Karakalpakstan on civil and criminal cases, the Economic Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, provincial courts on criminal and civil cases, Tashkent city courts on criminal and civil cases, inter-district, district and town courts on criminal and civil cases and military and economic courts. As of now, the judges are elected for the five-year term; the October 21, 2016 decree by the acting President of Uzbekistan introduced new appointment and tenure rules that have to be incorporated into the legislation.

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan is the highest and the only court that exercises exclusively judicial review (the Austrian model): it hears cases related to the constitutionality of laws, normative legal acts and decisions passed by the legislative and executive branches, interprets the Constitution and laws of Uzbekistan, and exercises other competences specified by laws.

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan assesses the conformity of the Constitution and laws of Karakalpakstan to the Constitution and laws of Uzbekistan, the constitutionality of the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan and other acts passed by the Oliy Majlis, the decrees issued by the President, the enactments of the government, and the ordinances of local authorities, as well as responsibilities of the Republic of Uzbekistan under international treaties and other documents. 

 

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan is the highest judicial body of civil, criminal, and administrative justice. The rulings of the Supreme Court are final and binding throughout the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan has the right to supervise the administration of justice by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, as well as by provincial, city, town, and district courts. Its Plenary will no more enjoy the supervisory authority from April 1, 2017 onward. The Supreme Court issues interpretations and guidances for application of laws that are binding for lower courts and recommendatory for law-enforcement agencies.

 

The Higher Economic Court is the higher forum for litigation on commercial matters. Economic courts try economic (commercial) disputes between entrepreneurs, public and private businesses and organizations. By the October 21, 2016 decree, the system of economic courts will be augmented by regional courts of appeals that will review the appeals of the decisions issued by provincial economic courts.

 

Treteyskie sudy (Arbitration Courts or Mediation Tribunals) are not a part of the judicial system, like in some other countries. Pursuing the objective of reaching amicable solution and preserving cooperation between the parties (natural and/or legal persons), they adjudicate disputes between parties that have chosen to refer a matter under civil law or commercial law to the tribunals and submit it to their competence.  The decisions taken by the tribunals are binding, not subject to review by competent courts, enforceable by law and enter in force immediately. They cost less and last shorter than civil or economic court hearings. Uzbekistan is a party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958.

 

3.4. Legal Reforms Announced by the Acting President

Since assuming the office, the acting President Mirziyoyev has announced a number of reforms in the domain of foreign affairs, economic freedoms, criminal justice and the judiciary. On September 16, 2016, he signed the bill on the Law on the Agencies of Internal Affairs that will enter in force in six months since the date of signature. The law addresses crucial issues such as: the functions and responsibilities of the agencies; use of physical force, non-lethal weapons and equipment, and firearms; the social protection and compensation of officers; and so on.

 

By the October 21, 2016 presidential decree “on Measures on Further Reforming of Judiciary, and on Enhancing Guarantees for Solid Protection of Rights and Freedoms of Citizens”, the government has identified the following objectives as priorities in judiciary reforms:

·        to secure genuine independence of judiciary,

·        to enhance guarantees for solid protection of human rights and freedoms, and

·        to improve access to justice.

 

To achieve the objectives, the law enforcement and monitoring agencies are tasked to ensure the respect for the Constitutional rule on the independence of judges and on their subordination to law, to make sure that any interference with administration of justice is punished, to protect the rights and interests of citizens, and to prevent bureaucratic delays and violations in reviewing the applications submitted by natural and legal persons; to ensure publicity and transparency through prompt reporting to the public, to increase efficiency of interaction with the civil society, the media and the public; to identify and address systemic deficiencies and violations through improved law enforcement practices and the legislation in force, to introduce advanced technological tools and ICT; to enhance institutional control, to prevent and suppress abuses of office and other offences among the staff, to improve quality of staff composition, to introduce modern staffing mechanisms that facilitate selection of the best candidates.

 

The October 21, 2016 decree approves new tenure standards for judges. The judges will be appointed (elected) for the initial term of five years, and, if re-appointed (re-elected), for the second consecutive term of 10 years with the third re-appointment granting life tenure.

 

From April 1, 2017 on,

·       in line with liberalization of criminal justice system, the arrest, incommunicado detention from one to up to six months in special detention facilities, to be abolished as a punishment and replaced by alternatives that do not include deprivation of liberty;

·       to increase the protection of human rights and encourage efficiency of investigative agencies, the pre-trial arrest without warrant will be 48 hours (as opposed to the current 72 hours);

·       to enhance legal protections of citizens during the pre-trial detention, its maximum duration as well as the maximum length of investigation of criminal cases to be reduced from 12 months to 7 months;

·       to ensure the compliance of rules on arrest postal and telegraph dispatches and exhumation with the Constitution and international standards, the powers to arrest the dispatches and order exhumation to be transferred from prosecutors to courts;

·       the courts to be enabled to apply, upon discretion, pre-trial restrictions other than detention or house arrest;

·       to prevent arbitrary and unjustified delays in administration of justice, the courts to be stripped off the power to order additional investigation;

·       to contribute to sustainable judgments in civil litigations, the statutory period of limitation for appeals to be reduced from three years to one year;

·       to prevent unjustified delays in the administration of justice and the repeated review by the same court of the same case, the provincial courts on criminal and civil cases to lose the supervisory review power, which means that the chairpersons of courts, including the Supreme Court Plenary, and prosecutors will no more be able to file an opposition note to decision;

·       to stop the practice by the provincial economic courts to review own decisions on cases, regional economic courts of appeal to be established;

·       to enhance and protect independence of the judiciary, the Supreme Court to be assigned additional functions and competences, that previously belonged to the Ministry of Justice, and to be responsible for maintenance and funding of the courts of general jurisdiction.

 

The above-mentioned decree orders the Supreme Court, the Higher Economic Court, Prosecutor General Office and other interested agencies to develop substantiated proposals by July 2017, that are based on international best practices and related to the following:

·       improving the system of upgrade qualifications training of judicial and prosecutor officers, as well as the system of training of executives;

·       enhancing the legal protection of the underage during the procedural actions, liberalization of criminal penalties as well as revision of terms and grounds for squashing and clearing of criminal record;

·       extending the application of mediation in the criminal justice to allow persons who committed a crime and have sincerely repented and compensated the damage to avoid criminal liability;

·       decriminalizing certain crimes that do not pose serious threat to the community;

·       increasing the scope of application of the principle whereby the criminal case is initiated only upon filing the victim’s complaint;

·       improving the quality of administration of justice through introduction of the modern types and methods of e-justice and enforcement of the court decisions as well as by employing advanced tools enabling access to justice.

 

The Constitution, the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Civil Code and Civil Procedure Code, as well as some other laws are to be amended to meet the objectives set forth in the decree.

 

To improve and enhance the protection of rights and freedoms of the citizens, a number of special laws, including the law on the protection of the victims, witnesses and other participants of criminal procedure, the law on mediation, the law of administrative proceedings in courts, are planned to be adopted.

 

4.     Legal Resources

 

4.1.    Online

 

4.1.1.International Resources

·       Amnesty International Annual report

·       Asian Development Bank

·       CIPR—The Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights

·       Information Portal for Water and Environmental Issues in Central Asia

·       ECOLEX—database of national environmental legislation Environmental Law Gateway (UNEP/ICUN)

·       European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

·       EU-Central Asia Rule of Law Platform

·       FAOLEX Agreements between Uzbekistan and other countries

·       Law Resource Page Free Service of the Washburn University School of Law Library

·       SOAS Library

·       Hieros Gamos (online law firm directory)

·       ICNL The International Center for Non-for-Profit Law

·       MIXMARKET (global information exchange for the microfinance industry development of the local microfinance sector in the Central Asian republics)

·       NATLEX (database of national labor, social security and related human rights legislation)

·       OSCE ODIHR Documentation Center

·       OSI

·       UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Legislation on drugs (collection of drug and crime-related laws in English)

·       UNDP

·       World Legal Information Institute (free, independent and non-profit access to worldwide law. 820 databases from 123 countries. (Australasian Legal Information Institute))

 

4.1.2.     Other Resources on Uzbekistan

·       LEXUZ (a national database maintained by the Justice Ministry (Uzbek, Russian))

·       Norma (a subscription-based database of laws, bylaws, etc., features lawyers’ comments)

·       Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan (English, Uzbek and Russian)

·       Center for Economic Research (English, Russian)

·       Central Election Commission (Russian, Uzbek)

·       Jahon Information Agency (Arabic, English, Uzbek and Russian)

·       Public Fund for Support and Development of Independent print media and news agencies of Uzbekistan (Russian)

·       Press-service of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Constitution and Decrees of the President of Uzbekistan (English, Russian, Uzbek))

·       Ombudsman at the Oliy Majlis of the Republic Uzbekistan (Russian)

·       National Association of the Nongovernmental Organizations (Russian) (a website of the umbrella organization for nonprofits)

·       National Police Academy

·       Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan

·       Prosecutor General Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan

 

4.2.  Print

 

4.2.1.     Official Legal Issues

In accordance with the article 25, the law on Normative Legal Acts (amended December 24, 2012), the following gazettes are official sources of law:

·       O’zbekiston Respublikasi Oliy Majlis palatalarining Axborotnomasi , Vedomosti palat Oliy Mazhlisa Respubliki Uzbekistan (Bulletin of the Chambers of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Uzbek and Russian), "O’zbekiston Respublikasi qonun hujjatlari to’plami", "Sobranie zakonodatelstva Respubliki Uzbekistan" (Collection of Legislative Acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Uzbek and Russian), newspapers “Xalq so’zi” and “Narodnoe slovo”, (People’s Word in Uzbek and Russian) are for the laws, the ordinances of both chambers of the Oliy Majlis, the decrees;

 

·       "O’zbekiston Respublikasi huqumatining qarorlari tuplami", “Sobranie postanovleniy Pravitel’stva Respubliki Uzbekistan" "O’zbekiston Respublikasi qonun hujjatlari to’plami", "Sobranie zakonodatelstva Respubliki Uzbekistan" (Collection of Legislative Acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Uzbek and Russian), newspapers “Xalq so’zi” and “Narodnoe slovo”,(People’s Word in Uzbek and Russian)  are for the decisions of the Cabinet of the Ministers;

 

·       "O’zbekiston Respublikasi qonun hujjatlari to’plami", "Sobranie zakonodatelstva Respubliki Uzbekistan" (Collection of Legislative Acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Uzbek and Russian), official gazettes of the ministries, state committees and agencies are for normative legal acts of the ministries, state committees and agencies;

 

·       Normative legal acts of local administrations are published in their respective official publications.

 

·       According to the amendments approved by the Senate’s 6th plenary session on August 24-25, 2016, the LEX.UZ online database shall be an official source for the normative legal acts along with the above-mentioned sources.  

 

4.2.2.     Other Legal Serial Publications

 

Journals:

·       "Democratization and human rights" (Uzbek, English and Russian)

·       "Falsafa va huquq" (Uzbek) 

·       "Fuqarolik jamiati" (Uzbek)

·       "Huquq", "Pravo", "Law" (the Ministry of Interior Affairs) (Uzbek, English and Russian)

·       "Huquq va burch" (Uzbek)

·       "Huquqshunos" (Uzbek)

·       "Khojalik va Huquq", "Khozjajstvo i pravo" (the Higher Economic Court) (Uzbek and Russian)

·       "New Laws of Uzbekistan", "Novye zakony Uzbekistana" (the Ministry of the Justice) Tashkent, Adolat. 1993 (Uzbek, Russian)

·       "Qonun himoyasida" (issue of the Procuracy General) (Uzbek)

·       "The Bulletin of the Supreme Court of Republic Uzbekistan" (Uzbek and Russian)

 

Newspapers:

·       "Adolat" (Uzbek)

·       "Huquq"(Uzbek)

·       "Huquq olamida" (Uzbek)

·       "Postda" (Uzbek)

·       "Na postu" (Russian)

·       "Pravda Vostoka" (Cabinet of Ministers (Russian))

·       "Soliq va bojxona" (Uzbek)

 

Reference Books:

·       Butler William E., ed. Uzbekistan Legal Texts. The Foundations of Civic Accord and a Market Economy. Kluwer Law International. Hague, London, Boston: Simmonds & Hill, 1999

·       Butler William E., transl. Civil Code of the Republic Uzbekistan. Third edition. Kluwer Law International. Hague, London, Boston: Simmonds & Hill, 1999

·       Nichol, James. Uzbekistan: Basic Facts, CRS Report for Congress, May 28, 1996.

·       Saidov, Akmal. Comparative Law. Transl. from the Russian and ed. by W.E. Butler. London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2003

·       Saidov, Akmal. The Legal System of Uzbekistan: History, Traditions, and Renewal. Tashkent, 1998.