In the Way of Improving the Legal System
From the first days of Independence the Republic of Uzbekistan began to create the normative-legal base that meets modern requirements and generally accepted international principles. The transformation and innovation of the judicial-legal sphere has a special place in this process. The establishment of the Research Center for democratization and liberalization of judicial legislation and ensuring the independence of the judiciary under the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, which promotes the rule of law in justice administration and prevents from interference to court activities, was an evidence of a serious approach to the creation of fair and humane legal system. An important step in reforming the judicial sphere was the adoption of the Law "On amendments and additions to the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Code on Administrative Responsibility in connection with the liberalization of criminal penalties" in 2001. A number of changes related to crime classification, the liberalization of criminal punishment rules, the increase in using alternative non-custodial sentences, the introduction of reconciliation institution, and the elimination of punishment by property confiscation was made in the legislature on the basis of this law. Along with this, a number of laws aimed at improving the activities of institutions of legal practice, notaries, enforcement proceedings, criminal procedure law, and forensic facilities have been adopted within the framework of the judicial reforms in Uzbekistan.One of the most important steps in the liberalization of the criminal law was the elimination of capital punishment and the transfer the right to authorize detention to courts (introduction of "Habeas Corpus"). These steps once more confirmed the steady progress of Uzbekistan forward in building a democratic state. In accordance with the law adopted on 11 July 2007 with respect to the abolition of the death penalty in Uzbekistan, the death penalty was eliminated from the penalty system under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the life imprisonment was introduced as a new form of punishment. In addition, the criminal law specified the definition of long-term imprisonment which says that in accordance with humanist principles these penalties cannot be applied to women, offenders under the age of eighteen and men over sixty. Profound changes in the criminal and law enforcement have their positive effect on the social, political and criminal situation in the country. Today, there are 166 prisoners per 100,000 people in Uzbekistan, which is significantly less than other countries of the world. To compare, this figure in theU.S. is 738, in Russia - 611. Anumber of important legislative initiatives, also aimed at further reforming the judicial system have been put forward by the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov in his report "The Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and formation of civil society in the country," delivered in the joint session of theOliy Majlis in November 12, 2010. It, in particular, stipulates following: -The strengthening of judicial control in preliminary investigation and the expansion of "Habeas Corpus" application in the criminal process. The proposals to transfer some prosecutorial powers ( suspension, accommodation in a medical facility) in the pre-trial stage of procedural enforcement to courts were prepared. The measures to ensure the independence, objectivity and impartiality of the court, increase the adversarial principle of criminal process, and release the court from irrelevant to it authority, such as criminal case initiation, are also being considered; -The adoption of the Law "On operative-search activity." The law should define the principles, bases, forms and methods of operational and investigative activities, as well as the system of organs to implement them. The law will enhance the effectiveness of measures in prevention and timely suppression of crime in its early stage, raise the quality of preliminary investigation, and further liberalize the activity of law enforcement agencies in this area; - The adoption of the Law "On internal affairs organs", providing the legal status of the internal affairs bodies and their employees. The law will define the main tasks, functions, rights and responsibilities of internal affairs organs, as well as strengthening social protection of employees of these bodies; - The adoption of a law aimed at the introduction of additional mechanisms of judicial protection of businesses, including their relationshipwith the government; - The adoption of the Code of administrative responsibility in the new version. The Code will come from the tendency to decriminalize the criminal law. The transfer of some offences from criminal to administrative jurisdiction, as well as the measures to improve and democratize the procedural mechanisms of administrative offenses investigation are also being considered. This document is intended to further the rule of law, reliable protection of citizens' rights in this area. The implementation of The Concept goals will strengthen the guarantees of judicial protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens. In general, the successful completion of judicial reform will be not only the result, but also the key to democratization and liberalization of all spheres of public and government system as well as be another bold step along the chosen path "from a strong state to a strong civil society."