[18 February 1999]
Introduction : 1 - 6
I. GENERAL INFORMATION : 7 - 40
A. General demographic, economic
and social characteristics of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 1998 : 7 - 16
B. State political structure :
17 - 33
1. The legislature : 22 - 23
2. The executive : 24 - 28
3. The judiciary : 29 - 32
4. Local authorities : 33
C. Basic principles of Uzbek foreign
policy : 34 - 40
II. PROHIBITION UNDER UZBEK LAW
OF TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT (art.
1) : 41 - 59
III. LEGISLATIVE, ADMINISTRATIVE
AND JUDICIAL MEASURES TO PREVENT TORTURE (art. 2) : 60 - 71
A. Legal safeguards to prevent
torture and civil rights violations in the justice system : 61
B. Administrative measures to suppress torture and violations of the rule
of law : 62 - 66
C. Judicial protection against torture and cruel treatment : 67 71
IV. EXPULSION, RETURN (REFOULEMENT)
AND EXTRADITION OF PERSONS IN DANGER OF BEING SUBJECTED TO TORTURE (art. 3)
: 72 79
V. CHARACTERIZATION OF TORTURE
AS AN OFFENCE UNDER NATIONAL LAW (art. 4) : 80 92
VI. JURISDICTION OF THE STATE
OVER TORTURE AND CRUEL TREATMENT (art. 5) : 93 95
VII. PREVENTIVE MEASURES AGAINST
PERSONS SUSPECTED OF HAVING COMMITTED UNLAWFUL ACTS (TORTURE OR DEGRADING
TREATMENT) (art. 6) : 96 104
VIII. SUBMISSION BY THE STATE TO ITS COMPETENT AUTHORITIES OF THE CASES OF
PERSONS FOUND TO HAVE COMMITTED TORTURE (art. 7) : 105 107
IX. INCLUSION IN EXTRADITION
TREATIES AS EXTRADITABLE OFFENCES OF THE OFFENCES REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 4
OF THE CONVENTION (art. 8) : 108 109
X. ASSISTANCE IN CONNECTION
WITH THE PROSECUTION OF PERSONS FOUND TO HAVE COMMITTED TORTURE (art. 9) :
XI. EDUCATION AND INFORMATION
REGARDING THE PROHIBITION OF TORTURE, AND TRAINING OF LAW-ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL
(art. 10) : 116 140
A. National Programme of Action
for Human Rights : 116 118
B. Training materials and information concerning the prohibition of torture
and degrading treatment : 119 124
C. Human rights education and training of officials in human rights : 125
D. Dissemination of human rights information publicizing of human rights :
XII. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF INTERROGATION
RULES, INSTRUCTIONS, METHODS AND PRACTICES AS WELL AS CUSTODY ARRANGEMENTS
(art. 11) : 141 155
XIII. PROMPT AND IMPARTIAL INVESTIGATION OF ACTS OF TORTURE (art. 12) : 156
XIV. SAFEGUARDING OF THE RIGHT
TO FILE A COMPLAINT AND TO HAVE IT PROMPTLY AND IMPARTIALLY EXAMINED (art.
13) : 160 - 170
XV. RIGHT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE
TO FAIR AND ADEQUATE COMPENSATION (art. 14) : 171
XVI. EXCLUSION FROM EVIDENCE
OF STATEMENTS MADE UNDER TORTURE (art. 15) : 172 - 173
XVII. PREVENTION OF TORTURE AND
OTHER INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT (art. 16) : 174 - 175
Annex: Working group for the preparation
of the national report
1. Since independence Uzbekistan
has moved to establish a democratic rule-of-law State and a just civil society.
Accordingly, the Government is striving to effect a radical transformation
of all areas of the country's social and political life. Upholding the interests
of the individual, and protecting and supporting human rights and freedoms
are reform priorities.
2. Uzbekistan is well aware that
these issues can only be addressed effectively by promoting clearly defined
and coordinated activity by all State authorities, administrative structures,
law-enforcement entities and government institutions involved in observance
of the rule of law, and that a robust statutory framework is also vital.
3. Uzbekistan has created the
core institutions of a parliamentary democracy and a rule-of-law State: the
Constitutional Court, the Parliamentary Institute for Monitoring Current Legislation,
the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman), the National Centre for Human Rights
of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and non-governmental civil rights organizations
(bar and judicial associations).
4. The old judicial system is
gradually being brought into line with international human rights standards.
Uzbekistan has acceded to more than 600 bilateral and multilateral agreements,
including 42 international human rights instruments. Parliament has stepped
up its ratification of international treaties. Making allowances for the capacities
of key government institutions, domestic law is being brought into line with
the universal principles and standards of international law. The formation
of national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is being encouraged and
international NGOs are starting to operate in Uzbekistan.
5. On 31 August 1995 Uzbekistan
acceded to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment of 10 December 1984.
6. The present national report
has been prepared by the National Centre for Human Rights of the Republic
of Uzbekistan. It draws on information received from the Supreme Court, the
Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence,
the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Macroeconomics
and Statistics, the Institute of Strategic and Interregional Studies reporting
to the President, the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman)
of the Oliy Majlis, and the Institute for Monitoring Current Legislation that
reports to the Oliy Majlis (see annex).
7. Uzbekistan became independent
on 1 September 1991. The capital is Tashkent. The country has a total area
of 447,400 km2 and comprises the Republic of Karakalpakstan, 12
wiloyats (provinces) and the city of Tashkent, 121 towns and 163 rural
8. The population at the beginning
of 1998 numbered 23.8 million, of whom 9 million (39.2 per cent) were town
dwellers and 14.8 million (61.8 per cent) rural dwellers. The average annual
rate of population increase was 2.3 per cent in the period 1980-1989 and 2.1
per cent in the period 1990-1998. Since 1990 the urban population has grown
by 9.2 per cent and the rural population by 20 per cent. The population density
is 53.2 per km2. The total numbers of males and females are 11,819,900
(49.7 per cent) and 11,952,400 (50.3 per cent) respectively. Children below
the age of 15 account for 42 per cent of the population; 16 million children,
or 69.7 per cent of the population, are under the age of 18.
9. Uzbekistan's population growth
is chiefly attributable to natural increase, i.e. a consistently high birth
rate (588,000 children were born in 1998). The pattern of the principal determinant
of population replacement, namely the birth rate, is of relevance in this
respect. For many years the nationwide crude birth rate remained at the level
of 33-34 per 1,000, whereas in recent years it has dipped significantly -
to 23.2 per 1,000 in 1998. High birth rates have been maintained only in Surkhan-Darya,
Kashkadar, Djizak and Namangan regions, i.e. in predominantly rural areas.
10. Throughout its history Uzbekistan
has always been a multi-ethnic republic. It is home to over 120 nationalities.
The bulk of the population (77.2 per cent) are Uzbeks and Karakalpaks. Other
ethnic groups comprising more than 1 per cent of the population include 1.3
million Russians (5.5 per cent of the total), 1.1 million Tajiks (4.8 per
cent), 900,000 Kazakhs (4.0 per cent), and 300,000 Tatars (1.4 per cent).
11. Uzbekistan is an extremely
important economic region. Total GDP in 1997 was 987.4 billion som. GDP in
real market prices was 298.5 billion som, or 13,110.3 som per capita. In 1997
the GDP index was 0.425 per cent, GDP growth 5.2 per cent, and the increase
in per capita GDP 3.2 per cent. Average monthly inflation in 1997 was 6.1
12. The number of unemployed,
taking into account the economically active population, was 40,100 at the
end of 1998.
13. The literacy rate is high:
97.7 per cent of the population can read and write. Most illiterates are in
the "70 and over" age group. Only 0.3 per cent of males and females aged between
16 and 29 are illiterate. Of the population aged 65 and over, 30.2 per cent
of females and 17.7 per cent of males are illiterate.
14. The level of education in
Uzbekistan is fairly high, with 986 out of every 1,000 persons in employment
having received some form of education. Of these educated persons, 142 (15
per cent) are specialists with full or partial higher education, 199 (21 per
cent) have specialized secondary education, 480 (50.6 per cent) have general
secondary education, and 127 (13.4 per cent) have uncompleted secondary education.
There are 58 higher educational establishments in Uzbekistan. One in four
people working in the national economy has received higher or specialized
15. According to the 1998 Human
Development Report on Uzbekistan prepared by the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) and the Centre for Economic Research, average life expectancy
was 72.7 for females and 68.1 for males.
16. Infant mortality in 1998 was
22.2 per 1,000; maternal mortality was 20.9 per 10,000.
17. Uzbekistan is a sovereign
democratic State committed to the principles of democracy and equality. It
recognizes human rights and adheres strictly to international legal standards
when adopting statutes and other regulatory instruments.
18. The democratic evolution of
Uzbekistan is borne out by the constitutional foundation of the State. The
Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was adopted on 8 December 1992
at the eleventh session of the Supreme Council of the Republic (twelfth convocation).
The Constitution guarantees the rights and legitimate interests of every individual.
It lays down the fundamentals of the relations and interaction between society
and the individual, as well as their respective rights and obligations. The
Constitution is the legal foundation of the State. Articles 18-20 and 24-26
enshrine basic civil rights and obligations. The President is the guarantor
of these rights and freedoms.
19. Articles 43-46 of the Constitution
safeguard the observance of citizens' rights and freedoms in Uzbekistan. The
Constitution states that:
20. The Constitution further states
(arts. 76-78, 90 and 93) that only the popularly elected Oliy Majlis and the
President of the Republic may speak for the Uzbek people. No section of society
and no political party, public association, movement or individual may speak
for the Uzbek people.
21. The system of State power
in Uzbekistan is based on the principle of the separation of powers into a
legislature, an executive and a judiciary.
22. Legislative power is exercised
by the Oliy Majlis (Parliament of the Republic), the highest representative
body. The procedure governing the composition and legal status of the Uzbek
Parliament is laid down in the Constitution (arts. 76-88), the Elections (Oliy
Majlis) Act, and the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan Act.
23. Article 83 of the Constitution
states that "the Oliy Majlis shall enact statutes, decisions and other instruments.
A majority of the votes of all the deputies of the Oliy Majlis shall be required
to enact a statute". Promulgation of statutes and other regulatory instruments
shall be a mandatory condition of their entry into force.
24. Uzbekistan is a presidential
republic. The President is the head of State and chief executive. The President
is also the Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers (Constitution, arts. 89-98).
25. Uzbek citizens elect the President
for a five-year term on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage
by secret ballot.
26. The Elections (President of
the Republic of Uzbekistan) Act provides that candidates for the office of
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan must be Uzbek citizens aged at least
35 years and fluent in the official language, and must have been permanently
resident in Uzbek territory for at least 10 years prior to the presidential
election in question.
27. Article 93 of the Constitution
states that the President shall protect citizens' rights and freedoms, the
Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
28. The Cabinet of Ministers is
appointed by the President and confirmed by the Oliy Majlis. The Cabinet of
Ministers manages the economy and oversees the social and spiritual direction
of the country. It executes the Constitution and statutes, the decisions of
the Oliy Majlis and the decrees, decisions and orders of the President, and
is empowered to issue, in line with current legislation, decisions and orders
that are binding on all authorities, enterprises, organizations, officials
and citizens throughout Uzbek territory.
29. The Uzbek judiciary is independent
of the legislature and the executive, political parties and other public associations
(arts. 106-116 of the Constitution). Judicial authority in Uzbekistan is exercised
by the courts:
(a) The Constitutional Court
of the Republic of Uzbekistan hears cases relating to the constitutionality
of instruments promulgated by the legislature and the executive;
(b) The Supreme Court of the
Republic of Uzbekistan is the highest judicial body in the civil, criminal
and administrative court hierarchy;
(c) The Higher Economic Court
of the Republic of Uzbekistan settles disputes of an economic nature;
(d) The Supreme Court of the
Republic of Karakalpakstan;
(e) The Economic Court of the
Republic of Karakalpakstan;
(f) Wiloyat (regional), Tashkent
City, district, city and economic courts;
(g) Military courts.
30. Article 112 of the Constitution
and the Courts Act state that judges are independent and subject only to the
law and that it is an offence to interfere in any way in the work of judges.
The inviolability of judges is guaranteed by law.
31. The Presidents and members
of the Supreme Court and the Higher Economic Court cannot be deputies in the
Oliy Majlis. Judges, including district judges, cannot be members of political
parties or movements, nor may they occupy any other remunerated position.
32. Current legislation provides
that persons charged with an offence have a right to legal defence during
33. Local authorities such as
the councils of people's deputies and regional chief administrators (khokim)
address social problems at the regional, district and city level. Their powers
and prerogatives are also enshrined in the Constitution and relevant statutes.
Chief administrators at all levels exercise their powers according to the
principle of undivided authority. Under article 104 of the Constitution, decisions
taken by chief administrators acting within the limits of their powers are
binding on all enterprises, institutions, organizations, associations, officials
and citizens within the territory concerned. Self-government of inhabited
localities, villages, rural settlements, and urban districts is exercised
by assemblies of citizens. Organs of self-government are elective and the
term of office is five years.
34. Uzbekistan's foreign policy
is based on the rules and principles enshrined in the Constitution, the International
Treaties of the Republic of Uzbekistan Act, the Fundamentals of Foreign Policy
Act, the Defence Act, the Military Doctrine of Uzbekistan, the purposes and
principles of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe, and Uzbekistan's commitments under international treaties and agreements
as ratified by the Oliy Majlis.
35. Uzbekistan is competent to
make alliances and enter into commonwealths and other inter-State arrangements,
and to leave them if they turn into military-cum-political blocs, given that
the Fundamentals of Foreign Policy Act and the Military Doctrine of Uzbekistan
both exclude Uzbek membership of military-cum-political blocs.
36. Uzbek foreign policy is based
on the universal principles and standards of international law, namely:
(a) The principle of the sovereign
equality of States and respect for the sovereignty of other States (art. 17
of the Constitution);
(b) The principle of non-interference.
In line with the Charter of the United Nations, Uzbekistan does not interfere
in the internal affairs of other States;
(c) The principle of the non-use
of force or of the threat of force. Uzbekistan views as a crime against peace
any military aggression or occupation that results from the use or threat
of the use of force and is intended to violate State borders;
(d) Uzbekistan is also committed
to other principles of international law such as the primacy of human rights
and environmental protection.
37. Uzbekistan is firmly opposed
to any act that fully or partially violates or undermines the territorial
integrity or political unity of sovereign or independent States which are
observing the principles of the equality and self-determination of peoples
and therefore have Governments that represent the interests of all the people
living in their territory without any distinctions. Uzbekistan recognizes
the right to self-determination of all peoples.
38. In November 1995, on the initiative
of the Uzbek Government, an international regional security conference was
organized in Uzbekistan. During the meeting between the Presidents of Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the Uzbek President launched an initiative to hold
an international nuclear disarmament conference. Uzbekistan advocates turning
the Central Asian region into a nuclear-weapons-free zone.
39. Since independence, Uzbekistan
has established diplomatic relations with 105 States. As of 1998, Uzbekistan
had been recognized as an independent State by 145 States. On 2 March 1992
Uzbekistan became a full member of the United Nations.
40. Uzbekistan cooperates closely
with a number of international organizations, including UNESCO and UNICEF,
and is a member of the Economic Cooperation Organization, the European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the
International Monetary Fund, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe (OSCE). Some of the organizations and programmes represented in
Uzbekistan include Technical Assistance for the Commonwealth of Independent
States (TACIS), the Soros Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and
the American Bar Association. Societies for the promotion of friendship with
foreign countries have been established and are operating in Uzbekistan.
41. Torture and other cruel, inhuman
or degrading forms of treatment or punishment are expressly prohibited by
a number of Uzbek legislative instruments. Article 25 of the Constitution
provides that "everyone shall have the right of freedom and personal inviolability.
No one may be detained or held in custody except as provided for by law".
Article 26, paragraph 2, is even more specific: "No one may be subjected to
torture, violence or other cruel or degrading treatment." Special rules prohibiting
unlawful acts of this kind are to be found in a number of other legislative
instruments (the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Code
for the Execution of Criminal Penalties).
42. In addition to legal safeguards,
a system of institutions to protect rights during criminal proceedings has
been created and is operating in Uzbekistan. It comprises the highest-level
State authorities and administration, the law-enforcement system and extrajudicial
43. Despite the existence of a
system for supervising and monitoring human rights observance in the criminal
justice system, cases of unlawful, humiliating and degrading treatment and
punishment are still occurring in the work of a number of law-enforcement
authorities. For example, according to the Procurator's Office, violations
of defendants' rights and legitimate interests occurred in 1997 in such forms
as unlawful arrest, detention and unwarranted criminal prosecution.
44. The Supreme Court reports
that action against 23 officers of the preliminary investigation authorities
found to have committed offences of this nature was halted, and 22 persons
committed for trial on similar offences were rehabilitated by the courts.
In 1998, a mere 19 law-enforcement officers were convicted of offences under
articles 235 and 236 of the Criminal Code (Coercion to testify and Unlawful
remand in custody).
45. Concealment of unlawful arrest
is another breach of the Convention against Torture. The Procurator's Office
recorded seven such cases nationwide in 1997, although further checks revealed
five cases of unlawful arrest by officers from the internal affairs authorities
in Samarkand wiloyat alone. In 1992 the total number of unlawful arrests
was 76; in 1993, 52; in 1994, 38; in 1995, 45; in 1996, 20; and in 1997, 7.
46. In 1996 the internal affairs
authorities received 155,965 written complaints, or 23,147 more than in 1995.
The facts as presented in 110,513 of these complaints were found to be true.
In all, 120,441 written and oral complaints were dealt with in face-to-face
interviews in 1996; 80,762 of them were upheld. The President's Office received
841 complaints, the Cabinet of Ministers 101, and the Oliy Majlis 93. Most
of the complaints originated in Surkhan-Darya, Samarkand, Namangan, and Tashkent
wiloyats and the city of Tashkent itself.
47. Procuratorial checks have
also revealed breaches of the law with regard to the custody of convicted
persons, for example overcrowding and violation of health standards, lack
of opportunities to seek medical assistance, failure to observe adequate requirements
in respect of sanitation and hygiene, gross irregularities committed by officers
of penal institutions, and so forth.
48. The Ministry of Internal Affairs
reports that in 1992 it redrafted 52 regulations of the former USSR Ministry
of Internal Affairs pertaining to the work of penal institutions. Today only
seven regulations dating from the time of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs
are still in force, and these are being redrafted and harmonized.
49. On 25 February 1998 the Supreme
Court sentenced 11 law-enforcement officers, including 2 officers of the Procurator's
Office, 8 officers of the internal affairs authorities and a forensic expert,
to lengthy periods of deprivation of liberty for offences under articles 230,
234 and 235 of the Criminal Code (Prosecution of an innocent party, Unlawful
arrest and Coercion to testify).
50. The law-enforcement authorities
are the specialized institutions which monitor and supervise observance of
the rule of law in the criminal justice system. They comprise the Ministry
of Internal Affairs, the Procurator's Office, and the National Security Service.
The courts afford judicial protection of citizens' rights and freedoms. The
work of these specialized institutions is regulated by a number of instruments
51. The human rights protection
machinery includes two national institutions which afford extrajudicial protection
of citizens' rights, namely the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of the
Oliy Majlis, and the National Centre for Human Rights of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
52. The Human Rights Commissioner
(Ombudsman) of the Oliy Majlis is an official who verifies that State authorities,
self-government authorities, public organizations and officials genuinely
comply with current human rights legislation. The work of the Human Rights
Commissioner is regulated by the special Human Rights Commissioner (Oliy Majlis)
Act of 24 April 1997 and a number of regulations: the Regulations on the Commissioner,
the Instruction on the Commissioner's work, and the Regulations on the Commissioner's
Secretariat. The Ombudsman is Chairman of the Commission reporting to the
Oliy Majlis on the observance of constitutionally-guaranteed human rights
and freedoms. The Commission was established pursuant to a decision of the
Oliy Majlis dated 6 May 1995.
53. For the purposes of parliamentary
scrutiny of compliance with human rights legislation, the Ombudsman is competent
to examine complaints by citizens regarding violations of their rights and
to prepare conclusions and recommendations on restoring the rights. In 1997
the Commissioner's Office handled 2,319 complaints, most of which were from
citizens living in Tashkent, Samarkand and Fergana wiloyats. The overwhelming
majority of complaints from citizens concerned the work of the courts and
the law-enforcement authorities. Complaints about the unlawful conduct of
law-enforcement officers increased particularly strongly in 1997. The Ombudsman's
Office received 231 such complaints in 1997, as against 533 in 1998. A study
of the complaints shows that the most common grievance is the use of physical
or mental violence by investigators during the investigation phase. For example,
K.A. Atamuradov (born 1944), a resident of Samarkand region who is currently
serving his sentence, sustained grievous bodily harm as a result of beatings
by internal affairs investigators, in consequence of which he lost his sight
and became a category-I invalid. The court paid no attention to this fact
during the trial, considering it immaterial. Similar complaints were received
in 1997 from N.I. Alyarov (resident of Zangiatin district, Tashkent region),
T. Ismailov (Khorezm wiloyat), G. Kolesova (Tashkent), B. Avezov (Bukhara
wiloyat), and Z. Matyakubova (Samarkand). Many of the 533 complaints
received by the Ombudsman's Office in 1998 concerned unlawful conduct by law-enforcement
officers. Concealment of wrongdoing by officers of the internal affairs authorities
is also ignored. For example, A. Ergashev, a resident of Bagdad district,
Fergana wiloyat, complained to the Ombudsman's Office that no action
had been taken with regard to his allegations of maladministration by senior
officials in the district internal affairs department. In Surkhan-Darya wiloyat,
T. Todzhiev, the deputy chief of the internal affairs department, inflicted
grievous bodily harm on one B. Rakhimov, yet the latter's subsequent complaint
54. An analysis of the complaints
reaching the Commissioner from the public indicates that the root causes of
violations of citizens' rights are poor training and a contempt for legal
procedure, endemic bureaucracy in the law-enforcement system, and peoples'
ignorance of the law and of how to stand up for their rights.
55. The National Centre for Human
Rights was established pursuant to a Presidential decree issued on 31 October
1996. The Centre features two public "surgeries", one devoted to public relations
and the other to the rights of the child; both perform an advisory function.
Complaints are handled by experienced judges and lawyers. In the first nine
months of 1998, the National Centre received 161 complaints of human rights
violations committed by the law-enforcement authorities. Of these, 91 concerned
court verdicts, 34 concerned investigative irregularities committed by the
Procurator's Office, and 36 concerned the unlawful conduct of officers of
the internal affairs authorities. In each case, legal advice was given and
recommendations were sent to the relevant authorities.
56. Notwithstanding the efforts
that are being made to prevent abuses in the justice system, the law-enforcement
authorities are themselves reporting a number of problems. Similar violations
are also being flagged by a number of NGOs such as Amnesty International and
Human Rights Watch.
Punishment and sentencing under
57. Article 42 of the Uzbek Criminal
Code states that "punishment is a coercive measure applied by the State pursuant
to a court verdict against a person convicted of an offence, and consists
of the deprivation or limitation of certain rights and freedoms as provided
for by law". Punishment may take the form of: a fine; the deprivation of a
particular right; deduction from earnings at source; disbarment from holding
a certain rank, or docking of pay (in the armed services); short-term rigorous
imprisonment; assignment to a disciplinary unit (in the armed forces); deprivation
of liberty, or the death penalty (art. 43). There is no provision in Uzbek
law for corporal punishment.
58. Since Uzbek criminal law is
based on the principle of justice and other humanitarian precepts, the death
penalty is proscribed for women and for persons who committed a crime when
aged under 18 years.
59. Up to 29 August 1998, the
death penalty, as the supreme form of punishment, was sanctioned for offences
under article 97 of the Criminal Code (Premediated murder with aggravating
circumstances); article 118, paragraph 4 (Rape); article 119, paragraph 4
(Gratification of unnatural sexual desires by force); article 151 (Aggression);
article 152 (Breach of the laws and customs of war); article 153 (Genocide);
article 155 (Terrorism); article 157, paragraph 1 (Treason); article 158,
paragraph 1 (Attempts on the life of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan);
article 160, paragraph 1 (Espionage); article 242, paragraph 1 (Organization
of a criminal association); article 246, paragraph 2 (Smuggling); and article
272, paragraph 2 (Unlawful sale of narcotics or psychotropic substances).
As a result of the implementaiton of international legal standards through
domestic law and the vigorous rights campaigns of extrajudicial protection
bodies such as the National Centre for Human Rights, the Ombudsman and other
NGOs, the Oliy Majlis passed the Amendments and Addenda (Selected Statutes)
Act on 29 August 1998. This Act stipulates that the following five crimes
are no longer capital offences: gratification of unnatural sexual desires
by force (art. 119, para. 4); breach of the laws and customs of war (art.
152); attempts on the life of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
(art. 158, para. 1); organization of a criminal association (art. 242, para.
1); and smuggling (art. 246, para. 2).
60. The Government is making vigorous
efforts to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading forms of
treatment or punishment, in particular by establishing legislative, administrative
and judicial measures of protection.
61. The system of legal safeguards
comprises constitutional rules (arts. 18-46), and, in descending order of
precedence, the rules contained in the Criminal Code (1994), the Code of Criminal
Procedure (1994), the Administrative Liability Code (1994) and the Code for
the Execution of Criminal Penalties (1997). In addition to these codes, the
system of legal safeguards also comprises statutory norms contained in the
Citizens' Appeals Act, the Court Complaints (Actions and Decisions Violating
Citizens' Rights and Freedoms) Act, the Office of the Procurator Act, the
Courts Act, the Bar Act, and others. The system is supplemented by subsidiary
legislation such as presidential decrees and orders (for example, the Presidential
Order of 10 October 1998 on the establishment of commissions to evaluate the
work of senior officials in the internal affairs authorities) and decisions
of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan sitting in plenary session
(for example, Plenary Decision No. 2 of 2 May 1997 on court judgements and
Plenary Decision No. 12 of 2 August 1997 on observance by the courts of procedural
law in criminal proceedings at first instance). There is also a corpus of
departmental regulations, such as those of the Ministry of Internal Affairs,
the National Security Service, and the Procurator's Office. Departmental regulations
of this kind include Order No. 6 of the Procurator-General dated 13 July 1993
on enhancing the effectiveness of procuratorial supervision of compliance
with the law in places of pre-trial detention, or of the serving of sentences
pursuant to a court judgement and other coercive measures, Directive No. 44
of the Ministry of Internal Affairs dated 18 February 1996, and several others.
62. The Government is working
hard to preserve and adhere to the principle of the rule of law in the justice
63. It is the duty of the Procurator's
Office to provide special protection for the rights of persons in the criminal
justice system. The legal status of the Procurator's Office and its duties
and powers are laid down in the Constitution and the relevant statutes. The
law regulates the legal relations between the Procurator-General and the procurators
working under him. The latter secure, through supervision, observance of the
rule of law by all State institutions regardless of their position in the
hierarchy and their form of ownership and by military units, public associations,
officials and citizens. The Procurator's Office has two special departments,
one to supervise law enforcement by authorities involved in crime control,
and another to supervise law enforcement in facilities housing persons in
pre-trial detention, convicted offenders or persons subject by order of a
court to some other coercive measure.
64. Uzbekistan's law-enforcement
authorities are aware of their international responsibility to comply with
the human rights agreements that have been ratified, and they are attempting
to pursue a coordinated policy in this field. Specifically, at the suggestion
of the Procurator's Office, on 17 April 1997 the heads of law-enforcement
authorities (the Procurator's Office, the Supreme Court, the National Security
Service, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the
State Customs and Taxation Committees), on the one hand, and the Ombudsman,
the National Centre for Human Rights and the Makhallya charitable foundation,
on the other, formed a Coordinating Council of Law-Enforcement Authorities.
One of the Council's principal objectives is to effect a radical transformation
as regards violations of international and national human rights standards
in the sphere of human rights protection, preliminary investigations and initial
inquiries, the judicial system, and punishment.
65. Since the bulk of offences
occur in the work of the internal affairs authorities, owing mainly to the
low level of legal and general knowledge among senior personnel and poor theoretical
training, the Government is attempting to weed out incompetent officers guilty
of irregularities in their dealings with persons in the criminal justice system.
This is attested to by the Presidential Order of 10 October 1998 on the establishment
of commissions to evaluate the work of senior officials in the internal affairs
authorities, which states that "despite cooperation between officers of the
internal affairs authorities and those of other law-enforcement authorities,
the incidence of criminal practices in the Uzbek internal affairs authorities
has not decreased. Abuse of authority, action ultra vires, an unacceptable
attitude to members of the public and other shortcomings have all been observed".
In order to eliminate these problems and weed out undesirable officials, the
decision has been taken to conduct evaluations of senior officers every three
66. Despite unceasing efforts
on the part of the Government, senior management of law-enforcement authorities
and a number of NGOs to improve the country's legislation and align it with
international standards in this area, significant problems remain, the most
- Conditions of detention for
persons in pre-trial detention or convicted offenders do not meet modern standards
(violations of sanitary and hygiene standards, improper conduct and poor training
of prison officers, corruption, etc.);
- Verification of observance
of the rule of law in pre-trial detention facilities and prisons is performed
by a limited number of inspectors reporting to the Ministry of Internal Affairs
or the Procurator's Office; most inspections are superficial and routine;
- All information concerning
penal institutions (number of institutions, prison population, number of deaths
in the system, prevalence of sickness and injury, cases of torture or degrading
treatment, and other related information) is classified as secret by the Ministry
of Internal Affairs;
- The law makes no provision
for public oversight of penal institutions, or for public or community involvement
in the rehabilitation of offenders;
- Notwithstanding certain regulations
prescribing compensation for the victims of unlawful acts (article 235 of
the Code of Criminal Procedure), national legislation is largely silent on
the procedure for awarding compensation (either material or moral) to persons
who have been subjected to torture or degrading treatment;
- During a pre-trial investigation,
counsel must obtain the investigating officer's permission to visit a suspect
or person charged with an offence. This contravenes the rules laid down in
the Uzbek Code of Criminal Procedure. This situation enables the investigating
officer to manipulate the testimony of the suspect or accused, and also the
actions of counsel. A suspect or accused who is being subjected to psychological
or physical pressure is, in practice, deprived of the opportunity to inform
his counsel of this fact at the appropriate time.
67. The institutional mechanism
for the protection of human rights in the criminal justice system comprises
the courts, the Procurator's Office, the internal affairs authorities, the
judicial system and the bar.
68. The competence of the courts
in this field is established by the Courts Act of 2 September 1993. Article
4 of this Act states that "the courts of the Republic of Uzbekistan are intended
to guarantee the observance of citizens' rights and freedoms proclaimed by
the Constitution and other statutes of the Republic of Uzbekistan and international
human rights covenants". The work of the courts is based on the universal
principles of justice enshrined in the law, namely the administration of justice
by the courts alone, equality before the law, openness of court proceedings,
and the right to legal defence. Article 9, paragraph 3, of the Act is more
specific: "No one may be subjected to torture, violence, or other cruel and
69. In addition to providing direct
protection to defendants in criminal proceedings, the courts play an active
role in preventing torture and cruel or inhuman treatment during pre-trial
investigations and court hearings. One aspect of this work includes the judicial
interpretation of individual rules of criminal procedure. According to the
rules of Uzbek criminal-procedure law, "persons conducting an initial inquiry
or a pre-trial investigation, as well as procurators and judges, must ensure
that information uncovered during the investigation or judicial proceedings
concerning the private life of a suspect, person charged with an offence,
defendant, victim or other person is not divulged. Accordingly, restrictions
shall be placed on the number of participants in investigative or judicial
proceedings during which information of this nature may be revealed and such
persons shall be cautioned, on pain of criminal liability, against divulging
70. Law-enforcement officers may
be held criminally liable for breaches of these rules. Furthermore, according
to the Supreme Court's plenary Court Decision No. 2 of 2 May 1997 on court
judgements (para. 6), "... any evidence obtained unlawfully shall be devoid
of evidential value and cannot form the basis of a judgement".
71. By "evidence obtained unlawfully"
is meant evidence obtained through the use of unlawful investigative methods
or under mental or physical duress, or in violation of other rules of criminal
procedure (for example, the right to legal defence). Where evidence is found
to have been obtained unlawfully, the court must substantiate its decision
to exclude it from the body of evidence in the case by indicating the precise
nature of the fault. A substantiated finding by a court that the sum of evidence
is inadequate, that evidence is inadmissible because it was obtained unlawfully,
or that doubts that a defendant is guilty as charged cannot be dispelled shall
be grounds for a judgement of acquittal. Article 17 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure provides that courts may not mention in their judgements information
that might humiliate or degrade a person, lead to the dissemination of details
of his private life or cause him mental suffering, if that information has
no bearing on the evidence in the case.
72. The rules governing expulsion,
return and extradition, especially of Uzbek citizens, are to be found in a
number of regulatory instruments, primarily the Citizenship Act, the Criminal
Code and the provisions of various bilateral and multilateral agreements to
which Uzbekistan is a party. Article 8 of the Citizenship Act states that
"the Republic of Uzbekistan shall afford assistance and protection to Uzbek
citizens outside the territory of Uzbekistan". An Uzbek citizen may not be
extradited to a foreign State unless otherwise provided in an international
treaty to which Uzbekistan is a party.
73. Articles 11 and 12 of the
Criminal Code define the territorial scope of the criminal law by stating
that anyone who has committed an offence in the territory of Uzbekistan will
be liable under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Questions
of the liability of aliens who, under current law or international treaties
or agreements, are not subject to the jurisdiction of Uzbek courts for crimes
committed in Uzbekistan, are resolved on the basis of the rules of international
74. Generally speaking, questions
of the extradition, expulsion or return of persons in whose regard there are
substantial grounds for believing that they would be in danger of being subjected
to torture are regulated by bilateral agreements (primarily treaties on judicial
assistance and legal relations in civil, family and criminal cases). Uzbekistan
has concluded such agreements with a number of States, including all the countries
of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
75. The above relations are usually
governed by model rules under the heading "Extraditable offences", on the
1. The contracting parties undertake,
in accordance with the provisions of the treaty (on judicial assistance and
legal relations in civil, family and criminal cases), reciprocally to extradite
upon request, for the purposes of criminal prosecution or enforcement of a
court judgement, persons present in their respective territories.
2. Extradition is possible for
acts which are offences under the law of both contracting parties, and for
which the prescribed penalty is deprivation of liberty for more than one year
or more serious punishment.
76. Extradition for the purpose
of enforcing a court judgement is possible when the person in question has
been sentenced to more than six months' deprivation of liberty or to more
77. Extradition may be refused
(a) The person whose extradition
has been requested is a citizen of the requested contracting party or has
been granted the right of asylum in that State;
(b) The law of the contracting
parties provides that criminal proceedings may only be initiated pursuant
to a personal complaint by the victim;
(c) At the time the request is
received, prosecution under the law of the requested contracting party or
enforcement of a court judgement is time-barred or precluded for some other
(d) A legally enforceable ruling
or decision to halt proceedings against the person whose extradition has been
requested has been handed down in the territory of the requested contracting
party in respect of the same offence.
An extradition request may also
be refused if the offence to which it refers was committed in the territory
of the requested contracting party.
78. Upon refusal of an extradition
request, the requested contracting party must notify the requesting contracting
party of the grounds for refusal.
79. Uzbek law does not contain
any specific rules prohibiting expulsion, return or extradition of a person
to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he
would be in danger of being subjected to torture; there are only referential
rules to the effect that the principle of the primacy of international law
applies in such cases.
80. Uzbek criminal law stipulates
that law-enforcement officers shall be liable for acts of torture or cruel
or inhuman treatment and punishment. The basic principles of the Uzbek Criminal
Code prohibit torture and cruel treatment of suspects. This is evidenced by
the principles articulated in articles 1-10 of the Criminal Code, which stipulate
that the criminality, punishability and other legal consequences of acts shall
be defined by the Criminal Code alone.
81. Punishment and other legal
sanctions are not intended to cause physical suffering or to degrade people.
Rigorous penalties are prescribed only when the ends of punishment cannot
be served by more moderate measures. Punishment or other legal sanctions against
a convicted offender must be fair and commensurate with the gravity of the
offence, the degree of fault and the risk which the individual poses to society.
82. As well as being outlawed
by general principles of justice, torture and cruel treatment are also proscribed
by a special section of the Criminal Code, namely chapter XVI, articles 230-241,
entitled "Offences against justice". In order to address the problem of criminal
prosecutions of persons known to be innocent, articles 230-236 of the Code
make it a criminal offence for judicial officers to prosecute for a socially
dangerous act a person known to be innocent, to bring in an unjust verdict,
to fail to enforce a judicial decision, or unlawfully to detain a person or
remand him in custody. Articles 234 and 235 provide for criminal liability
for knowingly unlawful detention, i.e. restricting of a person's liberty for
a short period, and for coercion to testify, i.e. mental or physical pressuring
of a suspect, accused person, witness, victim or expert by means of threats,
blows, beatings, systematic or brutal violence, tormenting, the causing of
actual or moderate bodily harm, or other unlawful acts. In both cases, criminal
liability ranging from a fine to eight years' deprivation of liberty is prescribed
for special categories of persons, namely law-enforcement officers (persons
carrying out an initial inquiry or pre-trial investigation and procurators).
83. The Code of Criminal Procedure
also contains safeguards against torture and cruel treatment of suspects.
These are to be found in the rules and principles of the criminal justice
system, specifically articles 11-27 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The
special rule contained in article 17 states that: "Judges, procurators, and
persons carrying out initial inquiries or pre-trial investigations are under
an obligation to respect the honour and dignity of persons involved in a case".
Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the same article state that "no one shall be subjected
to torture, violence or other cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment".
84. It is prohibited to perform
acts or hand down judgements which humiliate or demean a person, will lead
to the dissemination of details of his private life, thereby endangering the
person's health, or cause unjustified physical or mental suffering.
85. The Code establishes the competence
of each of the authorities conducting initial inquiries or other criminal
investigations, defines the legal status of all persons involved in criminal
proceedings (especially suspects, detainees, persons charged with an offence
and persons standing trial), and also the procedures and details pertaining
to preventive measures and the stages of the investigative process. At no
stage of criminal proceedings may action, however necessary, depart from the
law. Specifically, article 81 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that
"criminal evidence means any factual information on the basis of which an
authority carrying out an initial inquiry or pre-trial investigation or a
court may lawfully establish the existence or non-existence of a socially
dangerous act, the guilt of the person who committed the act, and other facts
of importance for the proper disposal of a case".
86. Evidence consists of the testimony
of witnesses, victims, suspects, persons charged with an offence, or persons
standing trial; the conclusions of experts; material evidence; sound, video
or film recordings; the reports of investigating or judicial authorities;
and any other documents. According to article 88 of the Code of Criminal Procedure:
"In obtaining evidence, it is
87. Neither persons conducting
an initial inquiry or pre-trial investigation, procurators, nor judges or
other persons involved in a case as specialists or experts, with the exception
of physicians, may be present during body searches of persons of the opposite
sex performed in the course of investigative or judicial proceedings.
88. Under Uzbek criminal law,
it is an offence for law-enforcement officers to have recourse to torture
or cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment.
Establishment under Uzbek law
of appropriate punishment for torture and degrading treatment
89. Uzbek law provides that persons
carrying out initial inquiries or pre-trial investigations and procurators
who knowingly cause an innocent person to be prosecuted for a socially dangerous
act will be punishable by deprivation of liberty for up to five years. If
the prosecution brought in such circumstances is for a serious or particularly
serious socially dangerous act, the offending official is punishable by deprivation
of liberty for between five and eight years (Criminal Code, art. 230).
90. The issuance of an unlawful
judgement, decision, ruling or order is punishable by deprivation of liberty
for up to five years. Should such an offence result in someone's death or
other serious consequences, it is punishable by deprivation of liberty for
between 5 and 10 years (ibid., art. 231).
91. Knowingly unlawful short-term
detention, i.e. restriction of a person's liberty, by a person conducting
an initial inquiry or a pre-trial investigation or a procurator is punishable
by a fine of up to 50 times the minimum wage or by rigorous imprisonment for
up to six months. Knowingly unlawful remand in custody is punishable by a
fine of from 50 to 100 times the minimum wage or by deprivation of liberty
for up to three years (ibid., art. 234).
92. Coercion to testify, i.e.
the mental or physical pressuring by a person carrying out an initial inquiry
or preliminary investigation or a procurator of a suspect, accused person,
witness, victim or expert by means of threats, blows, beatings, systematic
or brutal violence, tormenting, the causing of actual or moderate bodily harm
or other unlawful acts with a view to compelling the giving of evidence is
punishable by rigorous imprisonment for up to six months or by deprivation
of liberty for up to five years. When such action results in serious consequences,
it is punishable by deprivation of liberty for between five and eight years
(ibid. art. 235).
93. Criminal law defines Uzbekistan's
jurisdiction with respect to all types of crime, whether committed inside
or outside the country. Article 11 of the Criminal Code states that the Code
shall be applicable to persons who commit a crime within the territory of
Uzbekistan. A crime committed within the territory of Uzbekistan is an act
"When a crime is committed
on an aircraft or a sea-going or inland waterway craft that is outside
the borders of Uzbekistan but not within the territory of another State,
liability shall arise in accordance with the present Code if the said
craft is under the flag of, or registered in Uzbekistan."
94. Article 12 of the Criminal
Code defines the applicability of criminal law to persons who commit crimes
95. Citizens of Uzbekistan may
not be extradited for crimes committed in the territory of other States unless
international agreements or treaties provide otherwise.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES AGAINST PERSONS SUSPECTED OF HAVING COMMITTED
UNLAWFUL ACTS (TORTURE OR DEGRADING TREATMENT) (art. 6)
96. Following study of the question,
legal experts have concluded that a number of recommendations set out below
would help to make Uzbek criminal law a better coordinated and more effective
instrument for implementing the Convention. The Convention provides that "'torture'
means any act by which [...] pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,
is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from
him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act
he or a third person has committed [...] or for any reason based on discrimination
of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation
of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person
acting in an official capacity", and the acts enumerated in article 235 of
the Criminal Code with reference to coercion to testify are nothing other
97. It is felt that persons who
commit torture should, inter alia, be liable to deprivation of liberty
for between 3 and 10 years. Torture that has serious consequences should be
punishable by deprivation of liberty for between 8 and 15 years. Torture of
a woman or a minor should be punishable by deprivation of liberty for between
5 and 10 years or, if it has serious consequences, by deprivation of liberty
for between 10 and 20 years or, in exceptional circumstances, by death.
98. Provision should also be made
for liability for provocative behaviour during pre-trial investigations, initial
inquiries and judicial proceedings. This would require the addition to the
chapter of the Criminal Code entitled "Offences against justice" of an article
reading as follows:
99. Persons suspected of torture,
inhuman treatment or the like may be remanded in custody or subjected to other
preventive measures in accordance with the general rules for criminal proceedings,
particularly section 4, "Coercion in criminal proceedings", which defines
the grounds for, and limits on restriction of individuals' rights in criminal
100. Article 213 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure sets out the grounds for the use of coercive measures in
101. Safeguards concerning the
use of these measures are found in the Code of Criminal Procedure:
(a) Firstly, coercive measures
may only be applied when grounds therefor genuinely exist (ibid., art. 214);
(b) Second, they must be applied
in full and strict accordance with the law (ibid., art. 214);
(c) Third, they may only be applied
by a person carrying out an initial inquiry or pre-trial investigation in
circumstances where they are lawful and justified. Article 215 of the Code
of Criminal Procedure regulates the treatment of detainees being held in custody
or placed in a medical institution. Article 216 sets out the rights and obligations
of the authorities in places of execution of coercive measures.
102. Persons carrying out an initial
inquiry or pre-trial investigation, procurators and courts are, in the circumstances
and according to the procedure laid down in the Criminal Code, entitled to
apply coercive measures if a party to criminal proceedings impedes investigatory
or judicial action or fails to discharge obligations, or if such application
is necessary to prevent further criminal activity by a suspect or accused
person or to ensure execution of a sentence.
103. Detainees being held in custody
or placed in a medical institution for the purposes of examination have, subject
to the restrictions deriving from the conditions set for their confinement,
the rights and obligations laid down by law. Inhuman treatment of detainees
being held in custody or placed in a medical institution is prohibited. Such
persons must be given the opportunity of private meetings with their counsel
and of access to legal information, paper and office supplies for the writing
of complaints, petitions and other procedural documents.
104. The authorities in places
of execution of coercive measures have rights and duties as defined in article
216 of the Code of Criminal Procedure:
"They must also:
105. In cases where the competent
Uzbek authorities receive information to the effect that someone has been
found guilty of torture or degrading treatment but has not paid the corresponding
penalty, the question to which jurisdiction the person is subject will, generally
speaking, depend on articles 11 and 12 of Uzbekistan's Code of Criminal Procedure.
106. Questions of the liability
of aliens who, under current law or international treaties or agreements,
are not subject to the jurisdiction of Uzbek courts for crimes committed in
Uzbekistan are resolved on the basis of the rules of international law. Aliens
and stateless persons not permanently resident in Uzbekistan can only be held
liable under the Uzbek Criminal Code for crimes committed outside Uzbekistan
when international treaties or agreements so provide.
107. When proceedings are opened
against persons accused or suspected of torture or degrading treatment, the
law-enforcement organs act in accordance with the general principles laid
down in the Uzbek Code of Criminal Procedure. The investigation will be conducted
in exactly the same way as for any other offence. The law guarantees fair
treatment at all stages of the hearing of the case for everyone brought to
trial for any of the crimes referred to in article 4 of the Convention. This
is evidenced by, for example, articles 11-24 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
and by article 16, which provides that in criminal cases justice shall be
administered on the basis of citizens' equality before the law and the courts
irrespective of their sex, race, nationality, language, religion, social origin,
beliefs or personal or social status.
108. In its application of international
rules, Uzbekistan strictly adheres to their underlying principles, an approach
that is inherent in the structure of the State and in Uzbek law. In Uzbekistan,
failure at any level to comply with the rules of law is unacceptable. Persons
who have broken the law and infringed citizens' honour or dignity must be
punished, no matter where the offence occurred.
109. On 6 March 1998, in Moscow,
CIS countries signed the Convention on the Transfer of Convicted Persons to
Deprivation of Liberty for the Further Serving of Sentences. Uzbekistan is
not a party to this instrument.
110. Uzbekistan, having become
a full member of the international community and a party to a number of conventions
in the sphere of international humanitarian law, is committed to the full
observance of human and citizens' rights and freedoms. Almost all the country's
statutory instruments are based on the principle of the primacy of international
law over domestic law, and that is reflected in the instruments themselves.
111. In addition, Uzbekistan has
been a member of INTERPOL since November 1994. The National Central Bureau
for INTERPOL was established by the Cabinet of Ministers' Decision No. 573,
dated 29 November 1994 and is charged with actively assisting in the prosecution
of anyone who has committed a criminal offence, including persons guilty of
torture or other degrading treatment. This has given the Uzbek law-enforcement
agencies access to the resources of other countries' National Central Bureaux
and the INTERPOL General Secretariat for the purposes of preventing and suppressing
112. Uzbekistan has also established
the legislation necessary for securing effective cooperation between law-enforcement
agencies. On 28 September 1995, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued Order
No. 287 on Procedure for Interaction between the National Central Bureau for
INTERPOL and the Information Centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and
on 23 November 1995 it issued Order No. 323 on Approval of the Instructions
concerning Procedure for Fulfilment by Internal Affairs Agencies of the Republic
of Uzbekistan of Requests and Mandates relating to INTERPOL.
113. In addition to the above
Instructions, instructions have been drawn up on interaction between the National
Central Bureau for INTERPOL and other law-enforcement agencies and on the
processing of information (recording, registration, storage and use), including
by computer, in the National Central Bureau.
114. Working arrangements are
in place for interaction on the main aspects of the National Central Bureau's
activities with the relevant departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs,
principally: the Chief Directorate for Criminal Investigations (concerning
international investigations); the chief directorates for combating corruption,
racketeering and terrorism (concerning the said aspects of white-collar crime);
the Directorate of Entry, Exit and Citizenship's Information Centre; the Organization
and Inspection Directorate; the Directorate of State Motor Vehicle Inspection;
and the Directorate of the Prophylaxis Service. Arrangements also exist for
cooperation between subdivisions of the Procurator's Office, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, the CIS and other interested ministries and government
departments. There are exchanges of business correspondence and information
of mutual interest with all these entities.
115. The National Central Bureau
for INTERPOL comprises a director, a secretariat, a finance section, two departments
(the head of one of which also serves as deputy director of the Bureau), a
computer and equipment unit and communications officers from the Ministry
of Internal Affairs and the Internal Affairs Directorate.
116. Uzbekistan's National Programme
of Action on Human Rights, which includes a National Plan of Action and recommendations
concerning all aspects of the protection of human rights, was implemented
actively in 1998. The National Programme of Action is aimed at: the gradual
assimilation of international experience with promoting a legal culture, while
taking account of the historical particularities that have determined Uzbekistan's
own path of development; surmounting the problems of the post-totalitarian
period, and devising a special strategy and instituting carefully planned
and clearly formulated measures for the protection of human rights in Uzbekistan.
117. The conceptual framework
of the National Programme of Action is shaped by the common principles for
the development of a global legal culture as set forth in the International
Bill of Human Rights. This incorporates the 1948 Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
the two Optional Protocols thereto, and also includes the Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
118. The National Programme of
Action contains the following recommendations to all authorities for bringing
national legislation into line with the rules of international law:
- Departmental regulations must
govern intra-organizational relations and technical matters, without impinging
upon citizens' rights and interests;
- Regulation of the machinery
for the realization of citizens' rights and interests must not limit the extent
of the realization of these rights as provided for by law;
- A comprehensive goal-oriented
review should be made of the statutory instruments of regional authorities
having a bearing on the securing of human rights in order to bring those instruments
into line with the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the international
treaties which have been ratified. Statutory instruments not meeting these
criteria should be repealed or revised. All statutory instruments relating
to constitutional rights and freedoms must be made publicly available in the
119. One of the priorities in
this area is to set up a multi-purpose system of legal education and awareness-raising
for the population.
120. The primary objective in
the reform of instruction concerning the law with reference to human rights
is to introduce such instruction on a wide scale, beginning literally at the
kindergarten stage, in the form of educational games, and continuing right
up to higher education, with the provision of training courses in human rights.
Particular attention needs to be given to national particularities in shaping
legal awareness and to the preparation of materials in Uzbek so that information
and educational activities can be conducted for broad segments of the population.
121. In order to prevent any action
ultra vires or any unwarranted or unlawful treatment of citizens and
detainees, considerable educational efforts are being pursued among employees
of the law-enforcement bodies, bearing in mind that they are responsible for
infringements of the law and of the principle of security of person.
122. Young people are increasingly
being targeted in the educational process because they are the ones who will
be carrying through the present reforms and will bear their full responsibility
for implementing the Government's programmes and for building a free, completely
literate, economically advanced and democratic society.
123. A priority in this area is
to take account of national particularities in shaping legal awareness and
to prepare materials in Uzbek to facilitate information and educational work
among the general public.
124. Pursuant to the decree issued
by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on 25 June 1997, a centre for
the advanced training of jurists has been established under the Ministry of
Justice and a centre for the dissemination of legal knowledge was set up at
the Tashkent State Law Institute. For the purpose of making various social
groups more familiar with the law, the Oliy Majlis in 1997 formulated and
adopted a national programme to enhance knowledge of the law in society. State
budget-funded centres for providing public information about the law have
been established to implement the programme in all regions of the Republic
of Uzbekistan and in the Republic of Karakalpakstan. On 29 May 1998 the Uzbek
Government adopted Decision No. 235 concerning measures to achieve the goals
set in the programme.
C. Human rights education
and training of officials in human rights
125. Great attention is paid to
human rights education in the Republic of Uzbekistan. Many problems in the
field of human rights are connected with the fact that the general public
and State employees are unfamiliar with the law. To remedy this situation,
practical steps have been taken to provide instruction in human rights.
126. New textbooks and teaching
aids on human rights have been prepared for higher, secondary and specialized
secondary educational establishments. The syllabuses of educational institutions
at all levels, and especially secondary schools, law schools and teacher-training
colleges, administration and management institutes, and educational establishments
of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National
Security Service include the topics of human rights, democracy and the rule
of law. Methodological recommendations on human rights education have been
drawn up for secondary school teachers and for staff teaching at higher and
specialized secondary educational establishments.
127. Analysis of the present situation
shows that the low standard of legal knowledge of State employees is having
a significant adverse effect on the law reform process in the Republic. There
is a particular need for extensive educational work with senior and middle-ranking
officials, where the stereotypes of the administrative command system are
128. In practice it is the actions
of the law-enforcement bodies which give rise to the most criticism from the
general public. At the initiative of the National Centre for Human Rights,
a department for teaching the theory and practice of human rights has been
established in the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and a special
handbook on human rights has been designed for law-enforcement officials.
129. The National Centre for Human
Rights and the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been instrumental
in the preparation of specialized programmes of legal training in human rights
and freedoms for local government officials, social workers, members of the
armed forces, staff of the law-enforcement bodies and penitentiary system,
and persons working in the fields of health care, education, etc. Human rights
information and education programmes have been prepared for members of the
Oliy Majlis and politicians. A series of seminars was held in September 1998
for this category of public servants.
130. A scientific and practical
conference to discuss the Code for the Execution of Criminal Penalties of
the Republic of Uzbekistan was held in mid-1998 at the centre for advanced
training of staff of the procurators' offices in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
131. Particular attention is given
to the publicizing and dissemination of information about human rights in
132. The Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993
calls upon States to ensure the broadest possible dissemination of information
about human rights. The Republic of Uzbekistan is firmly committed to radical
legal reform, and the population as a whole has to be the main participant
in it. To this end, a study has been made of the potential and experience
of international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations engaged
in human rights information and education activities.
133. A cycle of popular human
rights information broadcasts on State radio and television in Russian and
Uzbek has been prepared for various social and age groups.
134. The President of the Constitutional
Court, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis, the Director of the
National Centre for Human Rights and directors of other institutions concerned
with the protection of human rights in the Republic regularly address the
public in the mass media. In their addresses, they deal with topical human
rights issues and answer questions from the general public.
135. Issues relating to the protection
of human and citizens' rights are also covered regularly in more than 30 legal
journals and newspapers. One such newspaper, called "Time Watch", is circulated
especially for persons serving custodial sentences.
136. National and international
human rights organizations hold regular lectures, seminars and round-table
discussions on human rights in various districts and regions. A cycle of lectures
and seminars on human rights for persons working in the courts, procurators'
offices and law-enforcement bodies in three administrative regions of the
Republic was completed in September 1998. The cycle was organized jointly
with UNDP, OSCE, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the National Centre for
Human Rights. The National Centre, in cooperation with the UNDP project for
the democratization of human rights and good governance, regularly holds seminars
on human rights, including international standards and their implementation
in Uzbekistan, for staff of the law-enforcement bodies. Particular reference
may also be made to the following events:
137. On 30 September 1998, at
the initiative of the National Centre for Human Rights, the Academy of the
Ministry of Internal Affairs held a conference and training session entitled
"International experience and problems relating to the protection of victims'
rights" for senior Ministry of Internal Affairs and prison administration
officials. On 17 December 1998, a seminar on the "Legislative process and
human rights" was held at the National Centre itself.
138. Books and brochures devoted
to human rights have been prepared for mass circulation. To familiarize the
public with international human rights standards, in 1992 the "Adolat" publishing
house attached to the Ministry of Justice published in two languages (Uzbek
and Russian) the instruments constituting the International Bill of Human
Rights. Also, with financial support from the State Committee for the Administration
of State Property and Privatization, the "Shark" publishing house produced
in 1995 a series of books in six volumes entitled "Comparative Law Studies"
devoted to international and other human rights instruments. A book entitled
"Uzbekistan and international human rights treaties" has been produced in
a large print run at the initiative of the National Centre for Human Rights.
A six-volume series entitled "Constitutions of the World" has been produced
in a major print run by the "World of Economics and Law" publishing house.
139. In addition, the National
Centre for Human Rights, with the support of UNDP and UNHCR in Tashkent, issued
posters in 1997-1998 containing the texts of the principal human rights instruments,
including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These
posters are distributed to schools and higher educational institutions free
140. A special bulletin containing
information about the human rights situation in the Republic is being issued.
141. Since the greatest number
of infringements of the law are to be observed in the activities of the internal
affairs authorities, often because of the low standard of legal and general
knowledge and poor theoretical training of some officials, the Republic's
leadership is working to make sure that unqualified staff found to have committed
unlawful acts against people involved in law-enforcement proceedings are removed
from the internal affairs bodies. This may be illustrated by the Presidential
Order of 10 October 1998 on the establishment of commissions to evaluate the
work of senior officials in the internal affairs authorities of the Republic
142. Considerable efforts are
also being undertaken by the judicial bodies to ensure the uniform application
of the rules, instructions, methods and practices for conducting investigations
(including interrogations and arrangements for custody). This is exemplified
by Supreme Court Plenary Decision No. 12 of 2 August 1997 on observance by
the courts of procedural law in criminal proceedings at first instance.
143. In the context of the establishment
of a democratic rule-of-law State in Uzbekistan, particular importance attaches
to the strictest observance of the law and citizens' rights and to the issuance
of sound and fair judgements in keeping with all the rules of procedural law.
Most cases are considered by the Republic's courts in strict compliance with
procedural law, but serious shortcomings that adversely affect the quality
of the handling of cases still persist.
144. The adversarial principle
and the legally guaranteed rights of the parties to judicial proceedings are
not infrequently violated. Information about a defendant's character and circumstances
that might rule out a prosecution are not always properly studied at the preliminary
stage. There are cases of unjustified refusal to grant applications made by
parties to the proceedings. The procedure for considering applications is
itself also breached.
145. The records of court hearings
sometimes do not meet the established requirements.
146. To prevent such infringements
and ensure that procedural law is observed during judicial proceedings in
criminal cases, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, meeting in
plenary session, has drawn the attention of courts to the need for strict
observance of procedural law during the hearing of criminal cases, bearing
in mind that only precise and unswerving compliance with procedural law can
ensure that the circumstances of a case are comprehensively, thoroughly and
objectively examined, that the causes and circumstances contributing to the
commission of offences are ascertained and that action by the courts serves
the purpose of rehabilitation.
147. According to paragraph 3
of the above-mentioned decision, "the officer presiding at a court hearing
must fully inform the defendant of his rights, as well as explain to the parties,
experts and specialists their rights and duties in the proceedings, and this
must be duly reflected in the record of the hearing".
148. The Supreme Court determined
at its plenary session that "the attention of courts should be drawn to the
fact that, when considering each case, they must study the evidence directly
at the court hearing: question the defendants, victims and witnesses, hear
the findings of experts, examine the physical evidence and read out records
and other documents. Testimony by the defendant may be read out only under
the circumstances specified in article 104 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
which provides an exhaustive list of such circumstances. Statements made by
a witness or victim during a pre-trial investigation may be read out only
if there are substantial discrepancies between them and statements made in
court, or if the witness or victim is absent from the hearing owing to circumstances
which make it impossible for them to appear in court.
149. The attention of courts is
drawn in paragraph 8 of the decision to the fact that, in accordance with
articles 122-124 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a confrontation may be
held to ascertain the reasons for any serious discrepancies between the statements
made by two individuals during earlier questioning. The general rules for
questioning are to be observed in any such confrontation. No excerpts from
the written record of an interrogation or sound recordings of evidence given
by these persons when questioned earlier may be heard until their statements
during the confrontation have been taken down and entered in the record.
150. The plenary session drew
particular attention to the special arrangements for conducting an investigation
in respect of minors:
"When hearing cases in which the
defendants, victims or witnesses include minors, courts must take particular
care to meet the requirements of articles 84, 121 (3) and 442 of the Code
of Criminal Procedure." Since the disclosure of certain details of cases may
have an adverse effect on minors, courts must always consider whether minors
need to be present in the courtroom when such details are examined.
151. Particular attention was
devoted to the accurate reflection in the records of: applications filed by
parties to judicial proceedings and the consideration of such applications;
rulings issued by the court in a hearing without retiring to chambers for
deliberations; statements made by the defendant on the substance of the charge
brought against him and by witnesses or victims regarding the circumstances
of the case, and the process of examining the evidence.
152. The Supreme Court drew the
court's attention to the fact that, in accordance with paragraph 18 of its
Plenary Decision No. 41 of 20 December 1996 on the practice for applying laws
guaranteeing the right to defence, the presiding officer must, once judgement
has been passed, inform the defendant and the other parties of the content
of the judgement, of the procedure and time limit for appealing it, and of
their right to acquaint themselves with the record of the hearing. Where necessary,
the defendant must be informed of the content of the judgement in his mother
tongue or in a language he can understand through an interpreter. If a defendant
receives the death penalty, he must also be informed of his right to apply
153. In accordance with paragraph
16 of Plenary Decision No. 41 of 20 December 1996 and article 449 of the Code
of Criminal Procedure, the defendant must be allowed to take part in the pleadings
whether or not he has a lawyer.
154. The Supreme Court drew the
attention of presiding magistrates to the need for constant improvement of
their professional expertise, since their precise and unswerving fulfilment
of all the requirements of procedural law and their skilful, wise and tactful
guidance contribute greatly to the holding of a comprehensive, thorough and
objective inquiry into the circumstances of a case, to the establishment of
the truth and to ensuring that action by the courts serves the purpose of
155. The decision includes a recommendation
that, when considering cases on causational appeal or under the judicial review
procedure, the criminal division of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan,
the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, the Tashkent city and
regional courts and the Military Court of the Armed Forces of the Republic
of Uzbekistan should devote particular attention to compliance with criminal-procedure
law by courts of first instance and should systematically analyse errors in
the application of such law during court hearings of criminal cases, not disregarding
a single instance of infringement.
156. Ensuring special protection
of the rights of persons involved in criminal proceedings is the task of the
procurators' offices. The legal status of the procurator is defined in the
Constitution and in the Office of the Procurator Act of 9 December 1992, which
states as follows: "The Procurator-General of the Republic of Uzbekistan and
the procurators subordinate to him shall oversee the correct and uniform enforcement
of the laws by all ministries, State committees, departments, organs of State
control and regional chief administrators, as well as by institutions, enterprises
and organizations (whatever their superior authority, affiliation or form
of ownership) and by military units, social associations, officials and citizens."
Complementing its role of general supervision of law and order, the procurator's
office has two special departments - one to supervise law enforcement by authorities
involved in crime control, and another to supervise law enforcement in facilities
for persons being held in custody or pre-trial detention and for persons serving
sentences or subject to other coercive measures ordered by a court.
157. The first department is concerned
with supervising "law enforcement by authorities involved in crime control"
to ensure their compliance with the statutory procedure for considering and
dealing with statements and reports concerning offences, and the lawfulness
of decisions taken by them. Article 33 of the above-mentioned Act states that
"authority to approve citizens' remand in custody is vested in the Procurator-General
of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the procurators of the Republic of Karakalpakstan,
regional procurators, the procurators of the city of Tashkent and other equivalent
procurators or their deputies, as well as the procurators of towns, districts
and other equivalent procurators. Procurators and their deputies shall also,
within their respective spheres of competence, approve other actions restricting
citizens' constitutional rights as provided for in criminal-procedure law".
158. The second department supervises
law enforcement in facilities where liberty is restricted. In accordance with
article 44 of the same Act, this department supervises:
159. However, despite such arrangements
for supervising and monitoring the observance of human rights in the criminal
justice system, instances of improper, demeaning or degrading treatment or
punishment are still observed in the work of a number of law-enforcement bodies.
The procurator's office reports, for example, that in 1997 there were cases
of violations of the rights and legitimate interests of persons involved in
criminal proceedings, these being manifested in the form of unlawful arrest
or remand in custody, unsubstantiated prosecution, etc. Such infringements
of the law are also reported by a number of non-governmental organizations
(Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc.).
160. In accordance with the general
principles of the administration of justice, the use of torture and illegal
treatment is not permitted. Victims of torture may exercise their inalienable
rights under a whole range of laws and regulations, including the Criminal
Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Code for the Execution of Criminal
Penalties, the Citizens' Appeals Act No. 1064-XII of 6 May 1994, the Court
Complaints (Actions and Decisions Violating Citizens' Rights and Freedoms)
Act No. 108-I of 30 August 1995 and the Supreme Court Plenary Decision of
2 May 1997 on court judgements.
161. Article 1 of the above-mentioned
Act No. 108-I states: "Any citizen is entitled to bring a complaint before
a court of law if he considers that his rights and freedoms have been violated
by the unlawful actions or decisions of State bodies, enterprises, institutions,
organizations, social associations, self-governing bodies of citizens or officials."
Aliens can lodge a complaint with a court under the statutory procedure, unless
the international treaties and agreements of the Republic of Uzbekistan provide
162. Article 2 of the Act lists
the actions or decisions in respect of which complaints may be made to a court
163. Article 4 states: "A citizen
is entitled to file a complaint against actions or decisions that violate
his rights and freedoms either directly with a court or with the higher authority
or official concerned." Such higher authority or official must examine the
complaint within a period of one month. If the complaint is dismissed or if
the citizen receives no reply within a month from the date of its submission,
he is entitled to bring the complaint before a court. The complaint may be
submitted by the citizen whose rights and freedoms have been violated or by
his representative, or, at the citizen's request, by an authorized representative
of a social or workers' association. The complaint can be submitted, at the
citizen's discretion, either to a court having jurisdiction over the area
in which he lives or to a court having jurisdiction over the area containing
the authority, or the place of work of the official against whose actions
or decisions the complaint is being made.
164. A member of the armed forces
is entitled, under the procedure provided for in this article, to complain
about actions or decisions of the military administrative bodies or military
officials that violate his rights and freedoms to a military court, as well
as to a higher-ranking official.
165. The Act defines the actions
of the court with regard to a complaint, including the time limit for taking
up the complaint, the procedure for its consideration and the types of decision
that may be taken on it.
166. Citizens' right of appeal
is exercised in accordance with the Citizens' Appeals Act, which in article
1 states that:
167. Citizens of the Republic
of Uzbekistan may file appeals on behalf of other persons or organizations.
Appeals may be individual or collective and are to be made orally or in writing
in the form of suggestions, applications or complaints.
168. Appeals by citizens may not
be considered under this Act if the Republic's legislation establishes another
procedure for their consideration.
169. Stateless persons have the
right of appeal under this Act. Appeals by citizens of foreign States are
considered in accordance with the procedure established by this Act unless
the international treaties and agreements of the Republic of Uzbekistan provide
other rules for their consideration.
170. Despite the existence of
laws regarding appeals and the procedure for filing complaints in a court
against unlawful actions by officials, there are instances in which some law-enforcement
bodies in practice ignore appeals by citizens or treat them in a purely formal
manner. Such instances also occur in the work of middle-ranking and higher
judicial bodies. To remedy this situation, the Supreme Court adopted a Plenary
Decision on 27 December 1998 concerning judicial practice when dealing with
cases involving the consideration of appeals and complaints by citizens.
171. While there are some general
rules (for example, in article 235 of the Code of Criminal Procedure), under
the heading "Compensation for injury caused by detention", the legislation
of the Republic of Uzbekistan does not contain any special provision for fair
and adequate compensation of victims of acts of torture or violence. Article
235 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that "injury caused to an individual
by unlawful detention shall be compensated in full if a judgement of acquittal
is subsequently rendered in respect of that person". At the same time, a number
of legislative instruments (Labour Code, Civil Code) provide for compensation
of material losses in certain instances. In most cases this involves reinstatement
in employment and payment of the average monthly wage or salary for the period
of absence from work; redress for any moral injury caused by unlawful acts
is considerably less common.
172. Supreme Court Plenary Decision
No. 2 of 2 May 1997 on court judgements states in paragraph 6 that "any evidence
obtained unlawfully shall be devoid of evidential value and cannot form the
basis of a judgement". Evidence obtained in an unlawful manner means evidence
obtained through the use of unlawful investigative methods, under mental or
physical duress or in violation of other rules of criminal procedure (for
example, the right to defence). Where evidence is found to have been obtained
unlawfully, the court must give the reasons for its decision to exclude it
from the body of evidence in the case, specifying in what way it was obtained
unlawfully. The court's reasoned decision concerning the inadequacy of the
assembled evidence, its lack of evidential value on account of having been
obtained unlawfully, or the impossibility of dispelling all doubt that a defendant
is guilty as charged constitutes grounds for rendering a judgement of acquittal.
173. As stipulated in article
17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court is not entitled to mention
in its judgement any information that would humiliate or degrade a person,
lead to the dissemination of details of his private life or cause him mental
suffering if that information has no bearing on the evidence in the case.
174. No disrespectful attitude
towards an individual is permissible in a society which has embarked upon
the path of democratic advancement. Disrespect and torture and other inhuman
or degrading treatment must be completely eradicated, especially in those
bodies which are responsible for observance of the law. The Convention clearly
indicates that States parties must comply strictly with its provisions.
175. However, society cannot merely
settle for what has already been achieved but must press on with the process
of democratization, and it must also recognize that for the time being there
is still a flawed system in the law-enforcement bodies that allows negative
phenomena to persist. Uzbekistan's entry into the world community entails
a responsibility to observe fundamental human rights and freedoms. A developed
democratic society will be achieved only when each person is respected as
an individual and all his rights are fully observed.
Director, National Centre for
Human Rights of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Chief, Human Rights Analysis and
Chief Consultant, Human Rights
Analysis and Research Department
1. Office of the President of
the Republic of Uzbekistan
2. Office of the Human Rights
Commissioner (Ombudsman) of the Oliy Majlis
3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Uzbekistan
4. Ministry of Justice of the
Republic of Uzbekistan
5. Ministry of Internal Affairs
of the Republic of Uzbekistan
6. Ministry of Macroeconomics
and Statistics of the Republic of Uzbekistan
7. Ministry of Defence of the
Republic of Uzbekistan
8. National Security Service
9. Supreme Court of the Republic
10. Office of the Procurator of
the Republic of Uzbekistan
11. Academy of the Ministry of
Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan
12. Institute of Strategic and
Interregional Studies reporting to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
13. Institute for Monitoring Current
Legislation reporting to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan