A/HRC/44/47/Add.1: Visit to Uzbekistan - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges andlawyers*
20 April 2020
The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers undertook an official visit to Uzbekistan from 19 to 25 September 2019. The purpose of the visit was to assess the ongoing reform of the justice system initiated under the leadership of President Mirziyoyev.
The Special Rapporteur welcomes the progress made thus far by Uzbekistan in strengthening the independence of the judiciary and the free exercise of the legal profession. The establishment of the Supreme Judicial Council, the reorganization of the court system, the new procedures for the selection and appointment of candidates to judicial offices, and the enactment of various measures to improve judicial training and security of tenure could be regarded as positive steps towards the establishment of a truly independent and impartial justice system. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done to ensure that the judiciary is truly independent from other branches of the State, and that judges, prosecutors and lawyers are free to carry out their professional activities without any undue interference or pressure.
A number of interferences continue to undermine both the independence of the judiciary from other branches of Government (institutional independence) and the independence of individual judges to adjudicate the cases before them impartially and autonomously (personal independence). Prosecutors retain a prominent role in criminal proceedings, and the procedures for the appointment and dismissal of the ProsecutorGeneral do not provide sufficient guarantees to prevent undue political influence from the legislative and executive branches of power, raising considerable concerns as to the institutional independence of the whole prosecution service. The shortage of lawyers severely affects access to justice, especially outside Tashkent, and lawyers continue to encounter several obstacles in obtaining access to clients, in particular during pretrial detention.
The Special Rapporteur concludes the report by offering a number of recommendations aimed at further strengthening the independence of judges and prosecutors and the free exercise of the legal profession.
Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers