September 26, 2019
Uzbekistan faces crucial challenges for judicial independence, says UN human rights expert
Important steps have been taken in Uzbekistan to dismantle an authoritarian and centralist structure that has previously severely undermined the independence of justice, the function of lawyers and the rule of law, says visiting UN rights expert Diego Garcia-Sayán.
“I emphasise that this process is ongoing and that further improvements must be made. I have also perceived an openness to criticism and I welcome this approach,” said García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, presenting a preliminary statement at the end of his visit.
“Substantial threats against judicial independence and the rule of law remain,” he said, referring to the heavy and constant presence of the security services throughout society and Uzbekistan’s institutions. He was also concerned about broad powers that prosecutors retain in criminal proceedings, which limit the independence of judges to decide cases autonomously and in accordance with his or her conscience.
“The Government must now act urgently to sustain and complete the reform process and bring to an end those practices which currently affect access to justice and threaten efforts to achieve judicial independence.”