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A report on the monitoring of Tajik criminal court practices by the Centre for Human Rights was presented in Dushanbe.
TAJIKISTAN – May 19 saw the presentation of the results of a report on the monitoring of criminal court practices in Tajikistan carried out by the NGO Centre for Human Rights (CHR) with financial support from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Taking part in the presentation were members of the country’s judiciary, lawyers’ groups and international and non-governmental organisations.
According to CHR head Nodira Abdulloeva, the think-tank has been systematically observing court proceedings in Tajikistan since 2005. She said that this year the NGO observed the investigation of 62 court cases in Dushanbe, the Sughd and Gorno-Badakhshan provinces, and the Vakhdat region. She commented that, “As part of the survey, the review group returned information on the accessibility of court buildings, the availability of information at the courts about their work, the condition of the courtrooms and degree to which they were technically equipped, and other unspecified issues.”
The research results showed that some courts do not comply with the legal requirement to guarantee the transparency of the legal process. According to CHR observers, their presence frequently put judges on their guard even when public access to court proceedings was not limited. Thus, at one case heard in public at the Khujand municipal court, the judge, having learned that observers were present, warned them that he was categorically opposed to the publication or distribution of any information obtained during the course of the proceedings.
Improvements are also needed when it comes to physical access to the courts. According to Tatyana Khatyukhina, a lawyer for the Khujand office of CHR, a turnstile was installed at the entrance to one court which made access difficult for the disabled, senior citizens and pregnant women. Khatyukhina notes that the absence of wheelchair access not only makes things difficult but is also degrading for the disabled, who have no alternative but to crawl to the judges’ rooms.
Recommendations for improvements in criminal court practices in Tajikistan have been developed based on the research results and will be made public by CHR.