New Tajik criminal procedure code unconditionally supported by deputies

Deputies from Tajikistan’s lower House of Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a bill to introduce a new criminal procedure code.

Anna Malikova

2009-10-31

DUSHANBE — Deputies from Tajikistan’s lower House of Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a bill to introduce a new national criminal procedure code. The code currently in effect was passed in 1961 and is outdated.

The bill gives the courts broader powers. If approved by the upper House of Parliament and signed by the president, the courts will be responsible for issuing arrest warrants, search warrants, authorising the seizure of assets and bank accounts and wiretapping. The prosecutor general currently performs these functions, which has been criticised by experts. Legal expert Firuz Nidoyev said that courts, rather than prosecutors, issue arrest warrants elsewhere in the modern world.

“Here the prosecutor also oversees the courts, which contradicts the spirit of a legal, democratic state, which Tajikistan considers itself to be,” he said.

Kayum Yusufov, a lawyer, said the current criminal code does not ensure equal treatment under law and gives the prosecution certain advantages.

Justice Minister Bakhtiyor Khudoyorov stressed that a group that included members of the government, parliament and law enforcement bodies worked on the bill for two years. “International human rights conventions ratified by Tajikistan and the country’s constitution obliged us to develop new legislation,” he said.

Communist Party Chairman Shodi Shabdolov noted that the new code will be life-changing for all residents of Tajikistan. He called on deputies and reporters to conduct an extensive campaign to explain the essence and significance of the new code to the public.

Deputy Yusufdzhon Akhmedov said money should be found in the federal budget to print several thousand copies of the new criminal code and make it accessible to most citizens. The legislation is widely expected to be approved at all levels. Under that assumption, the lower House of Parliament voted unanimously to have the new code come into effect on April 1, 2010.

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