UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Europe and the CIS visits the Supreme Court of the Republic of UzbekistanMay 1, 2016
An official delegation consisting of UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Europe and the CIS Mr. Olivier Adam and UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan Mr. Stefan Priesner visited the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan to discuss the implementation progress of the joint project of the Supreme Court, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNDP “Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan”. The delegation was hosted by Mr. Kholmumin Yodgorov, Supreme Court judge, Head of the Judicial Collegium on Civil Cases.
The overarching goal of the “Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan” Project is to strengthen public access to and trust in Uzbekistan’s civil court system. To achieve this goal, the project provides support to the Supreme Court in improving public awareness raising capacity, enhancing the knowledge and technical skills of judges and court personnel, as well as development and introduction of information systems.
The project contributes to the implementation of a number of strategic frameworks. Primarily, it is the National Concept of further deepening the democratic reforms and establishing the civil society in the country, proclaimed by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2010, as well as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2016-2020, Outcome 8, stating that “by 2020, legal and judicial reforms further ensure strong protection of rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens”.
Over the course of the meeting, the representatives of the Supreme Court and UNDP highlighted the progress of the project across a wide array of initiatives. Mr. Olivier Adam, noted that “on the basis of excellent partnership with USAID, UNDP is proud to be supporting the Government of Uzbekistan in its effort to increase transparency, rule of law and specifically, access to justice, which is a very important element of the national priorities”.
The project is introducing the transparency and awareness mechanisms into the activity of courts. Particularly, with the support of the project, a number of public events and press-tours were held, raising the public awareness about the courts. Additionally, to enable the availability of information about the courts, the project supported the design and launch of the new official website of the Supreme Court in 2015. The newly launched website provides a number of informational and interactive services to the general public. Yet, the project designed Court User Satisfaction Survey as another openness mechanism, and is preparing to pilot it one the basis of one inter-district civil court of Tashkent city in the upcoming year.
In order to further strengthen the independence of judges and their public image, the project is improving the continuous education system of judges and judicial personnel as well as the existing capacity-building programs. To support this initiative, a number of professional manuals and handbooks were published mainstreaming a unified judicial practice.
Effective and mutually beneficial cooperation with Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan was highlighted as another achievement of the project. Besides harmonization of legislative acts, project also supported the piloting of audio-video recording of court proceedings in three economic courts. The introduction of the system will further improve accessibility and transparency of economic courts. Over 20 court hearings were recorded using this system. Additionally, it is planned to improve the mechanism of publication of depersonalized court decisions on the web-site and introduce blind case distribution.
Partners also highly evaluated the efforts of the project to optimize court administration through introduction of E-SUD national electronic justice system. Mr. Kholmumin Yodgorov, specifically underlined, the upscale of E-SUD e-justice system will allow citizens to file cases to courts at any convenient time and place, given access to Internet, as well as will grant access to a complete case file. The system will serve as a tool for timely and efficient resolution of disputes. Currently, the system is being scaled up to cover 8 interdistrict civil courts of Tashkent city and Tashkent region. Up to date, more than 76 thousand cases were filed using E-SUD e-justice system. In order to ensure sustainable functioning of the system, the project has been supporting the development of draft Laws and amendments to procedural legislation.
In the end of the meeting, the participants stressed, that the project is promoting technocratic approach by using ICT as a tool to further improve the civil justice system. Mr. Stefan Priesner, emphasized that “the project is extraordinarily successful project, where UN - Government cooperation is demonstrated in a very powerful way. UNDP together with the Supreme Court has piloted the electronic justice system, which is not the result in itself. The essence of development is that the Government is upscaling it on a national level, which shapes a strategic result”.