On September 22, 23 and 24, three sessions of the practical seminar ‘Usage of Provisions of UN Human Rights Conventions by National Courts in Court Decisions’ were attended by administrative, criminal and civil court judges from Tashkent City, the Tashkent region and the Syrdarya region. This seminar was organized by the ‘Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan’ project of USAID, the Supreme Court and UNDP, together with OSCE and the National Human Rights Center (NHRC).
In Uzbekistan and in all other countries, judges are active protectors of human rights. They are accountable to the people, and are required to maintain high levels of integrity under national and international law and ethical standards. Unfortunately, sometimes they are unable to fulfill this role, due to a lack of understanding of international human rights law and of how to apply it domestically.
These three sessions were important for the professional development of the attending judges, helping them form skills needed to implement provisions of UN conventions in their judicial acts, as well as attaining answers to questions that arise during their implementation.
Participating judges were familiarized with international standards for administering justice, and with the need to apply UN human rights conventions in their decisions. They were informed of the means used to apply the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture (CAT) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in court decisions, with consideration of international experience.
The training seminars were led by international human rights consultant Dr. Alexander Vashkevich, and member of the UN Committee against Torture Mr. George Tugushi. Specific group work sessions covered matters including unauthorized peaceful assemblies, extraditions of foreign citizens who have served criminal sentences, and gender discrimination.
In 2017 the ‘Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan’ project prepared the analytical report ‘Application of the norms of international conventions by the courts of the Republic of Uzbekistan’. Subsequently the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan ‘On the approval of the national strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on human rights’ dated June 22, 2020, made concrete the government’s intention to implement international standards in judicial processes.
The application of UN conventions should not be limited to citing provisions of international treaties in judicial acts. Rather the conventions should be a mechanism for identifying and addressing gaps in national legislation, and for ensuring these comply with generally-recognized principles and norms of international law.