On November 26, 2014, Kyrgyzstan’s national association of defense advocates, the Advocatura, conducted its founding congress in Bishkek. A total of 680 practicing criminal defense lawyers from across the country gathered to approve the structure and statutory documents of the Advocatura. The event was also attended by representatives from parliament, the President’s Office, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies.
The Advocatura adopted a charter, establishing itself as a self-governing professional association of defense advocates. Congress participants also elected a nine-member Board of Directors, a five-member Auditing Commission and a nine-member Ethics Commission, and adopted a Code of Professional Ethics for Advocates. The association is charged with ensuring professional development, enforcing professional ethics and serving as the criminal defense community’s voice in the national discourse on legal reform.
Supported by the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), the U.S. Agency for International Development, Soros Foundation, the German Development Organization—GIZ—and the United Nations Development Program and organized in collaboration with Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Justice, the congress was the culmination of nearly 10 years of work by ABA ROLI and the local advocates’ community to form a unified bar association for the nation’s criminal defense lawyers. A July 2014 Law on Advocatura cleared the path for the association’s establishment.
The charter the Advocatura adopted in November also calls for the establishment of nine regional advocaturas to further the professional development of advocates at the local level. The commissions the Advocatura set up at the congress have elected their respective chairs and deputy chairs and are working on a preliminary strategic plan for the association. The Advocatura was officially registered with the Kyrgyzstani Ministry of Justice on December 26.
To learn more about our work in Kyrgyzstan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].