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April 05, 2007

Raising Awareness About Jury Trials in Kyrgyzstan


In Kyrgyzstan, where the Parliament is considering a draft law introducing jury trials in compliance with the new constitution, the Rule of Law Initiative has produced and has begun broadcasting a documentary and a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) intended to raise public awareness about the benefits of trial by jury, and to explain how the jury system can act to protect individual and human rights.

The current Kyrgyzstan trial system is a legacy from the Soviet period, in which all cases are decided by a judge without a jury, a system that enjoys little public confidence. By increasing public awareness of the jury trial system, the Rule of Law Initiative is enabling the citizens of Kyrgyzstan to help shape their emerging system of justice.

Featuring the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, among others, the documentary has been broadcast throughout the nation during prime-time, followed by a call-in show that has demonstrated a high degree of public interest in, and acceptance of, the concept of jury trials. The PSAs, appearing nationwide in both Kyrgyz and Russian immediately before the evening news, began running on March 6 and will run through May 5.

For more information, please contact Rule of Law Legal Specialist Kirk Portmann, at [email protected].