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May 01, 2008

Kyrgyzstan’s Lawyers and Judges Adjust to New Criminal Procedure Code

May 2008

In February 2008, ABA ROLI conducted a four-day training event at Hotel Raduga on Lake Issyk-kul, along with the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the US Department of Justice, and the Judicial Training Center of the Kyrgyz Republic. The training event focused on pre-trial detention procedures in criminal cases and was one of the first training events in Kyrgyzstan that ABA ROLI has participated in that included defense attorneys as well as judges and prosecutors as participants.

Approximately 100 participants from throughout northern Kyrgyzstan attended the event, which centered on issues raised by recent amendments to Kyrgyzstan’s Criminal Procedure Code. Under these new amendments, the power to issue arrest warrants—which since the Soviet era has belonged to prosecutors—now belongs to judges. Accordingly, criminal proceedings in Kyrgyzstan may now include pre-trial detention hearings, and for many of those attending the workshop, this was their introduction on how to conduct such a hearing. The defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges who participated in the training actively took part in a series of mock detention hearings, which were designed to prepare them for practicing under the new amendment, which complies with the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Several international experts from Russia, Germany and the United States participated in this training event, sharing experiences from their countries with local participants, and assisting them in the preparation for their mock detention hearings. Having judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys participate in this training together gave them an opportunity to trade roles during the mock detention hearings. According to the participants, this innovative training approach contributed greatly to the success of the event, and ABA ROLI will be conducting the same training in May, this time with participants from southern Kyrgyzstan.