September 30, 2016

Central Asian Legal Professionals Attend Training on Participation in Drug Related Criminal Cases

In September 2016, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) conducted the first of four joint trainings for 20 judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys on participation in drug related criminal cases in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The training  covered the protection of individual rights and how to ensure the principles of fair trial in drug related criminal cases. 

The joint trainings are an opportunity to discuss the most common errors and mistakes to avoid, as well as relevant laws to apply when investigating drug related crimes, and equip trainees with the skills, tools and knowledge to properly address and overcome procedural deficiencies during their everyday work. ABA ROLI is conducting similar joint trainings under this regional program in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well. The training also covered the protection of individual rights and how to ensure the principles of fair trial in drug related criminal cases. Bringing together participants from all sides of the legal system in these training sessions is crucial to having increased understanding of individuals’ roles that will enable judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to investigate and try cases in the most efficient and accurate manner.

The trainers learned of U.S. practices in emerging topics related to the prosecution of drug related crimes in August and shared this information with participants during the training. All main parties to the process – judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys – discussed issues related to common errors in case law analysis, reviewed court-monitoring results from ABA ROLI’s program and watched public videos of investigations that contained procedural violations to discuss how to avoid them in the future.

The participants appreciated the training and thought that it met their expectations and needs. As one participant said in an anonymous survey, “The training quite meaningfully revealed not only criminal and procedural improvements of the issues under discussion, but also revealed problematic issues and contradictions in the legislation.” Through the survey, seventy-nine percent of the participants noted that they will use the knowledge gained from the training often and 21 percent of them will use it on a daily basis.

ABA ROLI conducted the training as part of the regional Court Monitoring of Drug Related Criminal Cases program in Central Asia, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

To learn more about our work in Central Asia, please contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at