IDLO has actively supported a wide range of e-justice initiatives in the Kyrgyz Republic to improve the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the judiciary through digital technologies.
Among the least developed economies in Asia, Kyrgyzstan has been hampered by weak state institutions and a security environment that is not immune to ethnic tensions and social unrest. The judiciary, which had been hindered by political influence and corruption, is now undergoing a process of modernization, supported by IDLO.
Distance learning, an online library, mentorships for judges, comprehensive training of court chairpersons and regional schools – these represent only part of the plans to transform the Kyrgyz judiciary after exchanges with judicial institutions in Italy, Armenia and Ukraine.
Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are working together to increase the quality and effectiveness of court decision enforcement mechanisms, by adopting integrated technology solutions and enhancing mutual legal assistance in the search for debtors, their property and sources of income in the two countries.
A disagreement between Kyrgyz retail suppliers and a large supermarket chain could have led to protracted and costly litigation had the dispute not been settled thanks to a mediation procedure supported by IDLO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Judges in the Kyrgyz Republic are sharpening their media relations skills, thanks to a new training session conducted by the country's Supreme Court.
Running from 24 to 25 July, 2019, the training's objective was to increase the openness and transparency of the judicial system by strengthening the relationship between the judiciary and the press.
In recent years, the Kyrgyz Republic has adopted a new Criminal Code and reformed the Criminal Procedure Code with the stated aim to humanize the system of law enforcement in the country. The new Codes were developed by a group of dedicated technical experts that have subsequently supported the development of a training program aimed at building the capacity of all key stakeholders - judges, police, defense lawyers, and prosecutors - on the foundational understanding of the codes.
Until recently, court processes in the Kyrgyz Republic have not been automated. Manual or paper systems still are required and are the norm although automating all processes has started very actively. According the country’s National Target Program for Development of the Judiciary, automated information systems need to be expanded and rolled out to the whole judicial system, not only within all first instance courts, but also second and third instance courts.
The USAID-IDLO Trusted Judiciary program in the Kyrgyz Republic is set to achieve another success in promoting uniform judicial practices.
Even the best functioning courts, without effective mechanisms for ensuring compliance with their decisions, are in effect perceived as weak institutions, leading to an erosion of public confidence in the rule of law as a whole.
Kyrgyzstan’s new Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code are set to enter into force on January 1, 2019, with the aim of improving the system of law enforcement in the country. Specifically, the new Criminal Code seeks to reform criminal law, procedure and types of criminal punishment, promote the integration of the Code into security measures, institute probation, introduce mediation in criminal matters, and support new mechanisms and approaches for the social integration of persons convicted of criminal wrongdoing.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and in particular mediation, is well established in developed economies and becoming increasingly popular in transition countries. For any court system, mediation can substantially reduce caseload burdens, improve clearance rates, and raise efficiency in the administration of justice.
The Court Department under the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic currently lacks a managerial and institutional strategy necessary to address increasing commercial litigation turnover and legal preparedness among bailiffs, which undermines the credibility and functionality of the judicial system. Despite the progress achieved by the judicial system in improving its commercial law capacity, enforcement of judicial decisions remains a hindrance to an effective commercial dispute resolution framework.
The Kyrgyz judiciary is not favorably viewed by the public and, at the same time, the public is not well-informed about the functions and duties of the courts. To assist the judiciary in strengthening communications with the public, IDLO under the USAID-IDLO Judicial Strengthening Program, has been providing assistance in the development of a communications strategy for the judiciary and training of new press secretaries of local courts taking up their duties for the first time in the history of the Kyrgyz Republic.
IDLO has been working with the Kyrgyz Judiciary to support the establishment of a functional, credible and transparent legal system, since the adoption of the 2010 Constitution. Despite many positive developments, the rule of law sector has faced a number of problems – chief among them inadequate financing, which risks undermining judicial independence and makes access to justice a challenge, as well as transparency and accountability.
Funding and spending patterns of the General Procuracy of the Kyrgyz Republic (GP) have remained relatively invariable since Kyrgyzstan became an independent state in 1991. Stagnant funding has had negative implications for the GP, and the Prosecutors’ Training Center (PTC) requires support to train and retrain prosecutors in accordance with changing Kyrgyz legislation and international human rights standards. Additionally, gender inequalities within the GP remain a significant challenge.
Since Kyrgyzstan's independence in 1991, the country's Judiciary has suffered from financial shortfalls. This resulted in a lack of capacity to improve the quality of decision making and regularly update the level of judges' knowledge of current legislation. One particular area of importance for judicial training is commercial law, crucial for Kyrgyzstan in seeking to reduce corruption and spur economic development.
As in many transition countries, the Kyrgyz judicial system suffers from a low rate of court decision enforcement, with lengthy delays common, and a rate of successful enforcement estimated at only 30%. Moreover, significant challenges exist in relation to prevention and punishment of debtors who hide assets or evade court orders, and a lack of a database where bailiffs can easily obtain necessary information on debtors.
Following the April 2010 Revolution in the Kyrgyz Republic, an interim government came to power promising to end many of the injustices that had prompted the overthrow of the country’s previous two presidents. Many reforms carried out during the interim period were focused on improving the foundation and application of the rule of law. Despite initial steps made towards progress in this area, the political events of 2010, including ethnic violence, significantly undermined potential progress in the rule of law.
IDLO has partnered with UNICEF to study the factors which support or inhibit children’s equitable access to justice in post-communist societies. The nine-month research project in Albania, Montenegro, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan will conclude in 2014. It will provide greater insight into local realities, concerns and approaches, and make culturally appropriate, sustainable and effective recommendations for policy and programming.
The Bishkek Forum, held in the Kyrgyz capital in March 2013, was an international conference organized by IDLO to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and improve the administration of justice across much of the former Soviet space. The Forum drew chief justices from host nation Kyrgyzstan, neighbors Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, as well as regional superpower Russia, Georgia and Ukraine to discuss the effective and transparent management of courts.
IDLO has been working with the government of Kyrgyzstan to establish a functional, credible and transparent legal system since the adoption of the 2010 Constitution. Despite many positive developments over the last four years, the rule of law sector continues to face problems; inadequate financing risks undermining judicial independence and makes access to justice a challenge.
Amid pressure to clean up public life in Kyrgyzstan, IDLO has helped draft a bill on conflict of interest. The challenge was both practical and political: Kyrgyzstan is a relatively small country with strong rural traditions, large, close-knit families, and a well-established culture of favors. The new law would ban any payment from interested parties, either in money or in kind, as well as gifts. This includes property, foreign travel or invitations to banquets, shows and sporting events.