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Children still grow up separated from their families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Study Tour Sparks Improvements to Uzbekistan’s Justice for Children
UNICEF organized a study tour for national experts from Uzbekistan to travel to Switzerland and Germany between 5 and 9 June 2017. The delegation consisted of eight representatives from the legislative chamber of the parliament, the apparatus of the President, research centre under the Supreme Judicial Council, Supreme Court, prosecutor general’s office, Ministry of Interior and the Lawyers’ Training Centre of the Ministry of Justice.
The main objective of the study tour was to learn about legislation and practices to protect child victims and witnesses of crimes. The delegation considered diversionary measures and other alternatives for children in conflict with the law.
The members of the Uzbek delegation visited organizations working in the field of juvenile justice, such as the prosecutor’s office, children’s court, a victim support centre, juvenile justice house, mediation office, and a pre-trial detention facility for children. They also visited interview rooms to learn about the principles for interviewing children who are victims and witnesses.
The delegation discussed the juvenile justice systems and legislative frameworks with the Swiss and German specialists, who shared their experience. “Studying the experiences of Switzerland and Germany was very useful in terms of learning about specialization in dealing with cases of child victims and witnesses of crimes and children in conflict with the law,” said Dilshod Aripov, Deputy Chairperson of the Higher Judicial Council and Director of the Research Centre under the Supreme Judicial Council. “I think that the practices of both countries can be used for further improving legislation and practices in Uzbekistan in light of the current judicial and legal reform happening in the country,” he added.
Following the trip to Switzerland and Germany, the representatives of the agencies that took part in the study tour will form an inter-agency working group. The group will coordinate the introduction of a specialized approach to child victims and witnesses nationwide. In addition, the group will explore the options for diversionary measures and incarceration for children in conflict with the law.
The inter-agency working group will also focus on capacity building for legal professionals. In particular, pre-service and in-service training institutions will add specialized training programmes on child rights and justice. The group also aims to introduce a special training programme on the consideration of criminal cases involving children to the Lawyers’ Training Centre under the Ministry of Justice.
Specially equipped interview rooms for child victims and witnesses of crimes will be piloted in court systems. Based on the effective results of those rooms, the inter-agency working group will prepare a draft law with the relevant changes to criminal procedural legislation.
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