On June 13 President Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting with judges of various levels, which was devoted to the state of affairs in the judicial system, existing problems and challenges. The meeting was also attended by the heads of both chambers of the Oliy Majlis, the Prime Minister, heads of law enforcement bodies, while the chairman of the Jokargy Kenes of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, provincial governors, mayors of the city of Tashkent, cities and districts, heads of local law enforcement agencies, veterans, members of the public participated in the meeting in videoconference format.
"Justice from ancient times has been the pillar of peaceful and prosperous life of our people, a source of humanism. Amir Temur in the state affairs used the principle: "Strength is in Justice" and thus achieved peace and prosperity in the country. He once said – With justice the life will be a garden, without it the worst of hells. Now, the most important condition for building a legal democratic state and civil society is ensuring the rule of law and justice. In this process, the role and importance of the judicial system, an independent branch, is crucial, we are becoming even more aware of this truth in the process of current large-scale reforms which are aimed at elevating our country to a new level", - President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
He noted that many reforms have been undertaken in our country since obtaining independence, which were aimed at ensuring the independence of the judiciary and increasing its reputation, transforming it from a punitive body into an institution that protects human rights and freedoms.
In the Uzbekistan’s Development Strategy for 2017-2021, access to justice, independence of the judiciary, reliable protection of human rights and freedoms are set as priority areas for reforming the judicial and legal system. In order to implement the Strategy, 7 articles of Uzbekistan’s Constitution related to the judicial and legal sphere have been amended. A new body, Supreme Judicial Council has been formed to improve the system of selecting candidates and appointing judges, training the highly qualified judiciary corps.
The President added that an important practical step aimed at developing the judicial system was the merging of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Economic Court into the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as a single supreme body of the judiciary in the sphere of civil, criminal, administrative and economic legal proceedings, as well abolishing the practice of sending criminal cases to courts for additional investigation.
However, the President pointed to the need not to limit oneself with the achievements, but to apply a critical approach and effectively organize the activities of the judiciary and judges on the basis of concrete proposals and sound initiatives that put forward effective mechanisms and ways of solving important and urgent tasks. He added– “You should bear one important thing mind, it is up to us to solve all our problems, ensure progress in our country, it is wrong to think that somebody will come from the outside and will do it for us.”
The fact that recently a significant part of the complaints from citizens to the President's Virtual Reception concerns the activities of courts and judges is the evidence of the existence of many problems in this area, the Head of our state said.
“The newly created Judicial Council was created with a concrete aim, now there won’t be a formality approach, we will go to the very end in reforming our judicial system, we will amend the Constitution if necessary, people should be satisfied with the judiciary, and this is your duty” - Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
He added – “Our main goal is to strengthen the people's trust in the judicial system by protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens, turning the courts into a true House of Justice. Currently, many ordinary people in search for justice are addressing to the President’s Office, not to courts, isn’t this a fair grade to our judiciary, and this must be stopped. No entity or official will be allowed to interfere to the affairs of the Judicial Council, however high his ranking may be, and criminal liability shall be launched against such officials.”
Today, the most important task is to build a judicial corps that has a strong will, high professional and moral qualities, capable of making fair decisions. Those who do not have sufficient skills and life experience, high moral qualities should never be appointed to the position of a judge.
The President underscored that justice and moral values are interrelated concepts, where there is no morality, there can be no justice, therefore, it is necessary to pay special attention to these issues in training of judges, legal staff and appointment to the position of a judge. He severely criticized the situation when due to lack of moral qualities among judges, there are cases of illegal actions, corruption, indifference to people's problems, decision-making that violate the principles of justice.
“I would like to draw your attention to some figures, in recent years criminal cases were launched against nearly 50 judges, year to date 7 judges committed offences, for example the Andijan province deputy chairman of economic court Abdullayev was arrested when he was taking a bribe in the amount of 150 thousand USD from Nuraliyev. If an official who is supposed to deliver justice commits such a gross offence, then tell me, to whom ordinary people should address for justice”
The President emphasized that it is necessary to prevent bureaucratic arbitrariness in courts, to give a proper assessment to judges who consider cases very late and allow red tape. The meeting participants fully supported the proposal to introduce the procedure for judges to conduct an open dialogue with the local population at least once a month.
The meeting also thoroughly considered the issue of further improving the system of training and professional development of judges. The attendees supported the proposal put forward by the President on the organization of a specialized educational institution - the Academy of Justice.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized that critical analysis, strict discipline and personal liability should become a permanent and invariable rule for all employees of government bodies and judges.
The President concluded – “We are undertaking reforms in all areas, and step by step, little by little we will achieve our goals, this won’t be easy however. But you will see that with every single success the people’s mindset will change, and as a result the situation in the country will gradually change for the better. The time of lofty assurances is now over, it is time for us to deliver. People should see the results of reforms in their everyday lives, be it improved kindergartens, schools, universities, healthcare, justice, roads, bridges or jobs.”