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OSCE/ODIHR supports discussions on criminal justice reforms in Central Asia at Fifth Expert Forum in Bishkek.

More than 65 policy-makers, academics, justice professionals and civil society representatives from Central Asia and the wider OSCE region came together on 24-25 November 2014 to discuss reform initiatives, current challenges and good practices for criminal justice systems at the Fifth Expert Forum on Criminal Justice for Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The Expert Forum, organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in co-operation with the OSCE field missions in Central Asia and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), highlighted the importance of respecting the rule of law and human rights in criminal justice systems. Questions concerning alternatives to pre-trial detention, legal conditions for the conduct of certain coercive investigative acts as well as fair trial rights, were the focus of the discussions.

"This Forum is a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and good practices on developing criminal justice legislation and policies in compliance with international fair trial standards," said Tina Gewis, Chief of the ODIHR Rule of Law Unit. "The Forum's comparative approach in addressing complex procedural questions benefits both law- and policy-makers from the region."

John McGregor, the Deputy Head of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, said: "Significant criminal justice reforms have taken place in Central Asia in recent years, which make the Expert Forum all the more relevant. The OSCE will continue assisting the Kyrgyz authorities in their implementation of OSCE commitments by providing expertise, building capacity and facilitating discussions on issues related to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, including the reform of criminal justice systems."

Nataliya Nikitenko, Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Constitutional Legislation and State Structure of the Kyrgyz Jogorku Kenesh, explained: "Kyrgyzstan has embarked on an important process to reform its criminal justice-related legal codes, which will benefit from the discussions and exchange of expertise at the Expert Forum by informing the work on drafting these new codes."

The Expert Forum has emerged as a leading regional platform in Central Asia for professional dialogue on criminal justice and judicial reform, human rights in criminal procedure and the harmonization of national legislation with international criminal justice standards in line with OSCE commitments.

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Publication:AKIpress News Agency
Geographic Code:9KYRG
Date:Nov 25, 2014
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