DUSHANBE, February 28, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- A two-day conference on ways to harmonize and develop the provisions of Tajikistan’s criminal procedure legislation is opening in Dushanbe on February 29.

Organized by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)’s office in Tajikistan, the conference is expected to bring together representatives from the Parliament, President’s Executive Office, Supreme Court, Prosecutor-General’s Office, Ministry of Justice, National Center for Legislation, Ministry of Interior, Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption, Ombudsman’s Office, researchers as well as representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations active in Tajikistan.

Alisher Majitov, a lawyer, ABA ROLI’s office in Tajikistan, says that for the purpose of providing single understanding and application of provisions of a new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), ABA ROLI successfully implemented the project for training of lawyers, prosecutors and police officers during 2010-2011.  Nine roundtables have been conducted over the report period to discuss problematic issues of application of the CPC norms, he noted.

We will recall that the new Criminal Procedure Code came into effect in Tajikistan on April 1, 2010.  The new code transfers to courts some powers previously held by prosecutors.  They include the power to issue arrest warrants, permission for phone taps, the freezing of assets, property confiscation, and other operations if investigators can prove such a necessity.  Investigators must also explain their reasons for keeping suspects behind bars.  Another important point is that the code mandates the presence of a suspect and his lawyer during the announcement of charges.  Under the new code, pretrial detention and all other additional investigations can last a maximum of 18 months.

The previous Criminal Procedure Code had been in force since 1961.

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative was established in 2007 by the American Bar Association to consolidate its five overseas rule of law programs, including the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA CEELI), which was created in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) implements legal reform programs in more than 40 countries.

While ABA ROLI implements technical assistance programs in an array of substantive areas, including commercial and property law reform, programs are concentrated in seven focal areas: access to justice and human rights; anti-corruption and public integrity; criminal law reform and anti-human trafficking; legal education reform and civic education; legal profession reform; and women’s rights. 

Since 1990, ABA ROLI has worked in more than 70 countries. Today, ABA ROLI operates a range of legal technical assistance programs in more than 40 countries.