Today, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), in cooperation with the Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA) of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Bar Association of the Republic of Tajikistan, has convened a roundtable discussion on the importance of preserving the independence and security of lawyers in Tajikistan.
The roundtable served as a crucial forum for lawyers, civil society organizations, international organizations, and legal experts to explore the current challenges to the independence and security of the legal profession in Tajikistan.
Central to the discussion were the proposed amendments to the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On the Bar and Lawyers’ Activities”. Participants expressed serious concerns about the potential for these amendments to undermine the independence of the legal profession. They called on international organizations to ensure that any reform of the Bar Association retains its independence, emphasizing the need to incorporate the concerns of the Bar Association into the reform process.
The independence of the qualification process for lawyers was highlighted as a significant issue. Participants noted the importance of an independent and robust qualification process in maintaining the independence and competence of the legal profession.
The discussion also focused on the work of the Commission for the Protection of Professional Rights of Lawyers, with participants identifying the need to strengthen this body’s role in protecting the rights and independence of lawyers.
Participants identified significant barriers to effective legal representation in cases involving torture allegations. This issue is exacerbated by the absence of rigorous investigations into such claims. Courts often dismiss requests to investigate these allegations, issuing sentences based on questionable evidence. The participants underscored the necessity of consistent application of the Istanbul Protocol to evaluate the impact of violence on detainees.
Drawing from the substance of these discussions, at the final stage of the event, the participants will undertake the task of formulating a robust set of recommendations. These recommendations will encapsulate the perspectives garnered throughout the event, strengthening the efforts to bolster the independence and security of lawyers in Tajikistan. The participants stressed the need for ongoing dialogue and collaboration involving the Bar Association and independent lawyers to address these issues.
Source : ICJ