Society of Human Rights of Uzbekistan
Once justice and legitimacy fade away
a state becomes a gang of bandits.
Source: Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan
11/13/2008 12:28:23 07/17/2005 13:29:28
REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS SOCIETY OF UZBEKISTAN
(According to the report of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the question of torture, Theo van Boven, presented in accordance with Commission Resolution 2002/38)
January 7, 2004
Once justice and legitimacy fade away
a state becomes a gang of bandits.
“… This Great Eastern-Slavic empire … created by Germans, Byzantines and Mongols, living last decades of its life … But even after its collapse, for a long time a State that is going to exist in Central Asia will combine communistic ideology, phraseology and eastern despotism.”
Andrei Amalrik, Soviet dissident of 1960s
For many years now Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) has been informing world democratic society, democratic institutes all over the world not only about the fact that torture is used in penitentiary institutions of Uzbekistan but that it has also become a part of state policy. To understand this ‘phenomenon’ of modern history of Uzbekistan let us draw your attention to the political situation of the last years of “Gorbachev’s perestroika”, of the years of independence, and also to the persona of the Head of State, who back then was one of the most atrocious communistic leaders.
No ideology other then the one recognized by the State was acceptable during the rule of Soviets. Accordingly, its power institutes were opposed to any display of personal opinion, not to mention belief. The Leaders of reorganization of society, according to so-called communistic ideals, were responsible for taking millions of innocent lives. Trying to convince the civilized world that PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE was the underlying principle of national jurisprudence, the society in fact, resided in a psycho-moral state of Middle Ages inquisition in Europe. The syncretism of national proceedings and legal ignorance of repeatedly conscripted officials had not allowed evidential basis go beyond the ill-judged PRESUMPTION OF GUILT, on which the inquisition used to build its accusations.
During the rule of the Soviets, especially during the last decades of it, leaders of all ranks were attracted not to the communist idea or commitment to it, but to the regime debugged by five-year plans. Strict hierarchy of party nomenclature was based on enforced rank worshipping, subordinating cringing before the authority. Pyramid of power and coordinated with it pyramid of privileges, in reality presented the evidence of inconsumable bribery, corruption, circular bail, and finally cult of personality.
Naturally, these defects of regime, although in more ugly form, were immanently characteristic to Soviet republics such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan etc. Not having any intellectual or power possibility to resist against “the Kremlin rank-people” they started to protect themselves in a very Asian way – by clans’ insularity of national establishment, which people are used to calling mafia. By using shadow economics they have been successfully lobbying their local fellowship interests in central state organs. It is only understandable that such double-dealing would not allow “civil servants” to duly protect the independence of Soviet republics declared in the Constitution of USSR. This heritage was succeeded by the newly independent states, although the party nomenclature of yesterday, transformed in the power of today imitates a very different image. That is why in the years of so-called independence these defects rose to the rank of state politics.
This is why the new leaders of Central Asian states came up with an aim TO REMAIN IN POWER FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES and not for the term as provided in Constitution, which presented a paramount importance for each of them. Filling the new political niche each and every one of them had sworn to build democratic, rule of law state in their country that will respect human rights and fundamentals common to all humanity. And even taking their oath they publicly attested their duplicity by placing hands on both the Constitution and the Koran. Faithful to their spiritual content they, it seems, have been declaring their faithfulness to both secular and teleological state. However those declarations were initially untruthful and contradicted the real designs of power usurpation.
How can this contradiction be resolved? Turkmen-bashi was the first one to attain the cherished aim. His solution of the problem appeared straightforward and primitive. Somewhat different course was taken by the experienced in communistic intrigues Uzbek Yurt-bashi. His plan was far from new; it was based on the effect of a long-standing methodical persuasion of Uzbek society, as well as world democratic society, and of a grave danger reislamization of mentality may bring to Uzbekistan. This plan was supported by Russia’s and Western panic fear of mystical regeneration of Islam that started to penetrate the territories historically professing other confessions.
“Gorbachev’s perestroika” brought Central Asian republics some ideological ease, in all spheres including confessions. At the end of 1980-s and the beginning of 1990-s, for a short period of time people of Uzbekistan reconstructed 5000 mosques with their own money. They became true believers. Groups of new Islamic scholars (Imam-hatibs), scholars with independent views, understanding the antisocial mimicry of the Soviets started to emerge. Their sermons attracted large auditoria to the mosques.
Soviet democratic wing of opposition was represented at the time by People’s movement “Birlik”, People’s movement “Turkiston”, “Birlik” party and Democratic Party “Erk”. Within “Birlik” women movement “Tumaris” was created as well as youth and students movement of “Free dehkans (farmers)“, there emerged the first social organization for Protection of Human Rights in Uzbekistan.
At that time political arena saw the emergence of half-Soviet half-religious organizations like “Adolat” (Justice) (in Namangan), “Odamiylik va insonparvarlik” (in Kokand), and pro-Islamic organizations such as “Warriors of Islam” (in Namangan).
At the beginning of the 90-s it became obvious that new powers ripening on the political arena, would be capable of suspending the turned “communists” from power in the coming elections of December 1994. But the election was antedated by a row of events that played cardinal role is Uzbekistan’s becoming a state with repressive political regime.
After coming to power in 1989, the present President of Republic of Uzbekistan, who used to be communistic leader of Kashkadarya region, dashed straight to the middle of events. The opposition was becoming stronger by day, and was seriously undermining his political career. Obviously, like many party leaders, he was never a convinced communist but was rather using the ideology to promote his career. The only things he learned from Marxist ideology probably were that the environment defined the conscience and that power was institute of enforcement.
Current situation and environment was very unpredictable, accordingly he decided to become a two-faced leader and bet on law-enforcement institutions, create environment of total enforcement that would define despotism of power as a norm for society. Psychology of referent communication states that to change society’s perception of ideology or for new ideologies to take root it needs at least two decades. That is why states with strong democratic foundations, opposing slipping to despotic individual rule, limit presidential terms in power to 4 years not being able to be re-elected more then twice. So it seems that for the attainment of the aim he needs life presidency.
Whichever it is, but being a worker of Ministry of Finance in the past he sent a clear message to KGB and other law enforcement organs to rid of the opposition. Not having any KGB experience, as for example Gaydar Aliev, using these law enforcement organs he nevertheless managed to create “a State within the State”. None ever stopped proclaiming Uzbekistan being a rule of law country, although this so called “State within the State” existed according to corporative rules known only to the chosen ones. It actually took him less then a year to change “Republic of Uzbekistan” parliamentary republic with a future full of promising prospects to the republic with “strong” presidency, and by 1995 to a repressive police state of Masonic type. We should take into account that all this happened notwithstanding that only on 24 March 1991 the then Supreme Council of the Republic appointed communist leader to be the President of Republic of Uzbekistan, which was contradicting the Constitution. This was the reply of shadow establishment to the results of national referendum that, as it appeared, upheld the preservation of USSR. In his interview for “Izvestiya” daily newspaper on 5 May 1991, President of the Republic states: “We have struggled for this Union and we shall stay within it”. However, in accordance to his own proposition in December later that same year another referendum took place. This second referendum surprisingly showed totally adverse results, for leaving the Union. Two public plebiscites held within nine months gave completely radical views. And in both cases the “pro” votes combined over 95% of the voters.
There is no social or psychological paradox in this. The Authorities let it slip that the institute of the Elections system is totally under its control and does not show the opinion of the nation as such, but rather a whim of political elites who from time to time hold election campaigns to test the loyalty of the masses.
The political change itself is undoubtedly connected to the events of 19 August 1991, when the current President of Uzbekistan upheld the fatally known GKChP of USSR (State Committee on Force-Major Situations) Yanaev’s group attempt to overthrow state government. The events of “putsch” skyrocketed in days and on 26 August; he was supporting Gorbachev and shamed Boris Yeltsin at the Summit of Communistic Party of Uzbekistan.
At the beginning of September President of Uzbekistan did not go to Moscow for extraordinary Summit of People’s deputies of USSR because according to proposition of a group of deputies its agenda included creation of Commission to investigate the activity of higher officials that upheld state overturn. It is easy to understand in what quality Karimov would have appeared before this Summit, deputies and Gorbachev.
Demarche of President of Uzbekistan toward USSR Summit of People’s deputies resulted in preventive declaration of sovereignty of Republic of Uzbekistan within the Union. The date for Presidential Election was set for 29 December 1991. Democratic party “Erk” was registered on 3 September and People’s movement “Birlik” was registered on 11 November.
It is important to note that there has been no abuse or infringement of either secular or religious Human rights or freedoms before the Presidential election. Prosecution started right after the election took place, and way presented as testing for loyalty toward President. On the 16 January 1992 there was shooting of peaceful student demonstration. Nobody was held responsible for this action. There were mass arrests of the heads of “Adolat”, “Warriors of Islam”, “Odamiylik va insonparvarlik” and other organizations. This created a situation in which many were fledging the country and creating armed Uzbek opposition abroad. According to some information it includes many under-cover KGB agents.
At the same time in 1992 the authorities started systematic offensive on the positions of secular opposition, and by the end of the year some of the opposition leaders were forced to leave the country. By the end of 1993 “Birlik” and “Erk” were illegally stripped of their registration and were compelled to back-pedal their activity.
Starting from 1994 Uzbekistan authorities commenced realization of their fundamental aim – far-reaching cleansing based on religious beliefs – obviously intermeddling with the activity of religious confessions and contradicting the Constitution that separated State from Religion. By 1998 this secretive work of the authorities was done. Among its “accomplishments” let me note the following:
A1) First article dedicated to “Wahhabism” appeared on the pages of one of the journals in 1994 was written not by a historian or Islamic scholar but by deputy prosecutor of one of Fergana valley regions. In this very long article the deputy prosecutor has given “detailed analysis” of Wahhabism and has “shown” how dangerous this Islamic movement is for Central Asia, and particularly for Uzbekistan. It was not long before most of Uzbekistan journals have reprinted this article on their pages. <>
The article was actually a signal to offensive on religious rights of the citizens (Bolsheviks in 1917 used salvo from the “Aurora” cruiser as a signal to armed overturn of the existing political regime in Russia).
A2) approximately at the same time a large campaign was started to ban loud speakers in the mosques for the transmission of Adhan, the call for all Muslims to join the prayer. It was announced that allegedly more then a million of citizens have addressed the authorities with the request to ban the speakers;
A3) Contingent of militia was ten times enlarged. For comparison: 15 years age Uzbekistan’s number of militia workers did not exceed 40.000, at the present time only in the capital Tashkent 50.000 of militia workers are engaged;
A4) During a few years workers of SNB (Service of National Security) and MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) have drawn up a list of “unreliable citizens” that were being accused with various criminal charges. This list was composed of more then 250.000 names of Uzbekistan citizens aged from 20 to 45 years. To create this list the authorities used under-cover informers in local mosques, district militia inspectors, heads of local self-government organs etc. The following categories of citizens were considered as “unreliable”:
- Imams with critical views, independent Islamic scholars, students of dogmatic theology, even the students of schools providing general education with Arabic language on the curriculum;
- persons of missionary disposition, i.e. attracted to learning religious norms, moral and ethical norms of Islam, Arabic language and other Islamic literature relics in hobby or amateur performances groups;
- persons inclinable to perform Islamic ceremonies and rituals i.e. practicing Friday prayer in the mosque, compulsory norm of Islam for each and every Muslim;
- Persons who were practicing ‘home’-Islam i.e. practicing prayer at home etc.
A5) Judges, militia, prosecution and SNB workers have undergone special training and promised their loyalty to President’s policy of fighting “Islamic extremism”, “International terrorism” etc. Everybody who was opposed to promoting repressive competence were dismissed or convicted. A special group of militia workers with sadistic tendencies was created; their responsibilities included obtaining confessions from accused by way of torture. Same qualities were encouraged in workers of penitentiary institutions (prisons, colonies etc);
A6) Legal Codes (Criminal, Code of Criminal Proceedings) have been changed (from September 1994 and further) to introduce harsher sanctions for religious beliefs; with more extensive use of repressions Uzbekistan Criminal Code included new Articles that widened the sphere of crime qualification, in particular based on religious beliefs.
A7) Special concentration camps have been created to detain “prisoners of conscience”, near the settlements Jaslyq (Karakalpakstan) and Zangi-ota (Tashkent region);
A8) Special groups of special-services workers, investigators, lawyers, historians, writers and representatives of clergy have been developing versions of typical accusation reports, court verdicts and other unified documents;
A9) Most of the lawyers, except for very few, have undergone special “adaptation” to be loyal to policy of “fight against Islamic extremism”, “against international terrorism” etc. Forensic experts underwent same adaptation.
A10) Workers of law enforcement organs have been unofficially supplied with versions of insinuations on the basis of which they could apply criminal charges to any person, in particular practice of putting illegal drugs, bullets, home-made and automatic guns into flats, houses, cars and pockets of the detained to catch them red-handed;
A11) Press, television and radio were to be widely used to increase anti-Islamic psychosis against extremism, fundamentalism and other “isms” threatening social security and order;
A12) Since 1991 all public buildings (starting from Presidential Apparatus to local militia filial) have been surrounded by “parapets” – three-meter high fences, country’s roads have been urgently equipped with block posts equipped with fire points – DOTs. From the military point of view these “means of defence” had no practical meaning.
In this way confession could have been obtained from the accused only by means of torture, and this confession was further used as a basis to construct judicial argument. This entire time criminal jurisdiction of Uzbekistan was based on ill-judged PRESUMPTION OF GUILT, on which the inquisition used to build its accusations.
The entire enforcement machine of enormous size, which comprised of militia and SNB workers, prosecutors, judicial organs and mass media, has been working to:
- Create public fear before the authorities;
- Increase anti-Islamic psychosis against extremism, fundamentalism and other “isms” threatening social security and order;
- Repress public opinion, since only the current Head of State by means of his politics was able to confront any manifestation, threat of extremism, terrorism etc. that is why he should stay on his post, even if this would require change of Constitution.
This is exactly what happened. Parliament of Uzbekistan has unconstitutionally extended the term of President’s competence till 2007 by means of referendum that was in itself a first step toward him becoming a lifetime President.
* * *
This is only a small portion of those years “achievements”. Maybe this is only the seen part of the iceberg, which usually amounts to one hundredth of its size. But even the aforesaid shows how much capital was used to achieve it. Where did this enormous amount of money come from considering our outstanding internal and external debts? This information is still carefully guarded.
History warns us with examples of distraction of large and small political systems and large and small states that hoping to cheat history and get out of political cloacae have been tempted by alleged workability of so called “vespassianity”. Examples of USSR and Yugoslavia are the most vivid in this connection. Political agony of the authorities in the state of Masonic type starts from unofficial merger of its branches into “inquisition” i.e. inter-corporative cahoots to solve fiscal, economic, social and political problems through using the institute of justice, this course usually leads to the total collapse of the whole system. Collapse of the Soviet Union finished the period of so-called “vespassianity” but only in relation to the great Slavic-Asian Empire, as it was passed on and inherited by those post-Soviet states formations that preferred unofficial war wit public opinion to practical democratic transformations.
Uzbekistan, whose authorities unfortunately did not manage to rid of the heritage of shadow political and economic epoch of “socialism” and concentrated on mere “advertising” of democracy, calling it a special way to market economy, at the present time entered a culmination stage of “vespassianity”. Snobbish lies in state politics that regulates total ABSENCE OF JUSTICE, legitimised symbiosis of state and mafia structures, incredibly high level of bribery, circular bail and corruption – here are the main characteristics of the period Uzbekistan lives in now. Augustine Aurelius said about such times in state’s evolution: “Once justice and legitimacy fade away a State becomes a gang of bandits”.
We hope that we have given a fairly full answer to the question: “Why torture – a great social evil – have been introduced as a part of state politics and who was the man behind this ‘phenomenon’?
As known, special rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the question of torture, Theo van Boven was visiting Uzbekistan from 24 November to 16 December 2002. He has inspected several penitentiary institutions, talked to many of the torture victims and their relatives, higher state officials. In February 2003 the Report based on results of his visit to Uzbekistan was published for the first time. In it the Special Rapporteur has laid down 22 recommendations for Uzbek government to banish torture from practice of interrogating and other penitentiary organs of Uzbekistan.
Although it has been more then a year now the government of Uzbekistan does not rush to acknowledge the fact that torture is used in state’s interrogation and other penitentiary institutions. And it is not going to acknowledge it. This was eloquently noted by Akmal Saidov (Director of Uzbekistan National Human Rights Centre) in his speech made on 2 September, 2003, in course of discussing “National plan of actions to realize the recommendation given by the special rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the question of torture”. Mr. Saidov who was also acting as a Head of State Commission elaborating the mentioned plan said the following: “We have no mass use of torture, there are only separate cases. How did Mr. Theo van Boven establish that we have a wide use of torture, which criteria did he use to establish this?”
Provision 70 of the Report enumerates each one of the 22 recommendations, from “a” to “v”. They are the following:
70 (a): “first of all and before anything else state authorities should publicly condemn torture in all of its forms. Higher authorities and particularly those responsible for law enforcement activities have to unequivocally declare that they shall not tolerate the use of torture or any equivalent treatment on the part of state officials, and that those who control the infrastructure where misuse of power takes place, shall be personally responsible for such misuse of power. The authorities have to take serious actions to ensure that public believes such declarations and that it know that lawlessness shall be put to an end.”
The first part of this Special Rapporteur recommendation can not be achieved because of the reasons described in Part I of the present Report. President’s speech at EBRD summit is a clear proof of that.
All the other parts of the first recommendation cannot be achieved as well because higher state official responsible for law enforcement (Z. Almatov, R. Inoyatov, R Kadirov and others) are quite aware of the criminal liability they may incur, and shall not make any declarations about mass use of torture.
70(b): “the government should amend its internal Criminal legislation to include crime of torture, the description of which should fully coincide with Article 1 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and reinforce it with an appropriate punishment”.
Internal Criminal Legislation contains Article 235 of the Criminal Code of Republic of Uzbekistan (Compulsion to give testimony), which envisages punishment for psychological as well as physical manipulation of the suspect, accused, witness, or of the expert by means of threat, beating, torture, causing suffering, causing minor or major corporal damage, or same actions that caused leaden consequences, or punishment of any other activity taken by the interrogator, inspector, or prosecutor with the aim of compulsion to give testimony.
70 (c): ” the government should also amend its internal Criminal legislation to include habeas corpus right, by this giving any individual imprisoned by arrest or apprehension the right to seek help from independent judicial organs that would promptly take a decision on legality of imprisonment and issue resolutions to release those who were imprisoned illegally”.
Internal Criminal Legislation (Criminal Code of Republic of Uzbekistan) contains Articles that give any person, imprisoned by arrest or apprehension, the right to address independent judicial organs. However this recommendation is also impracticable since there is no INDEPENDENT JUSTICE in Uzbekistan.
70 (d): “the government should take all appropriate measures for the establishment of independent judicial system and observance by such system of its responsibilities according to international standards, in particular UN’s Basic principles for judicial organs’ independence. It is also important to take appropriate measures to encourage principle of equality between prosecution and defence in criminal proceedings.”
This recommendation is also impracticable in the conditions of one of the most authoritarian political regimes.
70(e): “the government should provide for all claims of torture and equivalent cruel treatment to be investigated in due time and thoroughly by an organ, outside the system of state prosecution and capable of prosecuting those held responsible.”
There is no such organ in Uzbekistan at present, and since the government is not willing to recognize the fact of torture in the country no such organ is going to be created.
70(f): “any state official accused of misusing his/her authority or being responsible for torture should be dismissed from his/her position immediately and until court hearing takes place”.
This recommendation is impracticable. However compliance with this recommendation will not change the present situation.
70(g): “Ministry for Internal Affairs and Service for National Security should create effective procedures to control its workers’ conduct, particularly to rid of the practice of torture and any other equivalent cruel treatment. Functioning of such procedures should not be dependent on existence of a claim”.
The aforementioned organs can elaborate “effective procedures to control its workers’ conduct” however this “document” shall resemble the still-born National Plan.
70(h): “moreover independent non-governmental interrogators should be allowed full and prompt access to the places of detention including militia isolators, places for detention prior to court hearing, Security Services isolators, places for administrative detention, places for medical and psychiatric detention, and prisons, so that they are able to control treatment towards individuals and conditions for their imprisonment. They should be allowed to have confidential talks with any individual contained in those institutions.”
Uzbekistan does not have independent non-governmental interrogators. There is no contingent from which to appoint them.
70(i): “forensic workers, judges and prosecution workers should always enquire with the individuals brought from places of detention controlled by Ministry for Internal Affairs or Service for National Security, about how they have been treated and pay special attention to the state they are in, and also, should there be reasons for this, even in the absence of official claim on the part of the detained, require medical assessment of his/her physical state.”
Forensic, prosecution workers and judges shall not do this. However they can draw up documents in the evidence of the execution of the aforesaid procedure.
70(j): “it is important to take all appropriate actions to encourage total respect toward the principle of unacceptability of any testimony, obtained under torture, according to international standards and International Court decision of May 1997.”
For the last 8-10 years the proof of guilt of the accused or detained individual has only been based on his own confession that was beaten out of him during the preliminary inquiry. This practice is still used today. The interrogators working for law enforcement organs are not familiar with any other practice; they don’t have even relative respect toward the principle of unacceptability of any testimony, given under torture.
70(k): “confessions made by individuals detained by Ministry for Internal Affairs and Service for National Security organs not in the presence of his/her lawyer/defence representative and not confirmed in court should not be accepted as evidence against the individual who made those confessions. The issue of video and audio recordings during questioning in cabinets of the Ministry for Internal Affairs and Service for National Security should be seriously considered.”
Few years ago British Embassy upheld the project of equipping several regional and city judicial organs (including Tashkent) with computers to promote computer recording for judicial proceedings with a view to stop distortion of information obtained in a course of proceedings. But not a single judicial proceeding was ever recorded; computers were used for other purposes. Further realization of the project was suspended.
70(l): “current legislation should be revised to give the imprisoned individuals right to see their lawyer or relatives 24 hours a day. Moreover, law enforcement organs should be directed to inform individuals suspected of committing crimes about their right to defence.”
Uzbekistan legislation envisages all of the above proceeding but they have never been applied and probably never will be.
70(m): “taking into consideration numerous communications about incompetence of state appointed lawyers, it is important to take measures to improve quality of legal aid in accordance with the basic UN principles for defence lawyers”.
Incompetence of state appointed lawyers takes root in circumstances described in point A9 above, this situation is impossible to correct.
70(n): “doctors who have been appointed to independent institute of judicial expertise, which may be controlled by the Ministry of Health, and have undergone specialist training to elicit vestigial signs of torture or other illegal cruel treatment should be allowed access to see the imprisoned individuals at the time of arrest and at times of transferring them to each new place of detention.”
Uzbekistan does not have independent institute of judicial expertise (see point A9 above). To comply with the above recommendation authorities may create such institute but it will exist to conceal physical torture and illegal cruel treatment during preliminary hearing and in places of detention/imprisonment.
70(o): “high-priority attention should be paid to improvement and consolidation of professional preparation for workers of law enforcement organs, especially while dealing with the imprisoned individuals. The Government should thenceforth address International organizations to seek help on this issue.”
“Improvement and consolidation of professional preparation for workers of law enforcement organs, while dealing with the imprisoned individuals”, in the conditions of cruel authoritarian regime can only bring more cruelty and violence. Psychology of interrogators, heads of prisons and their subordinates had become openly sadistic.
70(p): “it is important to seriously consider revising current legislation to make penitentiary institutions (prisons and colonies) and other places of detention accountable to the Ministry of Justice”.
This recommendation of the Special Rapporteur is doable and the government of Uzbekistan would most probably act in such a way. However such action shall not contribute to extirpation of torture and other kinds of cruel treatment from interrogation organs’ practice.
70(q): “should there be strong evidence that the person have been subjected to torture or any other kind of cruel treatment, such person should be entitled to receive prompt and appropriate compensation; this calls for creation of a system for compensations and rehabilitation.”
The government of Uzbekistan shall not comply with this recommendation. During last 8-10 years there was not a single case where an individual subjected to torture of other cruel treatment had been paid any form of compensation. Not even in those cases when the guilt of law enforcement organs was proved in court. Workers of S. Rahimov District Department of internal affairs have arrested brothers Rasul and Ravshan Haitov in October 2001. In twenty four hours one of them, Rasul, have died in the Department premises after being tortured, the other one, Ravshan, has been brutally mutilated. The court sentenced the four workers of District Department held responsible to 20 years of imprisonment. Neither family of Rasul Haitov, nor that of Ravshan Haitov has been given any compensation.
70(r): “Ombudsman’s office should be supplied with all the necessary financial recourses and manpower to enable its efficacy. It should be allowed discretion in cases of necessity and without prior notification to inspect any penitentiary institution, regularly publicise its conclusions and evidence of criminal practices in corresponding organs of prosecution and those of administrative state officials”.
In 1997 Uzbekistan received 3 million USD grant in accordance with United Nations Development Program to develop its human rights organizations, both state and non-governmental. Non-governmental organizations were not allowed to participate in this Program, although Ombudsman had received substantial financial aid. However this organ is fully accountable to Executive branch of power.
70(s): “relatives of those sentenced to death should be treated humanely to avoid excessive suffering that may be caused by secrecy and uncertainty surrounding circumstances of sentencing. It is also recommended to introduce moratorium for execution of death sentences and promptly seriously consider abolishment of death penalty”.
On the 4 January 1998 Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan addressed President of Uzbekistan with appeal to abolish death penalty from national justice system or introduce moratorium for execution of death sentences. It caused no reaction. Currently death penalty is enshrined in two Articles of Criminal Code of Uzbekistan.
70(t): “the government should urgently review the issue of Jaslyq closed colony. Due to its very location the conditions for detention created there amount to cruel, inhumane and humiliating dignity treatment and punishments of the imprisoned as well as their relatives”.
The information about existence and functioning of KIN UA 64/71 near Jaslyq settlement (Karakalpakstan) was first publicized by Uzbekistan Human Rights Society on 20 September 1999. We know that the bodies of the deceased who died of torture and beating are taken out of there, but we are not aware of any single case of anyone being released from this colony. UHRS announcement caught authorities by surprise since the election to Parliament was scheduled for 5 December and Presidential election to 9 December 2000. On Karimov’s command a prison for 300-350 inmates had been urgently created on the nearby military base (8 kilometres away from Jaslyq). Three-four storey building that belonged to the base was fixed.
The main body of inmates is kept in Soviet-time ex-military barracks and three huge underground bomb shelters. This concentration camp is situated 20-22 kilometres away from Jaslyq, journalists, representatives of international organizations or relatives of the imprisoned are denied access.
By “complying” with the aforementioned recommendation the authorities may temporarily close the prison situated on the military base, but not the concentration camp. During his inspection Mr. Theo van Boven was denied access not only to the concentration camp but to the prison as well.
70(u): “all competent authorities should pay close attention and react to temporary measures proposed by the Human Rights Committee, and insistent appeals from control mechanisms of the United Nations concerning individuals that may incur irretrievable damage to their lives, health and physical inviolability”.
The competent authorities can not pay close attention and are even less likely to react to the above propositions due to their misanthropic tendencies.
70(v): “the government is recommended to make a statement envisaged in Article 22 of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and recognise the right of the Committee against torture to obtain and review statements by individuals that claim that they have been victims to the breach of Convention, and also ratify Faculty Protocol to the Convention, which shall result in creation of an organ for regular visits to all penitentiary institutions in the country with the aim to stop torture. It should also offer the Working Group on arbitrary detention, Special Representative for the Secretary General on the issue of human rights activists and Special Rapporteur on issues of judges and lawyers’ independence to visit the country.” [Underlined by me – T.Y.]
The above recommendation of the Special Rapporteur according to its parameters is the most difficult for the authorities of Uzbekistan to comply with and amounts to that in point 70(a). It is most sure to be ignored.
As we have seen, the recommendations of UN Special Rapporteur on torture in Uzbekistan are most likely to be ignored by all the representatives of state authority, starting with sadistic interrogator and all the way to the head of state. To admit mass and systematic use of torture in penitentiary institutions of the country would amount to admitting committing Genocide against part of country’s own people and crimes against humanity (Article 6 and 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court), since every use of torture is a crime.
Article 6 and 7 of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Article 6. Genocide
For the purpose of this Statute, “genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
[Underlined and dotted by me – T.Y.]
Article 7. Crimes against humanity
1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
- Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
- Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
- Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
- Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;
- Enforced disappearance of persons;
- The crime of apartheid;
- Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.[Underlined and ticked by me – T.Y.]
Footnote: ticked are the crimes that can be found in Uzbekistan authority’s actions
Historic parallel or how to break the Uzbek knot?
German people, who have survived Hitler’s totalitarian regime and the cruellest war in the history of mankind, have chosen the way of democratic development. Although the ringleaders of National Socialist party have been convicted by Nuremberg tribunal, the society still had large number of Nazis, who had been committing genocide and crimes against humanity.
Post-war Parliament of Germany ratified a law prohibiting members of National Social party from becoming state officials. As the time showed the decision had been the right one.
Present-time Uzbekistan can not match either pre-war or present-time Germany. Today’s Uzbekistan repeats the mistakes Germany had done 70 years ago. Everybody knows what those mistakes led to. German people could not stop the Nazi obscurantism and allowed them to come to power; they had made the right choice only 25 years later.
As history shows Uzbekistan is 70 years behind Germany. It would be the right decision if the Parliament of Uzbekistan ratified a law prohibiting people who use illegal arrests, torture, unjust trials executions that have not been sanctioned, from becoming state officials.
It has been almost a year now since the Report of UN Special Rapporteur on human rights about torture in Uzbekistan was first publicized. But the government of Uzbekistan does not rush to comply with its recommendations. Why?
The answer is quite simple. The authorities perfectly see a shadow of International Criminal Court.
Talib Yakubov, Chairman of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan