Access to justice in central asia
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Access to Justice in Central Asia. Caucasus Research Resource Centers Summary Results Presented by: Dr George Welton Work (not really) in Progress 6 th April 2011. Research components. Literature review of background materials on A2J in CA and A2J research strategies Expert interviews

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Access to justice in central asia

Access to Justice in Central Asia

Caucasus Research Resource Centers Summary Results

Presented by: Dr George Welton

Work (not really) in Progress

6th April 2011


Research components

Research components

  • Literature review of background materials on A2J in CA and A2J research strategies

  • Expert interviews

    • 74 expert interviews and follow-ups covering 49 organizations

    • Stakeholder involvement at multiple levels

  • Nationwide surveys

  • 9 focus groups concentrating on vulnerable women and youth


Survey

Survey

  • Survey in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

  • Designed and overseen by CRRC, conducted by M-Vector

  • Nationally representative – with certain caveats

    • Some areas inaccessible and language problems

  • Total of 1926 interviews conducted


Quick background

Quick background


Pre weighted profile of respondents

Pre-weighted profile of respondents (%)


Structure of the presentation

Structure of the presentation

  • Problems

  • Different mechanisms for resolving dispute

  • The six barriers to justice


Biggest problems in each country

Biggest problems in each country


Problems facing particular groups

Problems facing particular groups

  • Women

    • Education

    • Domestic violence

    • Registration of marriage and property

    • Fair treatment in the event of divorce

  • Young people

    • Education

    • Employment

    • Crime

  • People with disabilities

    • Knowledge of rights

    • Enforcement of the law

    • Physical access to facilities (Braille and wheelchair access)


Barriers to justice

Barriers to Justice

  • Unwillingness to involve others in solving disputes

  • Poor knowledge of the law

  • Lack of resources

  • Practical hurdles to using the courts

  • Corruption

  • Structural bias in the legal system


Barrier to justice 1 unwillingness to involve others in resolving disputes

Barrier to justice 1Unwillingness to involve others in resolving disputes


Access to justice in central asia

Domestic issues are particularly sensitive…

“There is a saying that good wives do not take the garbage out of the house nor do they leave.”

Lecturer, 26, married, Issik-Kul, Kyrgyzstan

“I think rural women are brought up that way. My grandmother would always tell me:

‘You need to, be tolerant. We women are created for a family. If the husband brings something, be thankful. If he is handsome, if he is ugly, accept and be thankful. When he beats you also be thankful that you are married. If he divorces you or you become a widow then no one will respect you.’”

Teacher, 56, widow, Tursun-Zadeh, Tajikistan

“In the village, if a woman walks around with bruises, everyone says it is her own fault.”

Housewife, 22, married, Chilik, Kazakhstan


Access to justice in central asia

Some fear involving authorities for other reasons…

  • Women feel their rights are ignored

    “Only men have rights. Women do not have rights. Women are unprotected and attract general abuse.”

    Housewife, 30, married, Kara-Balta, Kyrgyzstan

  • Some young people may feel that they will get into trouble

    “Even if the guy from the city is guilty, they [the police] can still blame the one from Novostroyka.”

    College student, 20, male, Novostroyka in Kyrgyzstan

    “Some say ‘if you end up there [the police], you will admit that you killed Lenin.’ It is the case in reality. I was tortured and beaten. They were telling me about the little children that have gone missing in Dushanbe. And then they put a gun in front of me and told me if I don’t tell them that I did that, they will shoot me dead. ”

    Student, 18, male, Dushanbe, Tajikistan


Access to justice in central asia

Barrier to justice 2

Poor knowledge of the law


Access to justice in central asia

Low levels of knowledge affect certain groups harder

  • Women in rural areas

    “I didn’t know about my rights before coming to this center. It turns out as a woman I also have rights.”

    Hairdresser, 45, divorced, Pokrovka, Tajikistan

  • Orphans

    May have rights to property but lose them because they do not know about their rights.

  • Disabled

    “Only 10 percent out of 100 percent of disabled women would know their rights.”

    Information manager, Shyrak Association of Disabled Women, Kazakhstan


Barrier to justice 3 lack of resources

Barrier to justice 3Lack of resources


Access to justice in central asia

Reason for low use of legal problem resolution

  • High levels of poverty

  • Even where resources available, there is little inclination to risk them

  • Criminal defense is (usually) offered by the state but quality is low

  • Women vulnerable

    • Women lack independent sources of income

    • Easy for husband to avoid child support and splitting property even when judgment is made


Access to justice in central asia

Reason for low use of legal problem resolution

  • High levels of poverty

  • Even where resources available, there is little inclination to risk them

  • Criminal defense is (usually) offered by the state but quality is low

  • Women vulnerable

    • Women lack independent sources of income

    • Easy for husband to avoid child support and splitting property even when judgment is made


Barrier to justice 4 practical hurdles to using the courts

Barrier to justice 4Practical hurdles to using the courts


Access to justice in central asia

Number and distribution of lawyers by region in Kyrgyzstan (2003)

  • Ref: American Bar Association (2004), Legal Profession Reform Index: Kyrgyzstan, Washington, USA p. 35


Number of licensed collegium advocates in the regions of tajikistan 2005

Number of Licensed Collegium Advocates in the Regions of Tajikistan (2005)

Ref: Originally prepared by Alternative NGO Report (2005) to the United National Human Rights Committee in Relation to the Examination of the Initial Report by the Republic of Tajikistan on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. American Bar Association. (2006). Legal Profession Reform Index: Tajikistan. Washington, USA. P. 33.


Lack of documentation

Lack of Documentation

  • Propiska or passport – missing from vulnerable groups and internal migrants. Needed..

    • to take a case to court

    • to interact with government (for social protection)

    • to get married or register a new child

  • Marriage license – needed to ensure that if there is separation then:

    • child support

    • right to marital property

  • Proper registration of child – needed for child support


Access to justice in central asia

Examples from focus groups of problems in documentation

“I have been living and having children without a passport. When the person does not have an education, she does not realize that she needs documents.”

Hairdresser, 45, divorced, Pokrovka, Kyrgyzstan

“In the village, many people live without documents until their death. When you want to run away from abuse, you can’t go anywhere without documents.”

Lecturer, 26, married, Issik-Kul, Kyrgyzstan

“My daughter is married. She has two children; the eldest is five years old already. She lives with her husband but does not have official registration.”

Cashier, 51, married, Shakhrinev, Tajikistan


Barrier to justice 5 corruption

Barrier to justice 5Corruption


Least trusted institutions by country

Least trusted institutions by country


Experience of corruption

Experience of corruption

“The police will not do anything unless you give them money. Money decides everything now. It is unfair. If they find the one who was guilty then that person pays money. The one who addressed the police, who is the victim, will be named guilty.”

Young person, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

“Imagine criminals the who attacked me, I go to the police and there is no point. Even if they get arrested, they will be let free in any case. They are criminals, they have money and connections.”

Young person, Novostroika, Almaty, Kazakhstan

“Even if the police take him away, in our village if he has 200 Som, they let him go. He comes back home and starts beating you more.”

Housewife, 30, married, Kara-Balta, Kyrgyzstan


Access to justice barrier 6 structural bias in the legal system

Access to JusticeBarrier 6 Structural bias in the legal system


Power of the state prosecutor in legal affairs

Power of the state/prosecutor in legal affairs

  • Power of the prosecutor

    • To decide upon pre-trial detention (effectively, even if not in law)

    • Prime mover in collection of evidence and presentation of the case

    • High conviction rates

  • Weakness of Judge

    • Lack of independence (not just corruption)

    • Lack of training

  • Weakness and low skills of defense

    • Defense has few rights

    • Often dependent on the court for payment

    • Low level of professionalism


Access to justice in central asia

Other sources of bias reported in the literature

  • Classification of cases

    • Administrative cases have fewer protections but can involve jail time

    • ‘Reconciliation’ (specifically in Kazakhstan) for particular cases tends to be used in domestic cases

  • The use of informal law

    • Aksakalcourts (Kyrgyzstan) and Mahalla councils (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) tend to prefer reconciliation to conservative solutions

    • Informal courts are often ignorant of formal law

  • Police and prosecutors judged on conviction rates

    • Do not like to take domestic cases that might collapse

    • Incentive to pursue conviction rather than justice


Access to justice in central asia

Conclusion


Key findings

Key Findings

  • Main problems:

    • theft

    • land issues

    • problem divorce

    • domestic violence

  • The picture is varied and non-obvious so continuing research is needed.

  • Non-formal channels often used:

    • Government officials (all three countries)

    • Village elders (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan)

  • Resource, knowledge and access issues more prominent in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan


Suggestive specific interventions

Suggestive specific interventions


Suggestive general interventions

Suggestive general interventions


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