The Kyrgyz Republic is landlocked and mountainous. It has a population of 5,5 million and covers an are a of 199.900 km2. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.
The Kyrgyz Republic gained independence from the collapsing Soviet Union on 31 August 1991. The countryhas struggled for political stabilisation among ethnic conflicts, and has maintained a unitary parliamentary republic despite political revolts and economic troubles. A revolution in April 2010 overthrew the former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and resulted in the adoption of a new constitution and the appointment of an interim government. Roza Otunbayeva, who was appointed interim president after the April uprising, announced that she did not intend to run for the Presidential elections in 2011. The election was held in November and won by Almazbek Atambayev, leader of the Social Democratic Party and the then-Prime Minister. Omurbek Babanov was appointed the new Prime Minister. In the summer of 2013, a Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court was appointed and is now operational.
The Kyrgyz Republic and the EU
The European Union and the Kyrgyz Republic have been partners since the country’s independence in 1991, sharing a political and economic dialogue, which has continually expanded. In the early years of cooperation this dialogue initially focused on trade and investment, but since 2002 many important issues have been included, such as regional security, energy and water issues as well as human rights.
The main comprehensive document, which represents the basis to the EU partnership with the Kyrgyz Republic, is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). This was signed in 1995 and came into force in 1999. An office in Bishkek was opened in 2004, headed by a Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, under the authority of the Head of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan. In 2010 the office received the status of a fully-fledged Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic.
At the regional level, the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the EU partners within the European Union and Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership. The Strategy outlines the overall EU co-operation objectives, policy responses and priority fields for engagement in Central Asia. In June 2012, the European Council and the European Commission published their latest Joint Progress Report on the implementation of the EU Central Asia Strategy.
The EU supports the Kyrgyz Republic through national-level programmes worth € 55 million for the 2007-2010 period and € 51,9 million for 2011-2013. In addition, the EU regional Central Asia programmes aim to promote regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations in the region.
During her visit to the Kyrgyz Republic in September 2013, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton welcomed efforts to reform the judiciary and fight corruption and underlined the EU’s long-term support, noting the signature of the new EU programme for rule of law reform. She and the Kyrgyz President also discussed steps taken by the authorities in Kyrgyzstan to protect human rights and advance inter-ethnic reconciliation.
The Kyrgyz Republic and the Rule of Law Initiative
At the third EU-Central Asia Ministerial Conference on Rule of Law in December 2012 the Kyrgyz Government reconfirmed its commitment to cooperation in the area of the Rule of Law and its readiness to maintain a constructive dialogue with Central Asian partners and the EU. It was announced that the Kyrgyz Ministry of Justice is pursuing its work to amend the secondary legislation in accordance with the new Constitution. New anti-corruption legislation has been passed. Further steps will be taken to pursue the judicial reform, strengthening its independence, as well as the reform of law enforcement bodies.
The first regional seminar held in the Kyrgyz Republic in the framework of the EU Rule of Law Initiative for Central Asia on “Legal training in the 21st Century” was organised by Germany. It took place in Bishkek from 26-28 October 2009. The regional seminar “On the right to a fair trial”, hosted on 2013 in Bishkek by the Kyrgyz Republic has enabled defining new activities in the area of Criminal Procedure. The first training events under the Rule of Law Initiative in Kyrgyzstan included workshops on “law drafting techniques” (23-24 May 2013) and on the “administrative procedure code” (24-25 June 2013). A seminar on “drafting of the administrative process code” took place on 18-19 October 2013.
On 8 October 2012, Mrs. Chinara Mamidinova, State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, and Mrs. Aida Kurmanbaeva, Director of the Department for the development of draft legal regulations of the General Directorate for the development of draft legal regulations and legislation expertise of the Ministry of Justice, were appointed as the two National Coordinators of the Rule of Law Initiative of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Mission of the Kyrgyz Republic to the European Union in Brussels provides support to the political dialogue between The Kyrgyz Republic and the EU on matters related to the Rule of Law Initiative. The Delegation of the EU to the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek supports the EU’s policies in rule of law.
Rule of Law in the Kyrgyz Republic
In the area of reform of administrative justice, the Kyrgyz Republic is undoubtedly the most advanced country in the region with its new administrative law. A Code of Administrative Process is being elaborated. This should contribute to effective administration and to promoting respect for the rights of individuals.
At the Regional Seminar on Judicial Capacity organised on 4-5 April 2013 in Bishkek by the Rule of Law Platform, the Kyrgyz Republic manifested a strong interest in improving the efficiency of the justice system. The first national dialogue workshop organised by the Rule of Law Platform will focus on judicial capacity. The outcomes of this policy and political dialogue on judiciary reform will be referred to when defining the action plan for the new rule of law financing agreement between the EU and the Kyrgyz Republic.
Rule of Law Platform work plan in the Kyrgyz Republic
The workplan of the Rule of Law Platform for the Kyrgyz Republic includes two activities supporting the administrative justice reform: one is for the training of judges; another will support the drafting of the Code of Administrative Process.
Also, the Ministry of Justice has requested support for its current policies of promoting democracy by supporting the development of local and regional self-governance and the improvement of law drafting techniques, bringing together key executive and legislative institutions.
Rule of Law Platform Stakeholders in the Kyrgyz Republic
The Kyrgyz stakeholders include the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Legal Department of the Office of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Legal Section of the Economy and Investment Department of the Office of the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Office of the General Prosecutor of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Judicial Department and the Department on Supervision of the Activities of Bailiffs of the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Judicial Training Center under the Supreme Court, the Supreme Council or Jogorki Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic (Parliament), the Association of Attorneys of Kyrgyzstan, Public Association ”Institute for Public Analysis”, Adilet Legal Clinic, the Criminal Procedure Law and Criminology Faculty of the Law Institute of the Kyrgyz National University of Zhusup Balasagyn, the Criminal Procedure and Prosecutorial Supervision of the Kyrgyz State Law Academy under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Faculty of Law of the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University Boris Yeltsin, the Kirbinsky American University of Central Asia, the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Osh State University, and the Institute of Public Law.