Preliminary Hearings: A New Procedural Tool for Defense Attorneys to Protect the Rights of Criminal Defendants
Preliminary Hearings: A New Procedural Tool for Defense Attorneys to Protect the Rights of Criminal Defendants

On 12-13 July, Regional Dialogue, with grant support from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Affairs (DRL) of the U.S. Department of State, conducted a Train-the-Trainer workshop for seven Uzbekistan criminal defense lawyers as part of a continuing, cooperative program with the Chamber of Advocates to provide legal education and training for criminal defense lawyers throughout every region of Uzbekistan on new developments and revisions to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The topic of this latest program was Preliminary Hearings, a completely new stage in criminal proceedings, added to the CPC as Chapter 49, Article 405 in February 2021. The participants, who have agreed to serve as regional trainers, will take what they learned during this two-day training and teach their fellow attorneys around the country over the next few months.

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The training program was prepared, and the workshop was directed by American lawyer Gregory Weddle, Regional Dialogue Legal Specialist, and Nozima Shamsiyeva, Regional Dialogue Program Manager. During the workshop, the participants reviewed and discussed all aspects of the new legislation on the institution of preliminary hearings in detail. The workshop focused primarily on the various types of pre-trial motions permitted under the new law, such as motions to dismiss the criminal case and to exclude illegally obtained evidence, and the circumstances that might give rise to a defense lawyer filing such a motion on behalf of their client in a criminal proceeding. After discussing the types of motions authorized by the legislation, the participants were presented with a hypothetical fact scenario and asked to decide what motions should be filed on behalf of the defendant in that scenario, and then formulate an outline of such motions. Finally, the participants were asked to deliver a short oral argument in support of a motion. As has become a hallmark of many Regional Dialogue-sponsored events, this was a learn-by-doing process.

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The designated team of trainers consisted of the following attorney-trainers from the Chamber of Advocates: Madinabonu Nasritdinova, Bakhtiyor Kulboshev, Farkhad Romanov, one of the winners of the Exceptional Lawyer competition organized by Regional Dialogue, Abdumalik Abdullaev, Davron Yakubov, Davron Fozilov, Dildora Nurjanova. Additionally, Chamber of Advocates Deputy Chairpersons Davron Saidov and Guzal Sayfieva attended as observers.

During the second day, Mr. Weddle summarized the experience: “The real value of this type of training program is its far-reaching effectiveness. Pre-trial motions practice is now a critical aspect of every defense lawyer’s representation of a client charged in a criminal case. These attorneys will now be able to share their knowledge with dozens of other lawyers throughout the country, and those lawyers, in turn, will be able to share what they have learned with their colleagues. This, in my view, is the essence of continuing legal education.”

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Donors
International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Department Of State