What are the concepts of Probable Cause and Pre-trial release and detention, and why are they significant?
What are the concepts of Probable Cause and Pre-trial release and detention, and why are they significant?

Regional Dialogue is actively supporting the reform efforts aimed at enhancing the Uzbek criminal justice system. Our support encompasses technical assistance and hands-on training sessions. Over the past decade, our committed experts have played a pivotal role in shaping various chapters of Uzbekistan's new Constitution, particularly those pertaining to the protection of individual rights and the authority of the judiciary, prosecutors, investigators, and defense attorneys. A significant stride forward has been achieved with the introduction of court warrants for searches and other investigative measures, alongside a notable reinforcement of the Judiciary's role in pre-trial proceedings.

Entrusting the judiciary with the new powers within the framework of the new Constitution marks a significant advancement, crucial for ensuring legal certainty and safety for individuals, as well as the integrity of future criminal proceedings. The degree of safeguarding individual rights is intricately linked to the judiciary's capacity to oversee investigators, evaluate evidence, and deliver fair and proportionate rulings on detention. Simultaneously, conducting pre-trial hearings and associated tasks in a prompt and lawful manner is imperative for the efficacy of subsequent trials, ensuring the presentation of admissible evidence and furnishing trial judges with requisite legal and factual context to render pivotal decisions that impact not only the accused but also their families.

In close consultation with local partners regarding the needs of the Uzbek judiciary, we have developed a specialized two-day practical workshop focusing on typical judicial responsibilities during the pre-trial phases of criminal proceedings. This workshop places particular emphasis on the authorization process for searches, applying the probable cause standard, and conducting detention hearings. Following the successful inaugural workshop in January 2024, and buoyed by positive feedback from the Supreme Judicial Council and individual judges, we have decided to replicate the workshop across various regions of Uzbekistan, thereby encompassing the entire network of first-instance criminal judges nationwide.

For this forthcoming workshop we invited Suzanne Mitchell, an experienced US magistrate judge from the Western District of Oklahoma, with a wealth of experience from both the US Attorney’s Office and private practice. Joining her was Legal Specialist Greg Weddle, a former US prosecutor, who served as the workshop moderator. Additionally, participating online was Goran Klemenčič, Regional Dialogue’s Legal Expert and former Minister of Justice of Slovenia. Throughout the two-day conference, participants had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with international best practices and standards. Armed with this knowledge, they can now actively contribute to the refinement of national laws and practices concerning pre-trial release, detention, and ultimately fortify the capacity of the Uzbek justice sector to uphold the Rule of Law.

This workshop was organized in collaboration with the Supreme Judicial Council and has received support from the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

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