The essence and significance of the main constitutional innovations
As part of the constitutional reforms, several significant modifications and additions are in process, reflecting the following main ideas and provisions:
- The embodiment of the will of the multinational people of Uzbekistan, in which the highest value is a person, his rights, and freedoms. The determination of state’s ideology, social development, constitutional values, reflecting identity of constitutional and legal creativity of the Uzbek people.
The preamble determined the priorities of the constitutional development of Uzbekistan at a new stage in the improvement of national statehood, including:
- adherence to human rights and freedoms, national and universal values, and principles of state sovereignty;
- confirmation of loyalty to the ideals of democracy, freedom and equality, social justice and solidarity;
- focus on building a humane democratic state, an open and just society,
in which the highest value is a person, his life, freedom, honor and dignity;
- the desire to strengthen and develop friendly relations Uzbekistan with
the world community, first of all, with neighboring states on the basis of cooperation, mutual support, peace, and harmony;
- ensuring a decent life for citizens, interethnic and interfaith harmony, well-being, and prosperity of our multinational Uzbekistan and others.
- II. Defining new principles that sustain Uzbekistan’s legal standing as an independent, democratic, and sovereign state.
It is established that Uzbekistan is a sovereign, democratic, legal, social, and secular state with a republican form of government (Article 1).
The provisions outlined in Article 1 serve as the foundation for Uzbekistan’s constitutional reforms, and all subsequent alterations and additions to the draft’s text are intended to guarantee the effective implementation of these key provisions.
At the same time, it is established that the provisions of this article of the Constitution cannot be revised, which ensures the stability and invariance of the state’s aforementioned fundamental features. (Article 154).
III. The constitutional reform is intended to radically alter the paradigm of thinking and the principles of activity in the state and public administration systems, establishing the postulate “person – society – state” as the basis for relations in New Uzbekistan rather than the principle “state – society – person”.
It should be noted that almost all changes and additions to the Constitution since its adoption in 1992 have primarily dealt with issues of state and social construction, specifically the activities of the President, Parliament, Government, electoral system, and so on.
In turn, more than half of the proposed amendments to the Constitution aim to strengthen guarantees and mechanisms for protecting human rights and freedoms.
There are all reasons to believe that every Uzbek citizen will be able to say confidently, “This is my Constitution”, because it reflects the interests of all segments of the population.
In the Constitution, all signs of a constitutional state were developed, where power must be limited in its actions by law, subordinated to the will of the sovereign people, and called upon to ensure the rights and freedoms of the individual:
3.1. The constitutional mechanisms for ensuring the supremacy of the Constitution and the law, as the most important guarantee of the democratic renewal of the country, and reliable protection of human rights and freedoms, have been significantly strengthened.
– The Basic Law has the supreme legal force, direct effect and forms the basis of a single legal space throughout the country (Article 15);
– Laws and other regulatory legal acts are adopted based on and in fulfillment of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Article 16);
– The right of citizens and legal entities to apply directly to the Constitutional Court with a complaint about the compliance with the Constitution of the law applied to them by the court in a specific case, the consideration of which in court has been completed, and if all other remedies have been exhausted (Article 133), is secured.
For reference: fixing in the Constitution the right of citizens to directly apply
to the Constitutional Court, whose decisions are final and not subject to appeal , will serve as the most important guarantee of human rights and freedoms, ensuring the supremacy of the Constitution and the law.
3.2. Constitutional guarantees have been strengthened to ensure basic personal rights and freedoms of person and citizen.
– In Uzbekistan, human rights and freedoms are recognized and guaranteed by the generally recognized norms of international law and by the Constitution. Human rights and freedoms belong to everyone from birth (Article 19);
– Human rights and freedoms are directly applicable and determine the essence and content of laws, the activities of state bodies, and the self-government bodies of citizens and their officials. Measures of legal influence on a person applied by state bodies must be based on the principle of proportionality and be sufficient to achieve the goals provided for by laws (Article 20);
For reference: this most important international legal principle means that the provisions of the Constitution on rights and freedoms have a direct regulatory impact on public relations. Simultaneously, rights and liberties are recognized as directly applicable, regardless of whether legislative acts have been enacted to specify and determine the rules, mechanisms, and procedures for their effective implementation.
– for the first time in the Constitution, it is established that every person has the right to the free development of his personality, and no one can be entrusted with a duty not established by law without his consent.
At the same time, it is established that human rights and freedoms can be limited only in accordance with the law, and only to the extent necessary to protect constitutional order, public health, public morality, the rights and freedoms of other persons, public safety, and public order. (Article 21);
This rule is introduced based on the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 29) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 4, 5, 12, 19, 21, and 22), fixing the conditions for restrictions on human rights and freedoms.
– It is established that a citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan cannot be expelled from Uzbekistan or extradited to another state. The state, by the norms of international law, takes care of maintaining and developing ties with compatriots living abroad (Article 23);
These norms will make it possible to consolidate state guarantees for the protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens, and will also serve to create conditions for the development of relations with compatriots living abroad, the formation of a positive image of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the international arena.
– The right to life is an inalienable right of every person and is protected by law, in connection with which the Constitution establishes that the death penalty is prohibited in the Republic of Uzbekistan (Article 25);
The abolition of the death penalty was introduced into the legislation of Uzbekistan in 2008. Now, this prohibition is enshrined at the level of the Constitution.
– Honor and human dignity are inviolable. It is determined that nothing can be the basis for their derogation (Article 26).
3.3. Reliable legal mechanisms for the protection of a person and a citizen have been established, incorporating almost all modern methods of protecting human rights, including those who have broken the law, from any arbitrariness on the part of state bodies and officials.
– guarantees for ensuring human rights and freedoms have been significantly strengthened, incl. by fixing at the constitutional level the universally recognized institutions of “habeas corpus” and “Miranda rules“.
Reference: to the “Miranda rule,” which was enshrined in the Constitution and states that during detention, a person, must be informed of his rights, and the law enforcement officer detaining him must receive a positive response to the question of whether he understands what was said; this rule is followed in all democratic countries (USA, UK, Germany, France, etc.).
In particular, the following norms are introduced aimed at securing these institutions (Articles 27 and 31):
a) during detention, the person must be informed about his/her rights and the reasons for detention in a language he/she understands;
b) the suspect, accused or convicted person is not obliged to prove his or her innocence and may at any time exercise the right to remain silent;
c) arrest, commitment, and confinement are allowed only by a court decision. Without a court decision, a person may not be detained for more than forty-eight hours;
d) everyone has the right to privacy in correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, electronic, and other communications. This right may be restricted only in accordance with the law and on the basis of a court decision.
e) no one may enter the house against the will of the people who live there. Entry into a dwelling, as well as seizure and inspection of it, are only permitted in the cases and manner prescribed by law.A search of the residenceis permitted only in accordance with the law and on the basis of a court decision;
In order to ensure the guarantees of judicial protection of human rights, the powers to authorize the interception of communications and conduct a search are transferred from the prosecutor’s court.
– for the first time in the Basic Law (Articles 27 and 28) it is stipulated that:
a) in favor of the suspect, accused, defendant, or convicted person all doubts about guilt are resolved if the possibilities to eliminate them have been exhausted, which is a guarantee of the implementation of the most important principle of the “presumption of innocence”;
b)no one is obliged to testify against himself/herself and his/her close relatives. At the same time, the Constitution clearly states: a person cannot be convicted or punished if his confession of his guilt is the only evidence against him or her;
c)individuals deprived of their liberty have the right to humane treatment and respect for the honor and dignity inherent in the human person.
d)person’s criminal record and the legal consequences arising thereof cannot be grounds for restricting the rights of his relatives, etc.;
– it is established that everyone has the right to the protection of his data, as well as to demand the correction of inaccurate data, the destruction of data collected about him illegally or no longer having legal grounds (Article 31);
– the right of every person to be assisted by a lawyer is guaranteed at their choice, at any stage of the criminal proceedings, state guarantees are strengthened to provide victims with protection, access to justice and the creation of conditions for compensating the harm caused to them (Article 29);
– defines everyone’s right to protect their rights and freedoms by all means not prohibited by law. At the same time, to restore their violated rights and freedoms, everyone is guaranteed the right to have their case heard by a competent, independent, and impartial court within the time limits established by law. Furthermore, the Republic of Uzbekistan’s legislation and international treaties grant everyone the constitutional right to apply to international bodies for the protection of human rights and freedoms if all available domestic remedies have been exhausted. (Article 55).
3.4. The right of everyone to choose a place of stay and residence, and free travel outside Uzbekistan, with the exception of restrictions established by law, is secured. A citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan has the right to return to Uzbekistan without hindrance (Article 32).
3.5. For the first time, a constitutional norm is introduced on the creation by the state of conditions for providing access to the worldwide information network Internet (Article 33).
For reference: The UN, as per the Resolution of June 3, 2011, recognizes the right to access the Internet as one of the inalienable human rights. Similar norms can be found in the constitutions of Georgia, Mexico, and other countries.
3.6. The political rights of citizens are expanding, and the right of citizens to equal access to public services is enshrined at the constitutional level (Article 37).
- IV. The Basic Law’s enshrined principles of state foreign policyare supplemented by a provision on “territorial integrity of states,”with the definition of “peaceful foreign policy” as its primary vector.
– The foreign policy of Uzbekistan is based on the principles of sovereign equality of states, non-use of force or threat of force, inviolability of frontiers, territorial integrity of states, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and other generally recognized principles and norms of international law (Article 17);
– The Republic of Uzbekistan pursues a peaceful foreign policy aimed at the comprehensive development of bilateral and multilateral relations with states and international organizations (Article 18).
- The signs of a social state have been developed in the Constitution, the policy of which is aimed at affirming the principle of social justice and solidarity, achieving a decent quality and standard for the living of citizens, and assisting those in need.