Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have both carried out revision of their penal codes (Criminal Codes, Criminal Executive Codes and Criminal Procedural Codes) over the last few years (from 2013 to the present in Kyrgyzstan and since 2009 in Tajikistan). PRI has been heavily involved from early on in the process in both countries, working with the authorities and civil society in drafting the Codes to encourage their compliance with international standards on the administration of justice and prison management.
In November 2013, Penal Reform International’s (PRI) Central Asia Office launched a 17 month regional project on ‘Humanisation of the criminal justice systems of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan through establishing criminal legislative codes in line with international human rights standards’. The project was funded through the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Conflict Pool.
This mid-term evaluation covered both countries and assesses progress in achieving the following objectives:
- Establishing a range of non custodial sanctions in legislation
- Proper protection of children deprived of their liberty and specifically, the separation of children from adults in all facilities and the prohibition of solitary confinement)
- Defining torture in legislation in compliance with international human rights law and appropriate sanctions for perpetrators of torture
- Capacity building of civil society so it can better advocate for government compliance with international human rights standards in the justice sector.
While the penal codes under revision have not yet been finalised in either country, the mid-term evaluation assessed that PRI had made good progress towards the project’s overall objectives.
- In both countries, the new draft codes include a variety of non-custodial measures and provide for the future establishment of probation services to supervise non-custodial sentences.
- In Kyrgyzstan, solitary confinement is set to be reduced from seven days to 72 hours.
- In both countries, the proposed definition of torture is in line with the UN Convention against Torture.
- In Kyrgyzstan, civil society has been successful in influencing the revisions with 60-75 per cent take-up of their recommendations and PRI plans a similar approach with NGOs in Tajikistan during the public hearing stage of the revision.
About this evaluation
This evaluation forms part of a series of evaluations being undertaken by PRI in an effort to test and develop methods to rigorously assess and effectively communicate the medium-to-long-term impact of PRI’s projects and programmes.
The evaluation was carried out by PRI’s Evaluation and Learning Adviser in Autumn 2014 using a qualitative research methodology known as Process Tracing. Process tracing identifies target outcomes and then focuses data collection and analysis on determining the extent to which these targeted outcomes were realised and the importance of the project’s contribution to those outcomes.
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