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Judgment Day

The Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan has been considering the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee concerning Azimzhan Askarov for two days. He has been sentenced to life in prison for "organizing a mass disorder" and "abetting murder of a police officer." The Committee's decision, which is advisory in nature, says that Askarov should be immediately released and measures should be taken to restore his violated rights. But the judicial bench of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, chaired by Kakchekey Esenkanov, decided differently: a criminal case against Askarov upon newly discovered evidence was sent to Chui regional court for consideration.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear

Advisor to the International Organization Amnesty International for Central Asia Tatyana Chernovil said that the domestic Themis has not heeded the main message of the UN. Askarov is not released, the compensation was not paid to him, and his right to a fair trial was not implemented in full. The reason for that, as Tatyana Chernovil believes and a number of other international experts agree with her, is the behavior of relatives of the deceased chief of Bazar- Korgon police department. The victims are the main criterion of the law on the "island of democracy." With the help of shouts and threats they dictate their will to the servants of Themis.

The representatives of the aggrieved party were angered by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic and after its announcement they made a scene in the courtroom, lashing out with insults and curses at Askarov's lawyers and representatives of international and domestic human rights organizations. "Do you want to repeat the events of 2010? - The sister of the deceased shouted. - We will arrange a new massacre." "I'll bring you the heads of five Sarts, or it will be not me!" another woman raged. The police-witnesses in the criminal case- were nodding their heads and through their set teeth promised to arrange a new massacre.

"This is a demonstration that the emotions are running high, and of such a scale that, if the Court fully executed the decision of the UN Committee on Human Rights, it could have harmed national security. But the state should be able to ensure the law. If the competent UN body identifies violations of human rights, it is necessary to take measures to comply with this decision. Otherwise, it is contrary to the international obligations of the country and the Basic Law," Tatyana Chernovil said.

Ah, I'm so afraid

 Experts say that the relatives of the deceased police officer should not even attend the Supreme Court hearing. The decision of the Committee is irrelevant to them. Azimzhan Askarov's lawyer Nurbek Toktakunov noted that the issue should be considered solely from the point whether the decision of the Committee is a new basis for the execution of the criminal procedure legislation of the country and release of the man. The background of the same criminal case is not the subject of the litigation.

 Legal experts point out that the decision of the UN Committee shows that Azimzhan Askarov is a victim of human rights violations by the judiciary and is an aggrieved party. There is no way to return the case for the new criminal proceedings in the same resolution.

Participants of the hearing should have been, on the one hand, the applicant in the person of Askarov and his representatives, on the other - representatives of the state, who should be appointed by the executive branch at its discretion. It may be representatives of the Ministry of Justice, but not the relatives of the murdered Myktybek Sulaimanov. By the way, precisely because of the unprecedented pressure exerted by the aggrieved party on the judges and defense witnesses, Azimzhan Askarov could not defend himself against the charges. People, who were willing to testify in court that Askarov is not related to the massacre of the policeman, were afraid that the relatives of the deceased simply eradicate them. Nurbek Toktakunov told that they were not in the local courts, because they feared for their lives. And the testimony of Askarov, as lawyer says, can not be taken as a basis, as it was obtained under torture.

As Tatyana Chernovil noted, the government had to somehow respond to the decision of the UN Committee since the country had no other way out. Kyrgyzstan voluntarily signed the Covenant and must comply with its regulations and rules.

But as the case was not only political but also national, the court tried to decide on the principle "to please everyone." "So, if you found a violation in the course of criminal proceedings, then we will review them. But the demand of the Committee for the immediate release of Askarov and further restoration of his violated rights was not fulfilled. Apparently, the judges thought that such a decision must satisfy all, even though we see by the reaction of relatives that they are unhappy. Unfortunately, the court hearing has been reduced to the study of the circumstances which were not mentioned in the decision of the UN Committee, and they should not be subject to review. And, secondly, the court allowed the expansion of the emotional background, although the chairman is to maintain order in the court room," Tatyana Chernovil stressed.

 It was not hard to figure out

Azimzhan Askarov became a kind of small coin in the geopolitical confrontation between Russia and the United States. Awarding of the human rights activist by the Department of State became a real bomb. It all ended scandalously - Kyrgyzstan's government denounced the cooperation agreement with the U.S. dated 1993. All the projects that have been implemented in the country at the expense of US money turned out to be under the threat.

But the country still needed the money, and the position of the Russian Federation in Kyrgyzstan faltered somehow especially after the termination of the contract on the construction of the Upper Naryn HPP cascade and Kambarata-1. Senior officials of "the island of democracy" have complained that the northern neighbor has financial difficulties. And then there's the coming 100th anniversary of Urkun. And now Kyrgyzstan and the United States intend to work out a new cooperation agreement.

The head of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Kyrgyzstan Sheila Gwaltney noted that during the years of independence of the Kyrgyz Republic it has received grant assistance totally worth about $ 2 billion. She confirmed the U.S. intention to continue cooperation with the Kyrgyz Republic on the basis of trust and mutual respect.

 But the release of Azimzhan Askarov is still open question. The life imprisonment sentence is not canceled. And hysteria around the activist and the decision of the Supreme Court is growing in the society. None of the parties is not satisfied with it and considers it unfair and far-fetched. The state failed to please the West and to calm down the population in the south at the same time.

And it could be much easier, if only Kyrgyzstan complied with its obligations conferred by international institutions and honestly cooperated with the partners.