The judiciary in Tajikistan remains firmly subordinated to the executive, says BTI report

9 months ago Web Desk 0

Despite the constitutional provision for the separation of powers and their institutional differentiation, the executive reportedly holds both a formal and informal monopoly on power. Checks and balances are both formally limited and largely ineffective due to informal modes of governance.


Tajikistan Country Report 2020, in particular, notes that the Constitutional Court of Tajikistan has judicial review powers to strike down laws and executive decrees that contradict the country’s constitution. However, despite the fact that a wide range of actors, including individuals, have the right to appeal, the Constitutional Court lacks popular standing and remains largely an inactive institution, hearing only a few cases per annum.


The bicameral parliament, dominated by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDPT), has reportedly limited competencies and, in practice, tends not to exercise its constitutional powers, voting as instructed by the executive. Debates in parliament occur mostly when the executive requests them. Most members of parliament are former senior executives, promoted as a form of honorary retirement.


The judiciary in Tajikistan is de jure independent and institutionally differentiated but, in practice, it remains firmly subordinated to the executive, according to the report. The president controls the judiciary through his constitutional prerogative to nominate and dismiss judges and the prosecutor general. Despite reform efforts to balance the rights of parties in judicial processes, prosecutors remain highly influential in criminal and civil cases. Moreover, the prosecutor general has the authority to initiate criminal or administrative cases against judges and to commission coercive procedural measures, including but not limited to taking people into custody, house arrest, temporary suspension of office and search and seizure.


Rampant levels of corruption and abuse of power have reportedly remained part of Tajikistan’s political system despite repeated presidential announcements that anti-corruption efforts were being stepped up.


Many senior officials in the Tajikistan government have secondary roles in business and even extensive property, in the country and abroad. This is typically tolerated unless an official falls from favor for other reasons. Conversely, the use of secretive offshore vehicles by the country’s state-owned aluminum producer (TALCO) was publicized by the country’s own Ministry of Finance in 2016, which reported that over US$1 billion was not accounted for. This revelation did not lead to a legal investigation. Likewise, the severe crisis in the banking sector since 2016 has had no consequences for those responsible.


All civil rights in accordance with international human rights standards are encoded in domestic legislation. However, in practice, civil rights are frequently violated.


The Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) is a measure of the development status and governance of political and economic transformation processes in developing and transition countries around the world. The BTI has been published biennially by the Bertelsmann Stiftung since 2006. The index measures and compares the quality of government action in a ranking list based on self-recorded data and analyzes successes and setbacks on the path to constitutional democracy and a market economy accompanied by sociopolitical support.


Source: Asia Plus