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Authors

Cynthia Alkon

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Reconciliation, defined in Section VI below, provides the most common alternative to criminal prosecutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This article attempts to define and describe the different forms of reconciliation processes in these Central Asian countries. Section IV briefly examines the history, economies, governments, and legal systems including an outline of the criminal procedure of each country. For comparative purposes, Section V briefly examines the development of alternatives to criminal prosecution (generally known as restorative justice) in western nations, by considering the proponents for change, the underlying core values and ethical guidelines, and the types of cases that are typically referred to restorative justice conferences. Next this article, in Section VI, discusses reconciliation in each of the four Central Asian countries by examining who makes the decisions in each country to put a criminal case into reconciliation, what types of cases go to reconciliation, whether they go pre- or post-conviction, and why they go to reconciliation. The article concludes, in Section VII, with an analysis of the problems the reconciliation process creates and the significant risks the process poses for vulnerable victims and for defendants with few human rights protections. Section VII will describe the selection and training of intermediaries, how intermediaries conduct the reconciliation process and the presence or absence of guiding core values and ethical standards. This section also considers who may be present during the reconciliation and whether the participants have control over the process design and outcome and whether the reconciliation is voluntary. Section VII also analyzes whether the reconciliation process protects the rights of defendants by ensuring that communications made in the reconciliation are confidential and precluded from admission into evidence in later proceedings. This section ends by examining the lack of safeguards to protect victims and defendants in reconciliation processes in Central Asia. Finally, the article concludes that the international community and policymakers should not view the increased use of reconciliation in these four Central Asian countries as a sign of reform or improvement in the administration of the criminal justice systems in those countries. Instead, observers should exercise great caution when discussing the expanded use of reconciliation as an alternative to criminal prosecutions in Central Asia. In current practice, the use of reconciliation fails to protect victims, fails to protect defendants' rights, and provides additional opportunities for prosecutorial, judicial, and police corruption.

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