Hello, you are listening to the Global Judicial Integrity Network podcast. In this episode, we will focus on the professional training of judicial staff. My name is Anastasia Platonova and I am pleased to welcome the judge and the member of the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Muzzafar Akhmedov. Judge Akhmedov, thank you very much for taking the time to participate in the recording of our podcast. To begin with, please tell us briefly how you would describe your professional experience Hello, I’d like to tell you how I got started. After completing my studies, I worked as a consultant got a job as a consultant to the Supreme Court, then I was appointed a judge of the district criminal court of the city of Tashkent. After that, I worked in the Tashkent City Criminal Court as a judge. From 2015 to 2017, I worked as Deputy Judicial Inspectorate at the High Qualification Commission for the selection of recommendations of judges under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Since 2017, I have been a member and a judge of the Supreme Judicial Council. I want to say that I worked initially only in the judicial sector, I have never worked in another sector. As far as I know, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan was created relatively recently, please tell us what contributed to its foundation? As you probably know, the second stage of reform in Uzbekistan began in 2016 – the judicial and legal sector is also being reformed – by presidential decree of February 7, 2017 number 3949. According to this decree, the body responsible for selecting and appointing judges in the Supreme Judicial Council. It was given the status of a constitutional body, as changes were made to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Before, the High Qualification Commission did not meet international standards – this was in the report of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and on his initiative the Supreme Judicial Council was established. As far as I know, you are training judicial officers. Please tell us what factors you consider when preparing your training courses? We have training centres for legal practitioners at the Ministry of Justice to train judges. They have trainings for three months. Recently, a high school of judges was created at the initiative of the president, and the school’s staff is already being formed. Now judges will have to be trained for one year. Before being accepted to the school, they need to take an exam to be able to study in this school. Prior to training, their knowledge is checked, and, most importantly, the candidate’s impeccable reputation is checked. After that, if they are selected, they go to the high school of judges. You mentioned the importance of the reputation of the judges. Why do you think judicial reputation and ethics are such important factors? It is important to note that judges decide the fate of people. They must be honest and incorruptible, as described in the Bangalore Principles, as well as independent, adhering to judicial ethics. If a judge violates the rules of conduct, this already detracts from the authority of justice not only from the judge, but from justice and this leads to people’s distrust of justice. Returning to your comment about the reputation of judges, were there any cases where the judge was rejected due to the fact that he did not meet the criteria? And how was it settled later? When a document arrives at the Supreme Judicial Council, the council examines if there are any factors affecting a person’s impeccable reputation, and if there are, he/she is denied a judge position. There have been cases, and repeatedly. Impeccable reputation is a loose concept, so we approach each case individually. Besides the Bangalore Principles, what other ethical standards do you use when preparing courses? The Supreme Judicial Council adopted a code of ethical conduct for judges. This code meets the requirements of the Bangalore Principles. In addition, we consider the conclusions and recommendations, as well as disciplinary responsibility. There are the Kiev Recommendations, and others. We mainly have the Bangalore Principles and a code of ethical conduct for judges. You are now taking part in a training of trainers of the Global Judicial Integrity Network. Do you see the possibility of incorporating new knowledge into the preparation for the courses? I am very glad to be present in this course. I have learned a lot here, especially how to facilitate this is the most important aspect of training and I have exchanged views with colleagues. I think that in the future we will conduct courses for judges in this field specifically, on this topic of judicial ethics and I will try to apply all the knowledge that I have received here in my country. Thank you very much Judge Akhmedov for the very interesting information about the training of judicial staff and continuing training courses. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Dear listeners, thank you for being with us and following the updates of the podcast series of the Global Judicial Integrity Network.