Officials are touting new procedures for selecting judges as a significant step toward increasing transparency and promoting the concept of judicial independence in Kyrgyzstan. But, for some civil society activists, the approach is sowing more doubt than confidence in the system.
Critics of the process worry that the country’s current leaders are mimicking the practices of their predecessors by trying to pack courts with loyalists and recycling judges with tarnished reputations.
Under former presidents Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who personally appointed all judges in the country, the Kyrgyz courts developed a reputation for corruption. On numerous occasions the courts were seen as providing legal backing for political efforts to quash dissent.
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Alisher Khamidov is a freelance writer specializing in Central Asian affairs.