Ambassador Pamela L. Spratlen’s Welcome Remarks at Justice Reform Roundtable

MPR, January 26, 2018, 1500
(As Prepared)

Good afternoon!  Добрый день!  Assalamu aleikum.  I want to extend my sincerest thanks to all of you for coming today.

Every year on January 15, Americans celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader.  On justice, Dr. King once said, “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Dr. King’s thoughts on justice are especially well-suited to the topic of discussion today, the current and future prospects for justice reform in Uzbekistan.

President Mirziyoyev has prioritized judicial reform, and rightly so.  The United States welcomes these efforts and works to support them through Rule of Law projects implemented by our partners Regional Dialogue and UNDP.

Fair treatment before the law is vital in any society.  Beyond protecting the rights of citizens, rule of law is essential to creating a stable business climate to attract both local and foreign investment.  Justice sector reforms that support rule of law will instill confidence in those looking to invest in Uzbekistan, and will ensure that Uzbek entrepreneurs reap the rewards they deserve.

The United States welcomes ongoing judicial reform in Uzbekistan.  We firmly believe that an independent judiciary is critical in a democracy.  Achieving that goal requires adequate training, financing, and authority to make decisions – objectively, consistently, and transparently.

Reform takes time, and there are challenges.  But the time and effort are worth it to build a society based on rule of law and enjoy all the benefits it brings.  To this end, the United States stands ready to support Uzbekistan as it works to implement these reforms.

Our rule of law programs have a long history in Uzbekistan.  The United States has sponsored many trainings and exchanges for judges, prosecutors, and lawyers.  Through the United States Agency for International Development, we have also worked with Uzbek civil and economic courts to introduce the E-sud system for case filing and processing.  This new system broadens citizen’s access to an open and fair trial by allowing them to track cases through all stages of the judicial process.

I hope the discussion today is fruitful and brings forward ideas that contribute to the ongoing reforms prioritized by the President of Uzbekistan.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on current and future prospects for justice sector reform in Uzbekistan.

Thank you!