Features - Researching Tajik Law: A Guide to the Tajik Legal SystemBy Nargis Bozorova, Published on April 1, 2002
Nargis Bozorova is Assistant Coordinator of the Law Program of the Tajik Branch of Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation, the Law Information Center). She is a graduate of the Law Faculty of Tajik National University (1994). She worked as a Senior Adviser of the Committee on Law and Order, Defense and Security of the Parliament, and as Senior expert in the Law Department in the President of Tajikistan Office.
The Republic of Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in the Southeastern part of Central Asia. In the West and the North it borders with the Republics of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan; in the East and the South - with the People's Republic of China and the Islamic State of Afghanistan. The state border with the Peoples Republic of China is 430 km long, and the border with Afghanistan is 1,030 km long. Southeast Tajikistan is separated from India and Pakistan by a 15-65 km wide strip of Afghan territory. The territory of the country is 143,100 square km; 93% of the territory are the mountains of Pamirs, Tian Shan and Hissor-Alay (highest peak - Ismoili Somoni 7,495 meters). The Capital of the Republic of Tajikistan is the city of Dushanbe.
The state language is Tajik (Indo-European language, the Iranian group). Russian is the language of inter-ethnic communication.
Islam, Sunni. Also Christianity, Judaism, Baptism and other religious confessions.
As of January 1, 2000 the population of Tajikistan consisted of 6,105.300 people, out of which 48% were men and 52% were women. (overview by Asia-Plus Information Agency, www.asiaplus.tajnet.com)
Tajiks is a nation of Persian origin, the most ancient one in Central Asia. The first Tajik state was founded in the 9th century by Ismoili Somoni and ruled by the House of Somonis (875-999). From 1929 to 1991, Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Republic of USSR. Tajikistan declared its independence in September 9, 1991.
The Basic Structure of the Tajik Legal System
At the present time, the legal system of the territory of Tajikistan covers the principles, institutes of foreign law, whose origin in the Romano-Germanic legal system.
In addition, the current legal system has conserved some institutions and norms of traditional socialist law, particularly in the areas of state property and land ownership.
The Republic of Tajikistan is ruled by the Constitution (November 6th, 1994).
In the legal system of Tajikistan there exists strict branch classification. The legal system subdivides into the branches, amongst which the fundamental ones are constitutional, administrative, civil, criminal law, as well as civil procedure and criminal procedure law. Recently international law (private international law and public international law) is undergoing great development.
Types of Legislation
For the legal system of Tajikistan is characteristic of a precise hierarchy of the sources. In accordance with legislation of Tajikistan the sources of law are:
The Constitution of Tajikistan
The Constitution holds the supreme position and possesses the highest legal power, its norms have a direct action. the Constitution establishes the principle of separation of powers and three branches of government: legislative, executive, judicial.
The new Constitution contains one more constitutional determination of principle: "Laws and other legal act contravening Constitution are null and void".
The state and all its authorities, officials, citizens and theirs associations are obliged to observe and execute the Constitution and laws of the Republic.
Legislative acts are divided into constitutional laws, laws and Codes. Constitutional laws are the laws indicated in the Constitution directly and regulating the most important sides of vital activity of state. They have a special procedure of adoption (must be passed by qualified majority of common number of deputies of Majlisi Namoyandagon and approved by two thirds of members Majlisi Milli).
Other Legal Acts
President's decrees and instructions, orders and instructions of the Government and other executive bodies, acts of local authorities, rules and regulations of organizations.
International legal acts recognized by Tajikistan are the component part of the legal system of Tajikistan. In the event of the discrepancy between the republican laws and the recognized by Tajikistan international legal acts are used the norms of the last ones.
The Government Structure
Tajikistan is a centralised country ruled by a presidential system. The President of Tajikistan is elected by direct universal suffrage every 7 years (amendments on of the Constitution in September 1999). The President is the Head of State and Executive Power (Chairman of Government).
The Tajik Bicameral Parliament or Majlisi Oli of the Republic of Tajikistan consists of the Majlisi Milli (National Assembly) (33 seats - three fourths of members are indirectly elected by people deputies (delegates) of administrative-territorial units on their joint meetings; one fourth is appointed by President) and the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Assembly of Representative) - 63 seats; deputies are elected under a single-member majoritarian system. Term of office of Parliament (both Chambers) is five years.
The Executive Branch
The Executive branch of the republic includes the Chairman of Government, the Prime Minister, the Government and the ministries. The Ministries are Foreign Affairs, Security, Defence, Interior, Emergency and Civil Defence, Justice, Economy and Trade, Finance, Power Engineering, Communications, Agriculture, Irrigation, Environment Protection, Labour and Social Protection, Health, Transportation, Culture, Education.
The Court System
Judiciary power are implemented by Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Economic Court, Military Court, Court of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, regional, Dushanbe city, city and district courts. Establishment of extraordinary courts are forbidden.
The judges of military court, judges of Court of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, regional, Dushanbe city, city and district courts, judges of economic courts of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, regions and Dushanbe city are appointed by the President of the Republic from nominations of the Council of Justice.
Constitutional Court consist of 7 members, one of them is the representative of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. The authority of Constitutional Court is determination of conformity of laws, other legal acts of state and public organisations to the Constitution of Republic and settlements of disputes among state organisations.
Tajikistan is divided into several administrative levels, the most important are: Viloyat (3 - Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous, Sughd and Khatlon Regions), Nohiya (district - 52), Shahr (town - 17).
The local representative authority in viloyat-s, nohiya-s and shahr-s is the assembly of people's deputies, which is chaired by the chairman. The local executive government is governed by the president's representative - chairman of viloyat, nohiya, shahr.
The self government authority of Shahrak (settlement - 46) and Deha (village) is Jamoat (local organization). Dehot is 358.
Tajik Paid Subscriptions
First of all the laws are published in "Sadoyi mardum", the official newspaper of the Parliament in Tajik, as according to the Constitution the laws come into force after official publication. Some of Parliament's decrees, President's orders and Government's decrees are published in it too.
Also all laws, codes and decrees of Parliament are officially published (paper) in the Akhbori Majlisi Oli (Parliament Gazette). The Gazette is also available in Russian.
The principal editor of all codes adopted for last decade (Criminal, Civil, Labour, Custom, Tax, Housing, Aerial Codes) both in Tajik and in Russian is the Publishing House "Conuniyat" of the Ministry of Justice.
The collected texts of the legislation in force are also available in unofficial editions. The most complete collection of Tajik legislation in Russian is on CD-ROM "Adliya" (Encyclopaedia of Tajik Legislation) produced by USAID. The Law Dissemination and Legal Information System Project financed by Asian Development Bank is dealing with development of legal database that constitute sub-legal acts.
Tajik Internet Sources
They are very rare. One is http://www.law.tojikiston.com. Projects on legal sites of some institutions are under development.
English Translations -- Printed Sources
Some organisations (for the most part international ones) have unofficial translations of some legal materials.