Provisions of the legal aid group of the NGO Coalition against torture in Tajikistan.

The member-organizations to the Coalition that provide legal assistance to victims of torture and their families have agreed on the following:

1. To Conduct activities for documentation, public investigation of the facts of torture and the victims’ protection in courts and other instances.

2. The primary source of information about the use of torture is the statement of the alleged victim and/or their relatives. Checking the circumstances, set in the application about the use of torture is a necessary part of professional activities of the human rights organization.

3. To apply all available legal measures for protection of the victims of torture, while implementing their activities, such as:

A). Investigation into allegations of abuse:

- Interviewing the victim (to use the forms for documentation the cases of torture developed by members of the Coalition);

- The establishment of the identity of witnesses and their interviews (in case of their consent for the provision of information);

- Obtaining medical records and explanations of doctors (at the request of the victims of torture and/or relatives, if the victim is dead);

- Introduction (if this is possible at that stage) with the materials of the official investigation (through lawyers);

- To provide other evidences;

- Preparation of the inspection report.

B). Legal support

Control over the course of the preliminary investigation of the criminal case:

- The application of the crime to the investigating authority;

- The continuation of its own investigation (data collection and consolidation of additional evidence);

- To combine the obtained documents and evidences to the materials of the official investigation;

- Appealing for interrogation of the newly established witnesses in the frame of the official investigations and conducting other investigative activities (submission of documents, inspection of the scene, conducting examinations, etc.);

- Familiarization with the materials of the official investigation at all appropriate stages (including all cases of refusal to initiate, termination and suspension of the criminal case, and the completion and submission of the prosecution);

- The appeal of each of the illegal acts and omissions of the agency responsible for the official investigation (head of the investigative body, the prosecutor or the court);

- Legal support for the victims and witnesses in the course of their interrogation by the investigating officer (is done by the attorney).

Represent the applicant in court proceedings on the merits:

- Representation of the victim during the trial of the criminal case on charges of alleged offenders (including appeal and supervisory authority);

- Representation of the victim’s interests on the civil suit against the public authority for compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage (including appeal and supervisory authorities).

C). Using of international mechanisms of protection:

- Preparation of reports to the UN Special Procedures;

- Preparation of reports to the UN Human Rights Committee;

- Implementation of the UN Human Rights Committee’ considerations on the national level.

D). Related events:

- Measures to ensure the safety of victims, witnesses and their families;

- Medical and rehabilitation activities;

- Information support;

- Public actions and public campaigns.

4. While providing the legal assistance and protection of victims of torture, to provide each other with expertise, advice and assistance, including the following:

- Documenting the cases of torture and conducting public investigation in the region where the organization has no representation. Organizations must provide quarterly updated lists of projects and missions in the region with contact information of the responsible persons;

- Timely reporting of cases taken to avoid duplication of activities;

- Redirection of the cases to a specialized organization according to the monthly updated list of the current activities of specialized organizations; In cases when a specific case can be taken by several organizations, a decision should be made upon agreement of the parties on the basis of the principles of public interest;

- In case the protection of the victim of torture carried out by several member-organizations of the Coalition, one organization must act as a Coordinator. The decision on the coordinating organization to be taken by mutual agreement;

- Redirection of the cases to another organization in case of lack of own resources (lawyers to represent victims in court, representation in the region, etc.). In this case, the responsibility for the quality of legal aid is laid upon the organization providing effective protection for victims of torture;

5. In the frame of the Coalition collaboration, organizations can provide funds for supporting the transportation payment, fees, and other resources for the effective protection of victims of torture.

- For receiving the payment for transportation to document the cases of torture or providing protection for the victims of torture in the state or judiciary agency, the organization (a lawyer) provides information about the victim (according to the form of documentation of torture), and any other relevant information, as well as other accompanying financial documents according to the requirements of organizations to make payments;

- While making the payments to the lawyers/attorneys of the member-organizations of the Coalition, the responsibility for the quality of the assistance is laid upon the organization performing the actual protection of the victim of torture.

6. Organizations with Honorarium Fund have the right to choose a counsel (not members of the coalition) under the list of lawyers, rendering services for victims of torture. Control over the quality of the services involved by lawyers, is made by the organization carrying out the payment.

7. To ensure the safety of victims of torture and their families, members of the Coalition should refrain from the wide dissemination of information on the stage of verification of facts. During the formal public communication and implementation of public actions (actions, claims) not to provide information about the victim of torture without his/her consent or their relatives (data Protection). During the exchange of information and discussion of legal issues in the implementation of professional activities, individual cases should be coded.

8. To ensure the access to legal assistance for the victims of torture and their families, the organizations-members of the group for proving legal aid, will appoint lawyers on duty during weekends and public holidays

9. In cases of receiving information about the massive violations of human rights of a group of persons, as well as on sensitive cases (such as political affairs, charges on terrorism and extremism), the coalition will establish a rapid response groups for documenting the facts of torture and the protection of victims of torture.

10. Recognizing the right of every person to have access to justice and the presumption of innocence, the legal aid group members have decided that they will not provide legal advice and legal representation to persons accused of torture and other forms of ill-treatment

11. The legal aid group members will provide each other assistance to increase the capacity for documentation of torture, public inquiry, strategies and techniques of protection of victims of torture, providing legal assistance to certain risk groups, as well as the exchange of good practices in this area.