By Claude Zullo (10/8/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)BACKGROUND: With the threat of sanctions from the Council of Europe (COE) looming after its controversial elections, Armenia’s government managed to stave off action by the international body by ratifying Protocol Six of the European Convention on Human Rights, which unconditionally bans capital punishment in peacetime. The COE called the move an “important step,” but also called on the government to implement other measures, including strengthening its judiciary. Without question, an independent judiciary is a cornerstone of democracy and the rule of law; however, in mature democracies, lawyers play an equally important role by defending fundamental rights and freedoms of clients vis-à-vis the state.
By R. Grant Smith (10/8/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)BACKGROUND: The Taliban ban on opium growing in 2000 followed several years of record production that had resulted in large unsold stocks. Farmgate prices before the ban were $35-50 per kilo. The ban effectively eliminated the 2001 crop in areas controlled by the Taliban, with country-wide production dropping to 185 tons of opium (UN estimate) from an estimated 3,300 tons in 2000 and 4,600 tons in 1999.
By Stephen Blank (9/24/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)BACKGROUND: An ongoing trial in New York looks set to implicate Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev for corruption and bribery charges relating to the energy industry in Kazakhstan. Similarly in Uzbekistan, Western press revelations emerging out of the contest for custody of the grandchildren of President Islam Karimov by his daughter Gulnara in a New Jersey court reveal an astonishing accumulation of wealth by her through her or her father’s power over the state economy. Likewise, a New York court case is presently implicating Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company and potentially the leadership in that country in similar scandals.
By James Purcell Smith (9/24/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)BACKGROUND: Since December 2002, there have been increasing signs of a revival of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. In late 2001, this organization renamed itself the Islamic Movement of Turkestan (IMT), thus openly proclaiming its purposes of controlling the entire Central Asian region, disregarding the five existing nation-states and their boundaries. The Kyrgyz newspaper “Vecherniy Bishkek” reported on July 23 that bomb explosions in the “Oberon” market in the Bishkek on December 27, 2002 and in a branch of “Bakay bank” in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh on May 8 were directly linked to the Islamic Movement of Turkestan.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.