Accepted Paper:

Courts of women-aksakals in the Kyrgyz Republic  


Aisuluu Abubakirova (LLC Kutaalam)

Paper long abstract:

Aisuluu Abubakirova, Master of jurisprudence, researcher

Courts of women-aksakals in the Kyrgyz Republic

The image of the Mother has long been respected in the Kyrgyz society. Therefore, when in 1993 courts of aksakals (aksakal - elder, wise person), acting on the basis of the customary law (adat) were established in Kyrgyzstan, courts of women-aksakals appeared too. These are public bodies created on a voluntary basis and on the basis of electivity from among women over 50 years of age who are respected in local communities. They complement the judicial systems when considering the disputes between residents of one settlement. Their powers include property, labor and family disputes, criminal cases for minor offences.

This research is aimed at studying the prerequisites for establishing of a court of women-aksakals in the modern Kyrgyzstan, the specifics and problems of its activities.

Courts of women-aksakals are especially important in rural and remote areas. There they can act as ombudsmen. These bodies are used by rural women to protect their rights. It happens that in the course of hearings members of the court appeal to female principle: "She (the chairman of the court) speaks as a mother and a grandmother." Members of the court also take into account the local traditions, peculiarities of mentality and use the methods of people's diplomacy. They seek not to punish, but to reconcile the parties, acting as mediators. A respectful attitude of the society to a Mother, from whom it is not insulting to listen to reproaches, helps in resolving of disputes. This is important because in the recent history of the republic there are examples when domestic disputes developed into interethnic conflicts. Courts of aksakals operate on a voluntary basis and are the most accessible mechanism for resolving of disputes for women with low-income. However, there are difficulties in organizing the activities of courts of aksakals: not always chairmen of such courts have the necessary skills of legal work; there are difficulties with appealing against the decisions of courts of aksakals.

The research is based on reports on the activities of courts of aksakals in Kyrgyzstan, legal documents, data of field researches and periodicals. Research materials can be used to prepare the works and manuals in the field of the Kyrgyz customary law and women's rights, as well as to optimize the work of courts of women-aksakals in Kyrgyzstan.

Key words: court, customary law, women, Kyrgyz Republic

Panel LAW-02
Trials and Courts in Eurasia