Kyrgyztsan President Askar Akayev announced, a radical reform of the republic’s law enforcement structures started. First of all, the reform will concern police. The president says, the reform is designed to restore people’s confidence in police, clear police and other power structures off corruption and lazybones, to increase effectiveness of the power structures.
Experts say, tragic events in the Aksy district of the Jelal-Abad region when many civilians were killed by policemen, made the president initiate the reform. Even before official announcement of the accident’s investigation it was perfectly clear, policemen and police officers were cruel and made no attempts for peaceful settlement of the conflict.
At the same time, there are more important reasons for the decision to reform the power structures. Police has lost the image of people’s protector long ago already. People often have problems every time they meet policemen. Nowadays, police seems to be closely connected with criminal structures, policemen often abuse the power for racketeering, extortion and blackmailing.
The president is also concerned about political trustworthiness of law enforcement authorities. Recently Temirbek Akmataliyev, who is said to be really close to the president, was appointed Minister for Internal Affairs. But he can not settle all problems in police alone. The number of policemen in Kyrgyzstan is twice as much as the number of Kyrgyz army. As the tragic events in the Jelal-Abad region demonstrated, the opposition and political opponents of the president often try to use the armed police groups to suit their own ends.
Askar Akayev ordered to create a special commission with Secretary of the Security Council Misir Ashirkulov at head for development of a concept for law enforcement authorities’ reforming. Representatives of official structures, members of the parliament, political parties and non-governmental organizations are in the commission’s structure. The fact demonstrates democratic character of the coming reforms.
For a successful realization of the reform it was decided to raise wages to policemen, equip law enforcement authorities with modern technique.
The mentioned above measures are taken against the background of continuous tension in the south of the republic. People in Jelal-Abad, who are dissatisfied with the Aksy tragedy investigation, still organize meetings and protest actions. Police, in its turn, is actually paralyzed in expectation of reforms, its resistance to the protesters is insignificant.
In a word, Kyrgyzstan hopes changes are to come soon and police will retrieve its image of an effective shield against violence and crime, that can be seen nowadays in some parts of the country.
Yury Razgulyayev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kyrgyzstan
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/05/01/40591.html