Senior lecturer of the International Law and Comparative Law Department of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan
In the year of the "Epoch of the People with Arkadag" under the wise leadership of the esteemed President the strategic document "Revival of a new era of the powerful state: National Program of Social and Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052" was adopted, the principle "The state is for the people!" is being widely implemented, the legislative system of the country is being improved.
Generally recognized norms of international law are a set of norms that are highly recognized from a political, moral and legal point of view, defining the essence and nature of the basic principles of international law. Because of the great influence of the national law of states on the effectiveness of international law, it is necessary that the laws of each state and the principles embedded in them be consistent with international law. The Basic Law stipulates that Turkmenistan recognizes the priority of universally recognized norms of international law1.
On the basis of positive international experience, legal transformations are carried out in the country to bring the norms of the Constitution of Turkmenistan in line with the requirements of the time and generally recognized international standards, to introduce national spiritual values, democratize society, further improve the activities of state power and administration, and establish and develop the information society.
At the meeting of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan held on 25 September 2020, the distinguished President put forward an initiative to switch to a qualitatively new bicameral system and establish the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan and the Mejlis of Turkmenistan with the functions of a representative legislative body. Thus, by introducing amendments and additions to the Basic Law, changing the status of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan and reviewing the powers of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, the representative body of state power was transformed into a bicameral structure. The initiative on the bicameral system marks a new stage of political and legal transformations.
The principles and norms of international law play an enormous role in the regulation of contemporary international relations; they have been shaped by the long and deliberate experience of states in the relevant sphere of life.
According to the UN Charter, universally recognized norms of international law must conform to the principles of international law defined in the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States and the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The high legal status of principles implies their ratio to the level of peremptory norms (jus cogens – peremptory law)1. The treaties of individual States in their mutual relations are not admissible to deviate from peremptory norms either, since these norms, as a whole, contribute to the formation of the obligations of the international community.1 Treaties are null and void if they conflict with a peremptory norm.2
In 1995 Turkmenistan acceded to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 23 May 1969. Turkmenistan advocates the strict observance of treaty and traditional norms and reaffirms its commitment to the principle that forms the basis of international law: the fulfillment in good faith of international obligations.
With reference to the above facts, let us analyze the content of some articles of the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the Vienna Convention "On the Law of Treaties" of 23 May 1969:
“Turkmenistan, in accordance with the universally recognized norms of international law, shall grant asylum to foreign citizens and stateless persons in accordance with the procedure established by law.” (11, 14 a.)
“The state promotes international cooperation in culture, education, sports and tourism.” (15,15 с)
“The state promotes the development of science, technology, and engineering, and supports international cooperation in these areas.” (16, 15 с)
Thus, a number of principles of international law are enshrined in the Basic Law of our state.
Turkmenistan, having acceded to a number of important UN conventions, strictly abides by its obligations before the world community. The initiatives put forward by the distinguished President from the high rostrum of the United Nations serve as a concrete step in this direction.
In addressing the pressing issues of the day, Turkmenistan attaches particular importance to the issue of strengthening peace and security, based on its priority. Our country demonstrates itself as a state steadfastly committed to its obligations in the field of international humanitarian law, uniting the basic principles and institutions aimed at ensuring and protecting human rights recognized in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A notable example is the adoption of the Law of Turkmenistan "On the Ombudsman" on 23 November 2016. This law defines the rights, duties, main directions and guarantees of the Ombudsman and his powers - an independent body created for the first time in our country to provide guarantees of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen. The law defines that the Ombudsman's position is aimed at providing guarantees of state protection of human and civil rights and freedoms, their observance and respect by state authorities, local self-government bodies and their officials.
Also, on 23 November 2016, the Mejlis of Turkmenistan adopted the Law of Turkmenistan "On Combating Human Trafficking". The adoption of the Law of Turkmenistan "On Combating Human Trafficking" is related to the implementation of the National Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking, approved by the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan on 18 March 2016. The law was amended on 20 October 2018 and establishes the organizational and legal framework for combating human trafficking, provisions on the protection of victims of human trafficking, restoration of their rights and assistance to them, as well as defines a set of measures to prosecute people involved in human trafficking and the rules governing social relations in the field of combating human trafficking.
Analysis of the treaty legal framework has shown that Turkmenistan has ratified a number of conventions in the field of humanitarian law, as well as documents of international law regulating the relevant area. Examples include the Conventions "Relating to the Status of Refugees", "Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons", "On the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction", "On the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction", "On the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction" and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Each State Party to an international treaty is under an obligation to fulfill its obligations in good faith. From the very beginning, this principle, embedded in traditional law, was enshrined in Article 26 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
On 12 January 2016, the distinguished President noted in his speech that "Turkmenistan's full integration into the world community and active participation in international processes requires bringing national legislation into conformity with universally recognized norms of international law. To this end, the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan should work together with the Interdepartmental Commission on ensuring the observance of Turkmenistan's international obligations in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law and submit specific proposals."
On this basis, the Actions Plan for the implementation of international humanitarian law for 2021-2023 was approved, as was the Work Plan for the Interdepartmental Commission on ensuring observance of Turkmenistan's international human rights obligations and international humanitarian law for 2021 under the motto "Turkmenistan is a home of peace and trust". This plan includes the analysis of compliance of the national legislation with the norms and principles of international humanitarian law. In particular, the need to analyze the Criminal Executive Code and other laws for correlation with the norms of international humanitarian law and to prepare proposals based on the results of the analysis has been identified.
Turkmenistan has met the year 2022, proclaimed the Epoch of the People with Arkadag, with great achievements and new high goals. Turkmenistan consistently and steadily fulfills its obligations under the norms of international law. The work in this direction is under constant attention of the esteemed President. We wish the Hero Arkadag, who pays close attention to strengthening the legislative basis of the Fatherland's development, good health, long life and successes in responsible state activity!
1. Constitution of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat, Turkmen State Publishing Service, 2020.
2. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Turkmenistan - a country of prosperity and progress. A: Turkmen State Publishing Service, 2015.
3. International law: editor F.i. Kozhevnikov. Moscow, 1987.
4. Tiunov O.I. International humanitarian law. Moscow, 1999.
6. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969