Several provisions of Uzbekistan's domestic law formally guarantee women equality with men before the law. Likewise, its family law protects women's equal access to, and equality within marriage, as well as the right to seek to dissolve marriage on an equal basis with men.
Uzbekistan has no specific criminal statute against domestic violence. Individuals who use physical violence against their spouses or others can, in principle, be prosecuted under the criminal code articles covering crimes against the life or health of persons.47 The criminal code distinguishes premeditated murder, covered in article 97, from "murder carried out in a state of high psychological stress" [v sostoianii sil'nogo dushevnogo volneniia], covered in article 98, and also specifies penalties under article 103 for driving a person to suicide.48 Articles 104-111, dealing with crimes against the health of a person, set out penalties for the purposeful infliction of either heavy (article 104), medium (article 105), or light (article 109) degrees of physical injury, also prescribing lesser penalties if the assault is carried out in a state of psychological stress.49
The criminal code specifies various penalties for assault depending on the injuries inflicted. Crimes of assault that cause light injuries not resulting in any health damage, or those that do not deprive the victim of the ability to work, if the perpetrator has previously been fined under the administrative code for the same offense, incur a fine of from twenty-five to fifty times the minimum monthly wage, or corrective labor of up to one year.50 Light injuries which result in "short-term damage to health of more than six, but not more than twenty-one days, and insignificant loss of the ability to work" are punishable either by a fine of from twenty-five to fifty times the minimum monthly wage, by up to two years of corrective labor, or house arrest of up to four months.51 Article 110, "Torture" [istiazanie], punishes "systematic beatings or other actions constituting torture" with up to three years imprisonment.52
Assault resulting in light injury to the victim but without any short-term health consequences is punishable as a misdemeanor offense under the administrative code.53 Penalties include fines of from one to four times the minimum monthly wage.54 Misdemeanor charges of "minor hooliganism," or "purposefully disdaining the rules of behavior in society, through public swearing, harassment of citizens and other similar acts which disturb public order" may also be brought against batterers, and are punishable by fines of from three to five times the minimum monthly wage.55
Uzbekistan's Family Code, adopted in 1998, establishes the "equality of personal and property rights" as the basis for family relations.56 Article 4 of the code provides for the state's special protection for "the family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood," and for the defense of the interests of mothers and children. The code also explicitly provides for the primacy of international laws and treaties, if any of the provisions of domestic law are found to be in contradiction to international law.57 Finally, article 37 guarantees the right of either spouse to apply to a court to dissolve their marriage (see Divorce, below).
47 Criminal Code, Part 1, chapters 1 (Crimes against Life) and II (Crimes against Health).
48 Criminal Code, articles 97, 98, and 103. Article 97 carries a penalty of from ten to fifteen years imprisonment; the article also outlines aggravating circumstances for premeditated murder, including cases when the victim is a pregnant woman, or if the murder is accompanied by the rape of the victim, that may increase the penalty to a term of from fifteen to twenty years, or to the death penalty. Article 98 carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment. For a discussion of article 103, see Suicide, below.
49 Inflicting heavy injury, defined as life-threatening injury "accompanied by the loss of more than 33 percent of a person's ability to work, or the interruption of pregnancy, or the irreversible disfigurement of the body" is punishable by five to eight years of imprisonment. If the victim is a pregnant woman, or, if the assault is carried out "for reasons of hooliganism," the penalty may increase to eight to ten years. Medium injuries, defined as those that are not life-threatening, but which "result in the long-term effects on health, of more than twenty-one days but not more than four months, or in significant loss of the ability to work, from ten to thirty-three percent," are punishable by up to three years imprisonment. If the victim is a pregnant woman, the penalty increases to from three to five years. If the assault is carried out under significant psychological stress, article 106 prescribes up to three years imprisonment; and, if carried out in self-defense, the penalty is reduced to either corrective labor of up to two years.
50 Criminal Code, art. 109.
51 Criminal Code, art. 109.
52 Criminal Code, art. 110. If the victim is a minor, or a pregnant woman, the penalty may increase to five years imprisonment. Unlike torture as defined under international law, the perpetrator of this offense need not be a state actor.
53 Administrative offenses are levied by judges; the maximum administrative penalty is fifteen days detention.
54 Administrative Code art. 52.
55 Administrative Code, art. 183.
56 Family Code, art. 2. Article 19 of the code repeats that parties to a marriage enjoy equal rights and obligations; articles 24 and 25 set out the equal rights to joint property, defined as property acquired during the period of marriage.
57 Art. 9.