Alexandra Cherkasenko is an Associate Legal Officer at the Open Society Foundations in Kyrgyzstan. She works primarily on the Legal Remedies for Torture project, part of the Open Society Justice Initiative, which uses litigation to combat torture by police in Central Asia, promote international human rights standards and change law enforcement practice for torture prevention. She works with the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Committee against Torture, UN special procedures, highlighting cases and promoting the Istanbul Protocol to ensure effective investigation and documentation of torture. Alexandra has previously worked as a Legal Protection Officer for the Danish Refugee Council.
Alexandra’s action plan centres on the prevention of torture in the Kyrgyz Republic through developing a mechanism of effective investigation of torture and abuse cases. The current investigation mechanism in Kyrgyzstan is not de jure and de facto independent and so serious conflicts of interest arise that prevent these mechanisms from undertaking effective, impartial investigations into complaints received. Alexandra is planning to establish a specialist unit on torture investigations within the Prosecutors Office that, in the future, would evolve into a completely independent monitoring body.
So inspired her experiences with the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland, Nick Hardwick from HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the Independent Monitoring Board of prisons Alexandra plans to write an information paper on police investigations in England and Northern Ireland and share is with key stakeholders within the working group on developing mechanisms of effective investigation that she already leads on behalf of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Using best practice and lessons learned from the UK Alexandra hopes to develop a specific mechanism for eliminating torture and police abuse that is applicable and tailored to the Kyrgyz situation.