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CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM (KAZAKHSTAN)


SUPPORT TO THE KAZAKH AUTHORITIES IN IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE KAZAKH JUSTICE SYSTEM

This new joint European Union and Council of Europe programme aims to support the Kazakh authorities in bringing Kazakhstan’s criminal justice framework and institutional practice in line with European and international standards and practices.

For a period of 36 months, ending in July 2017, the programme will provide legislative assistance by developing and improving the regulatory framework and institutional capacity of the main stakeholders to address the systemic and/or structural problems that characterise the Kazakh criminal justice system and human rights protection. Capacity-building activities for judges, prosecutors, investigators, defence lawyers, Ombudsman Institution, National Preventive Mechanism and other participants in the criminal justice system will be carried out as a means of contributing to their institutional development with a view to enabling them to exercise their functions in line with human rights standards.

Project description
Workplan

For more information please see the following link http://www.coe.int/t/DGHL/COOPERATION/CAPACITYBUILDING/default_en.asp

 

FIRST STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING


On 29 January 2015 the first meeting of the Project Steering Committee was held in Astana. The Project team presented the detailed Work Plan of the Project to the stakeholders. The Steering Committee is composed of representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan; Council of Europe Secretariat; General Prosecutor’s Office; Institute of studying problems of legality, law and order, and professional development of prosecution service at the General Prosecutor’s Office; Supreme Court; Institute of Justice of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Ombudsman; Ministry of Justice; Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Republican Collegium of Advocates; and “Penal Reform International”.
 

SECOND STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
Press release   EN/ RU/ KZ

The second Project Steering Committee meeting was held in Astana on 16 October 2015. The main objective of the meeting was to discuss the progress made during the first implementation phase of the project, namely between 24 July 2014 and 25 July 2015 and the Workplan of activities for the next 12 months with the representatives of the national authorities. A number of proposals for future action was collected from the national partners, inserted in the Workplan and approved by the members of the Committee.

TRAININGS ON TECHNICS OF VISITING PLACES OF DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY AND INTERVIEWING DETAINED PERSONS (24-28 October 2016, Astana)

Press release    RU/ KZ

On 24-25 October 2016 in Astana and 27-28 October 2016 in Almaty two-day trainings on technics of visiting places of deprivation of liberty and interviewing detained persons were organised for members of the National Preventive Mechanism and representatives of the National Human Rights Centre.

The activities involved 59 participants from different regions of Kazakhstan. Throughout the training, they had an opportunity to improve the quality of their monitoring work and interviewing technics. The training programme covered different issues related to peculiarities of monitoring work in different establishments (prisons, police stations and psychiatric institutions), types of interviews, planning and preparation of visits, safety and security during the interview. It consisted of both theoretical and practical training sessions which helped the participants not only to increase their knowledge on relevant international standards and good practices, but also to improve professional skills in role plays.

This was a third chain of trainings for members of the National Preventive Mechanism conducted within the framework of the European Union and the Council of Europe Joint Programme “Support to Kazakh authorities in improving the quality and efficiency of the justice system in Kazakhstan”. These trainings are aimed at increasing the capacity of national human rights institutions in preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment in Kazakhstan.

 
 


VISIT OF THE KAZAKH NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS TO STRASBOURG (28-30 September 2016, STRASBOURG)

On 28-30 September 2016 consultations between the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) and the Republican Collegium of Advocates and the Council of Europe Secretariat took place in the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg. The consultations were devoted to the role of the Ombudsman and the NPM in the prevention and combating of ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, the effective and independent investigation of allegations of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, as well as European standards on human rights protection in the criminal justice system and relevant good practices in Council of Europe member states. The visit also served as a forum for exchange of good practices and lessons learned with other European human rights institutions, namely the French NPM, the Greek Commission for Human Rights and the Russian Public Oversight Commissions.

In course of bilateral meetings with representatives of the Council of Europe Secretariat, the delegation had opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the European Court of Human Rights, the Department of the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretariat to the Lanzarote Committee and the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO), as well as other monitoring and standard-setting bodies. The visit contributed to increased awareness of the Kazakh human rights institutions responsible for prevention and combating ill-treatment on relevant Council of Europe standards on Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights “Prohibition of torture”, CPT standards, as well as standards related to the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, violence against women and domestic violence.



CONFERENCE ON THE ROLE OF THE OMBUDSMAN IN THE MODERNISING SOCIETY (28-29 June 2016, ASTANA)

Within the framework of the CoE-EU Joint Programme “Support to Kazakh authorities in improving the quality and efficiency of the Kazakh justice system”, in co-operation with the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan and the OHCHR Regional Office for Central Asia, a conference on the role of the Ombudsman (human rights institution) in the modernising society was held on 28 and 29 June 2016 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Two-day discussions were particularly focused on the co-operation between national human rights institutions and state bodies, civil society and international organisations, as well as priority areas for such co-operation. Among moderators and keynote speakers of thematic sessions were high profile representatives of Kazakh national human rights institutions, the Constitutional Council, the Parliament, the President’s Administration, the General Prosecutor’s office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, NGOs, scholars, CoE, EU, OSCE and UNICEF.

The event was also attended by representatives of the human rights institutions from Croatia, Germany, Mongolia and Slovakia who shared good practices and challenges they face. As the result of the two-day work, main national stakeholders recognised an urgent need to reform the institute of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan bringing it closer in line with the Paris Principles. They expressed their commitment to start working on legislative amendments and support the adoption of a Law which will regulate the role, status and mandate of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

   

Link to the web mentions of the event on the Kazakhstan website:


http://m.khabar.kz/ru/news/obshchestvo/item/58901-institut-upolnomochennogo-po-pravam-cheloveka-v-RK-podvel-itogi-svoej-raboty 

SEMINAR ON MEDIATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS (25 June 2016, ASTANA)

A seminar on mediation in criminal matters was held on 25 June 2016 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Participants of the seminar were representatives of the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, lawyers, mediators and academics. During the activity, Kazakh decision-makers and practitioners were familiarised with European and other international standards on mediation in criminal matters and the restorative approach to crime and its positive impact on judicial efficiency. Council of Europe experts presented the Committee of Ministers Recommendation (99)19 and the guidelines for its better implementation, as well as good practices of CoE member states in introducing mediation in criminal cases.

The seminar was also the occasion to present a report on mediation in criminal matters in Kazakhstan which provide an assessment of the national legislative and institutional framework and provide recommendations for its enhancement. National experts facilitated discussion on shortcomings of the Kazakh legislation and practices in this regard, as well as further actions to be taken for the implementation of CoE experts’ recommendations.


Link to the web mentions of the event on the Kazakhstan website:

http://www.zakon.kz/4804987-mediacija-v-ugolovnom-processe-novye.html 

 

EFFECTIVE AND INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE AND OTHER FORMS OF ILL-TREATMENT (17-18 MAY 2016, ASTANA)

Press release   RU KZ
Agenda   EN RU


On 17-18 May in Astana representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Court and the Republican Collegium of Advocates of the Republic of Kazakhstan had an opportunity to benefit from training on effective and independent investigation of allegations of tortures and other forms of ill-treatment.

International experts of the Council of Europe helped participants to deepen their knowledge on essential elements of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, as well as international standards and main safeguards on effective investigation of ill-treatment. The training programme was divided into theoretical and practical parts which were delivered through training sessions and case studies.

This training is one of two trainings which are aimed at testing a new training curriculum for national training institutions developed by the Council of Europe experts. The training program on effective and independent investigation of torture and other forms of ill-treatment will be further submitted to the Law Enforcement Academy under the General Prosecutor’s under the President of the Republic Kazakhstan for its integration into the continuous training programme.


   
 

TRAINING ON APPLICATION OF PLEA-BARGAINING
(11-12 MAY 2016, ASTANA)


Press release  RU/ KZ
Agenda  EN/ RU

On 11-12 May 2016 the European Union and Council of Europe Joint Programme “Support to Kazakh authorities in improving the quality and efficiency of the justice system in Kazakhstan” organised a 2 day training session for representatives of the Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Republican Collegium of Advocates on application of plea-bargaining.

During the training sessions Council of Europe experts shared with participants experiences of Council of Europe member, as well as acknowledged them with European and other international standards on application of plea-bargaining, a procedure recently introduced by the Criminal Procedural Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan since January 2015.

Mr Abdrashid Zhukenov, Judge of the Supreme Court, acting as a national expert presented the national legal framework in regard to plea-bargaining and cooperation agreements.

This training is one of two trainings on application of plea-bargaining to be delivered under the Joint Programme aimed at testing a new training curriculum for national training institutions developed by the Council of Europe experts. The training program will be submitted to the Law Enforcement Academy under the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Justice Institute of the Public Administration Academy under the President of the Republic Kazakhstan for its further integration into the continuous training programme.

Link to the web mentions of the event on the Kazakhstan website:

http://advokatura.kz/sdelka-s-pravosudiem-trenning-v-astane/

 

PROJECT ACTIVITIES TRAINING ON THE MONITORING OF ISOLATORS AND POLICE STATIONS (14-16 MARCH 2016, ALMATY)

Press release   EN/ RU
Agenda 
RU/

On 14-16 March 2016 in Almaty a three-day training session on monitoring of temporary detention isolators and police stations was organised for members of the National Prevention Mechanism (NPM) and representatives of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The training gathered together NPM members form Almaty, Aqtobe, Atyrau, Kyzylorda, Mangistau, Soth Kazakhstan, West Kazakhstan and Zhambyl regions. During the training the participants got familiar with European and international standards related to prohibition of tortures and others forms of ill-treatment, guidelines on effective and independent National Preventive Mechanism, its mandate, role, requirements, but also how to prepare a visit and how to interview persons deprived of liberty. Accompanied by the trainers, the NPM members undertook monitoring visits to three temporary detention centres of the Department of Internal Affairs of Almaty. The results of the group monitoring work were discussed with participants in the course of the third training day and recommendations for improvement of the quality of monitoring visits were provided.
 
   

 

PRESENTATION OF THE REPORT ON ACCESSIBILITY OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS THROUGH PUBLICATION STANDARDS (18 JANUARY 2016, ASTANA)

Press release   EN/ RU
Report    EN/ RU

 

On 18 January 2016 a round table with the participation of the CoE experts and representatives of the SC of the RK was organised with the aim of presenting the report on the accessibility to judicial decisions through publication standards. During the round table, the group of experts presented the methodology and outlined the issues addressed by the report, as well as proposed recommendations on bringing the legislative framework and practices of the RK on the accessibility to judicial decisions in line with international and European standards.

The participants were particularly interested in such topics as open justice principles and importance of the data protection of court participants. The outcome of the round table became the exchange of experiences between European experts and representatives of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan on how to ensure the openness and transparency of the court proceedings, as well as to provide the access to information on court activities in the Age of Information Technology by means of electronic databases of court decisions and electronic judicial portals.
 

TRAINING ON THE MONITORING OF ISOLATORS AND POLICE STATIONS (23-24 NOVEMBER 2015, ASTANA)

On 23-24 November 2015 a three-day training session was organised for members of the National Preventive Mechanism and of the National Center for Human Rights. The training session focused on monitoring temporary detention isolators and police stations according to international human rights standards. The Council of Europe experts will discuss with the participants the meaning of an effective and independent National Preventive Mechanism, its mandate, role, requirements, but also how to prepare a visit and how to interview persons deprived of liberty. The participants, accompanied by the experts, undertook a monitoring visit to a temporary detention centre of the Department of Internal Affairs of Astana.
 

TRAINING ON FAIR TRAIL GUARANTEES (28-29 OCTOBER 2015, ASTANA)
Press release
On 28-29 October 2015 in Astana a group of Kazakh judges participated in training on the right to a fair trial under international human rights standards. They were familiarised with such important issues as the scope of protection and applicability of fair trial rights according to international standards, the right to a court, the adversarial principle, the additional guarantees of “fairness” in criminal proceedings, the right to a reasoned decision and reliable evidence, the presumption of innocence, and other important topics.


TRAINING ON FAIR TRAIL GUARANTEES (28-29 SEPTEMBER 2015, ASTANA)

On 28-29 September 2015 in Astana a group of Kazakh prosecutors from different regions of RK participated in training on the right to a fair trial under international human rights standards. They were familiarised with such important issues as the scope of protection and applicability of fair trial rights according to international standards, the right to a court, the adversarial principle, the additional guarantees of “fairness” in criminal proceedings, the right to a reasoned decision and reliable evidence, the presumption of innocence, and other important topics.
 

STUDY VISIT ON MEDIATION AND RESTORATIVE JUSTICE TO THE NETHERLANDS

A study visit to the Netherlands was organised for Kazakh decision-makers on operation of mediation and restorative approach to crime and its positive impact to gain experience and to further develop legislative provisions. In the light of its well-established mediation institution and approaches to restorative justice, the Netherlands was selected for a study visit for the representatives of the Supreme Court, the Institute of Justice, the MoJ, the GPO, the Ministry of Interior, the Republican Collegium of Advocates and mediators.

 

TRAINING ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND MONITORING OF PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTIONS (8-11 SEPTEMBER 2015, ALMATY)


On 8-11 September 2015 a mental health training session for the staff of the National Center for Human Rights, members of the NPM and the Ministry of Health of RK was held in Almaty. The training included both theory and practice and an on-site monitoring visit to a psychiatric institution. The theoretical training covered issues such as: the different types of mental disorder; assessment and treatment approaches in psychiatry; potential ill-treatment, restraint and isolation; and, legal safeguards in psychiatry and international and CPT standards. The practical aspects dealt with: planning the visit, engaging staff, selecting patients, environmental issues, material conditions and staffing, safe and effective interviewing, involuntary treatment, legal rights, consent, examining records, and reporting. All these issues were tested during the subsequent monitoring visit to a psychiatric institution.
 
NEEDS ASSESSMENT MISSION ON MEDIATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS (7-9 SEPTEMBER 2015, ASTANA)

On 7-9 September 2015 a needs assessment mission was organised with the participation of 2 international experts and one national consultant. The aim of the mission was the evaluation of the functioning of mediation in criminal matters in Kazakhstan with the further development of corresponding recommendations in line with international standards. During the mission the experts had the opportunity to meet the main state institutions and civil society representatives working on mediation. The final legal expertise is to be completed by the end of January 2016.
 
WORKING MEETING ON ACCESSIBILITY OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS THROUGH OBLIGATION STANDARDS (20 JULY 2015, STRASBOURG)

On 20 July 2015 the team of experts held a working meeting in Strasbourg at the Headquarters of the Council of Europe (CoE) together with two representatives of the Supreme Court of the RK. One of the main objectives of the meeting was to determine the deficiencies and respective needs relating to access to court decisions in the RK. The final product will take the form of a study that will contain an overview of the relevant European standards, including those contained in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) related to publication of court decisions. It will also include a description of experience in at least four identified CoE member states, and make recommendations on provisions, standards and technical aspects with a view to improving access to court decisions in the RK, especially with attention to privacy and data protection issues.
 

TRAINING ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND MONITORING OF PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTIONS (14-17 JULY 2015, ASTANA)

On 14-17 July 2015 a mental health training session for the staff of the National Center for Human Rights, members of the NPM and the Ministry of Health of RK was held in Astana. The training included both theory and practice and an on-site monitoring visit to a psychiatric institution. The theoretical training covered issues such as: the different types of mental disorder; assessment and treatment approaches in psychiatry; potential ill-treatment, restraint and isolation; and, legal safeguards in psychiatry and international and CPT standards. The practical aspects dealt with: planning the visit, engaging staff, selecting patients, environmental issues, material conditions and staffing, safe and effective interviewing, involuntary treatment, legal rights, consent, examining records, and reporting. All these issues were tested during the subsequent monitoring visit to a psychiatric institution.
 
ROUNDTABLE ON THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGES (28-29 MAY 2015, VILNIUS)


On 28-29 May 2015 in co-operation with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan and in partnership with ABA ROLI and IRZ a roundtable was organised in Astana on the powers of the investigating judges and the application of new institutions of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Council of Europe expert made a presentation about the role and competence of investigative judges in criminal proceedings, including the review by the investigative judges of complaints regarding investigators’ or prosecutors’ decisions, action or inaction, as well as ensuring the procedural rights of the participants in criminal proceedings.
 

TRAINING ON FAIR TRAIL GUARANTEES (28-29 MAY 2015, VILNIUS)
On 28-29 May 2015 in Vilnius a group of Kazakh defence lawyers participated in the training on the right to a fair trial under international human rights standards. They were familiarised with such important issues as: the scope of protection and applicability of fair trial rights according to international standards; right to a court; independent and impartial tribunal established by law; the adversarial principle; equality of arms, personal presence and publicity; specifics of “fairness” in criminal proceedings; right to a reasoned decision and reliable evidence; presumption of innocence; and various aspects of the defence rights.
 
STUDY VISIT TO THE LITHUANIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (26-27 MAY 2015, VILNIUS)


On 26-27 May 2015 the Kazakh delegation composed of senior management and members of the Republican Association of Advocates and a representative of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan visited the Lithuanian Bar Association. The main goal of the visit was to build co-operation with and learn from the experiences of the Lithuanian Bar Association. The Kazakh delegation visited the Bar’s premises and training center in Vilnius in order to have a closer insight into the its structure, mission, working procedures, disciplinary responsibility and proceedings for lawyers, eligibility requirements and organisation of entrance exam, initial and continuous legal training of lawyers and the way of developing training curriculum and other aspects.
   
 

LAUNCHING OF THE PROJECT
(19 MARCH 2015, ASTANA)

On 19 March 2015 the launching event was held in Astana. The event was opened by Mr Philippe Boillat, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, Ambassador H.E. Aurélia Bouchez, Head of the European Union Delegation to Kazakhstan, Mr Abay Rahmetulin, Chairman of the Collegium of Supervision of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr Alijan Nurbekov, Deputy Head of the International Co-operation Department
of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr Vyacheslav Kalyuzhnyy, Head of the National Human Rights Centre (Ombudsman Office) and Mr Anuar Tugel, Chairman of the Republican Collegium of Advocates of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In the framework of the launching event the recent criminal justice reform was discussed. New procedural guarantees and challenges in their implementation were highlighted by the prosecution and defence lawyers.
 

ROUNDTABLE ON THE POSSIBLE ACCESSION BY KAZAKHSTAN TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONVENTIONS IN THE CRIMINAL FIELD (2-3 MARCH 2015, STRASBOURG)


On 2-3 March 2015 a roundtable on the possible accession by Kazakhstan to the Council of Europe Conventions in the criminal field was hosted in Strasbourg. The round table was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President Administration, the General Prosecutor’s Office, and the Agency for Civil Service Affairs and Anti-Corruption of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The delegation met with representatives of the Directorate of External Relations and the Directorate of Legal Advice
and Public International Law and learnt about the Council of Europe’s policy towards neighbouring countries, as well as the phases and procedures that govern accession by non-member states to the Council of Europe Conventions in the criminal field.

The delegation was able to discuss important issues related to the European Conventions on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Extradition, Transfer of Proceedings in Criminal Matters and International Validity of Criminal Judgments. The Kazakh representatives also benefited from presentations by the Group of States against corruption (GRECO) and its monitoring mechanism, the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) and the Venice Commission.
 
THE FACT-FINDING AND NEEDS ASSESSMENT MISSION

The fact-finding mission took place from 22 to 24 October 2014 in Astana. The objective of the mission was to identify the priorities of the Kazakh criminal justice system, as well as to determine the range of activities to be conducted within the Project. The mission was carried out by Vahe Grigoryan, legal consultant at European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, School of Law, Middlesex University (London, UK) in charge of providing technical input and expertise in relation to the observance of fair trial rights and guarantees in criminal proceedings, Roman Koval, President of the Peace and Common Ground Centre, mediator (Kyiv, Ukraine) and Victor Munteanu, independent human rights expert (Strasbourg, France) tasked to contribute to the assessment of the institute of mediation in criminal matters and respectively the mechanism for submitting and reviewing petitions/complaints by citizens to the Ombudsman regarding violations of human rights and functioning of the newly established National Preventive Mechanism. The mission was facilitated by the Project Manager.

In the course of the fact-finding mission, meetings were held with a number of relevant stakeholders of the justice sector, as well as the Donor. In particular within the justice system the experts met with representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Supreme Court, Commissioner for Human Rights, National Centre for Human Rights, members of the Coordinating Council and those of the National Preventive Mechanism, Institute of Justice of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republican Association of Advocates.