Kazakhstan - annual report 2019

Delegation of the Academy of Justice at the Supreme Court visiting the Thuringian Ministry for Migration, Justice and Consumer Protection: Inka Strack (centre), Head of Division Court Organisation; Sagatbek Suleimen (to the left), Supreme Court Judge of the Republic of Kazakhstan and head of the delegation; Head of Directorate Thomas Kunz (2nd from the right), Head of the Central Department
Delegation of the Academy of Justice at the Supreme Court visiting the Thuringian Ministry for Migration, Justice and Consumer Protection: Inka Strack (centre), Head of Division Court Organisation; Sagatbek Suleimen (to the left), Supreme Court Judge of the Republic of Kazakhstan and head of the delegation; Head of Directorate Thomas Kunz (2nd from the right), Head of the Central Department

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

After almost thirty years in office, President Nursultan Nazarbayev stepped down from office in early 2019. An early presidential election was held on 9 June 2019, which was won by Kassim Yomart Tokayev. At domestic policy level, the country‘s extensive reform programme focussing on progress in the legal system will continue unabated, in particular within the judiciary and administration.

The European Union had emphasised its will to support development and stabilisation in the Central Asian region during the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council in Brussels on 26 and 27 February 2018. The interest in enlarging on the cooperation with Kazakhstan is reflected in the new EU Central Asia Strategy, which was adopted on 15 May 2019, as well as in the successful implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Within this framework, future cooperation in rule of law, democracy, the protection of human rights and other areas will be intensified.

Overall Concept

Criminal, criminal procedure and civil law will be the priorities of IRZ‘s cooperative undertakings with Kazakhstan. Important partners include the Constitutional Council, the Ministry of Justice as well as the Supreme Court and the General Prosecutor‘s Office with their respective training institutes.

General and very specialised topics were both important in the area of criminal law and criminal procedural law. The reforms of 2015 and 2016 in this field continue to raise many questions and have increased the need for further training. During the reporting year, IRZ organised events on the general course of criminal proceedings, including the course of a preliminary investigation, the criminal justice system, combating terrorism, aviation security and policy to combat corruption in particular. Basic and further training courses for public prosecutors were held on selected topics.

With a view to the planned introduction of family courts, a pilot project on family law initiated by the Supreme Court has been running in Kazakhstan since September 2018. The project aims to establish family centres throughout the country where young people in particular can receive advice. The range of consultations will be broad and should extend from legal and psychological assistance to mediation and marriage counselling. IRZ experts supported the Kazakh partners in holding a round table in Nur-Sultan to continue the cooperation on this topic, which started in 2018. Other important issues included in-court and out-of-court mediation and copyright law. A particularly pleasing aspect was the participation of two Kazakh representatives in the multilateral English-speaking internship programme for civil and commercial judges.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Civil and Commercial Law

  • The International Round Table on “Child-Friendly Case-law“ in Nur-Sultan
  • Seminar “Protection of copyright and related rights on the Internet“ in Nur-Sultan
  • Working visit to Erfurt on the subject of “Alternative dispute resolution“

Public Law

  • Seminar in Nur-Sultan on administrative court jurisdiction

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Seminar in Nur-Sultan on “Principles and proceedings in criminal procedure law“
  • International conference on criminal law policy and criminal justice “Effective criminal policy and modern model of the criminal justice system - a guarantee for adequate protection of the constitutional rights of citizens“ in Akbulak near Almaty
  • Seminar on the course of preliminary proceedings under German criminal law in Nur-Sultan
  • Study trip to Hanover and Celle by a delegation of the General Prosecutor‘s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the topic “Combating terrorism and extremism in Germany“
  • Working visit for public prosecutors on investigation measures in Sonthofen, Kempten and Munich
  • Seminar in Nur-Sultan on aviation security
  • Seminar in Nur-Sultan on policy to combat corruption

Basic and Further Training

  • Participation of one legal practitioner of the Goethe Institute course “German for lawyers“
  • Participation of two Kazakh participants in the ninth “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ in Bonn
  • Participation of the Chair of the Union of Judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan and a member of the Union of Judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the multilateral IRZ event of the Memorandum Group of several national associations of judges in Bonn
  • Participation of two Kazakh representatives in the multilateral internship programme for civil and commercial judges

Outlook

Cooperation with Kazakh partner institutions will continue as part of Kazakhstan‘s comprehensive reform programme. This cooperation will receive further support by the new EU Central Asia Strategy, which was adopted in May 2019. IRZ cooperation activities with Kazakhstan will continue to focus on criminal and criminal procedural law and civil law in 2020 as well. Constitutional issues and the protection of human rights will again be addressed at joint events. There are also plans to further expand the exchange of information with the Kazakhstan Ministry of Justice and to accompany events concerning intellectual property.

Kazakhstan - annual report 2018

Delegation from the Supreme Judicial Council visiting the Ministry of Justice of Rhineland-Palatinate Secretary of State Fabian Scherf (centre)
Delegation from the Supreme Judicial Council visiting the Ministry of Justice of Rhineland-Palatinate Secretary of State Fabian Scherf (centre)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

In January 2018, Kazakhstan became the first Central Asian country to hold the UN Security Council Presidency, during which the strategic development of Central Asia and Afghanistan were the main thematic priorities.

The European Union also emphasised its will to support development and stabilisation in the Central Asian region during the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council in Brussels on 26 and 27 February 2018. The interest in continuing the cooperation with Kazakhstan is reflected in the new EU Central Asia strategy, whose adoption has been announced for 2019, as well as in the successful implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Within this framework, future cooperation in rule of law, democracy, the protection of Human Rights and other areas will be intensified. At domestic policy level, the country‘s extensive reform programme focussing, inter alia, on progress in the legal system, judiciary and administration will continue unabated. The cooperation between the IRZ and its partners in Kazakhstan enhanced these reform efforts once again in the reporting year.

Overall Concept

In 2018 also, the focus of cooperation with the Republic of Kazakhstan was on criminal law, criminal procedure law and civil law. Cooperation with the Supreme Court and the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies under the General Prosecutor’s Office was pursued intensively within these priorities. Significant importance was also assigned to cooperation with the Supreme Judicial Council and the Constitutional Council.

The measures taken with the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies under the General Prosecutor’s Office during the reporting year focused largely on the area of cybercrime. The main emphasis of the joint events with the Supreme Court was on promoting the principles of criminal justice.

In October 2018, the IRZ organised a working visit on the topic of “Basic and further training of judges“ for a high-ranking delegation from the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which is also responsible for setting the quality and recruitment requirements for the magistracy.

A seminar on copyright and neighbouring rights was held in April 2018 in Astana in cooperation with the Kazakhstan Ministry of Justice and was attended by a representative of the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) on behalf of the IRZ.

Acting on a suggestion by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the IRZ organised a technical agenda for a working visit by a high-ranking delegation led by Vice-Minister Serik Zhumangarin from the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to discuss issues of anti-trust law with German partners in Berlin and Bonn.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • International conference on the “Realisation of constitutional standards as a guarantee for effective criminal proceedings“ in Ak-Bulak
  • Support of the summer school on comparative constitutional law with KAZGUU University in Astana
  • Working visit by a delegation from the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan to North-Rhine Westphalia on the topic of protecting constitutional and human rights

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Seminar in Astana on copyright and neighbouring rights with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Round Table in Berlin on the topic of “20 years of anti-corruption legislation and the Agency for Civil Service Affairs in the Republic of Kazakhstan“
  • Working visit to Berlin and Bonn on the topic of anti-trust law by a high-ranking delegation led by Vice-Minister Serik Zhumangarin from the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Seminar in Astana on the topic of court mediation
  • Working visit to Sonthofen and Kempten on the issue of family law

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Seminar “Legalisation of criminal revenues using electronic cash and virtual currency“ in Astana
  • Working visit to Frankfurt/Main on criminal proceedings
  • High-ranking visit by the Presidential Administration to Hannover, Nienburg and Sehnde on the topics of the penitentiary system and police training
  • International conference “Modern cyber-threats under the conditions of the emerging 4th Industrial Revolution“ in Astana
  • International seminar “Strategy to fight terrorism: new challenges and international experience“ in Koschi
  • Seminar in Astana on the topic electronic evidence in criminal proceedings

Basic and Further Training

  • Working visit to Trier and Mainz on basic and further training for judges
  • Attendance by Kazakh participants of the eighth “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ in Bonn

Outlook

Cooperation with the partner institutions in Kazakhstan will continue, also in view of the ongoing reform efforts in the country, and will remain focused on the upcoming legal reforms. Moreover, the EU‘s new Central Asia strategy and its consequent enhanced interest in the Central Asian states provide an important framework within which to continue promoting project work between the IRZ and Kazakhstan. Criminal, criminal procedure and civil law will be the priorities of the IRZ‘s cooperative undertakings with Kazakhstan. Cooperation with the Constitutional Council, the Supreme Court and the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies under the General Prosecutor’s Office will carry on. There are also plans to further expand discussions with the Kazakhstan Ministry of Justice, to intensify measures for the protection of intellectual property and possibly to extend them to other fields as well.

Kazakhstan - annual report 2017

Working visit by a delegation of the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the topic of “Regional constitutional court jurisdiction in Germany” at the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate: President of the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate, Dr. Lars Brocker, (3 rd from left)
Working visit by a delegation of the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the topic of “Regional constitutional court jurisdiction in Germany” at the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate: President of the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate, Dr. Lars Brocker, (3 rd from left)

Legal Policy Situation

As early as 2015, the EU and Kazakhstan negotiated an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which was ratified in Kazakhstan on 25 March 2016. The main contents of the cooperation agreed therein relate to foreign and security policy, sustainable economic development, legislation and the rule of law, finance, science and technology.

The cooperation in this Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in turn hails from the EU’s Central Asia Strategy, which was adopted already in 2007. It is against this background that the 13th EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting was held in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) on 10 November 2017, at which the strategy was reviewed and questions of its continuation and future shape were discussed.

As a result, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Central Asia Strategy, the will was underscored to continue cooperation between the Central Asian states and the EU. Furthermore, priorities for cooperation were also discussed already, which will be incorporated into the future EU-Central Asia strategy to be adopted by 2019.

On 10 March 2017, a constitutional reform was passed in Kazakhstan, which led to a transfer of powers from the president to parliament and government. The aim of this reform is to strengthen the independence of the judiciary. Even after the reform, however, the President remains vested with far-reaching powers: for example, he is not accountable politically to Parliament and, even after the end of his term of office, he retains a constitutionally guaranteed extensive immunity.

Overall Concept

Since the end of 2009, the IRZ has been supporting the Republic of Kazakhstan in comprehensive judicial reforms. Particularly noteworthy is the reform of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, both of which are based recognisably on German standards. Intensive consultations on individual topics in criminal and criminal procedure law were expressly requested by the Kazakh partners. In addition, the focus in the year under review was on constitutional law, civil procedural law, patent and trademark law, legislative proceedings as well as basic and further training.

In the course of the constitutional reform the IRZ also supported an international conference on the “Constitution and modernisation of society and the state” with the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Astana.

The IRZ has continued to cooperate intensively with the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Council. The focus of the cooperation with the Prosecutor General’s Office was the deliberations on the Code of Criminal Procedure and the new draft law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Kazakhstan. The main focus of the joint events with the Supreme Court was on the principles of criminal justice.

The IRZ continued its successful cooperation with the Constitutional Council in the area of constitutional law and criminal and civil law with regard to the protection of human rights. From 8 to 10 November 2017, for example, a high-ranking delegation of the Constitutional Council paid a working visit to Koblenz on the subject of “Regional constitutional Court jurisdiction in Germany”, during which members of the delegation and staff of the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate were able to exchange views on various issues of constitutional jurisdiction at federal and state level in Germany.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the IRZ organised a working stay in Berlin in November 2017 for a delegation from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the subject of regulatory offences.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • International Conference on the “Constitution and modernisation of society and the state” in Astana
  • Working visit to Koblenz on the topic „Regional constitutional Court jurisdiction in Germany“.
  • Translation of the German Court Constitution Act into Russian

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Study trip for four representatives of the Patent Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the German Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office in Munich

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Study trip to Frankfurt and Braunschweig on the topic of “Law and security at the airport”
  • International conference on “Efficient criminal law policy and optimal judicial criminal procedure model as a priority development of a modern legal protection system” in Ak-Bulak
  • International Conference on the subject of “Criminal proceedings concerning fraud” in Astana
  • Working visit on “Criminal investigation” in Frankfurt/Main
  • International round table on the reform of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Almaty
  • Seminar on the topic of “Execution of sentence” in Astana
  • Study trip to Kempten on the subject of “Criminal offences against the judiciary and the penitentiary system”
  • Round table “Development prospects of criminal proceedings in the context of the modernisation of criminal proceedings legislation” in Astana
  • Round table on the subject of “Cybercrime and data protection” in Astana
  • Working visit of four representatives of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Berlin on “Challenges in the prosecution of criminal offences and regulatory offences”

Basic and Further Training

  • Participation of the President of the Association of Judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan and his advisor in the event of the memorandum group of Judges’ Associations in Tbilisi
  • Participation of an administrative and criminal judge from Almaty as well as a civilian judge from the district of Naurzum Kostanaj in the multilateral programme for German-speaking judges and prosecutors

Outlook

Cooperation with Kazakhstan’s partner institutions for the year 2018 will be based on the forthcoming legislative reforms in Kazakhstan. Accordingly, criminal and procedural law as well as civil law in particular will play an important role with regard to the activities of the IRZ. Furthermore, cooperation with the Constitutional Council and the Academy for law enforcement agencies under the Prosecutor General’s Office will be continued. Moreover, it is planned to further deepen the cooperation on intellectual property established in recent years with the Kazakh Ministry of Justice and to extend it to other specialist areas. In addition to the continuation of cooperation with the Supreme Court, the partnership with Kazakh lawyers and notaries is to be further expanded. Basic and Further Training