Kazakhstan - annual report 2016

Seminar on “Criminal law offences in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan”: Yerbol Rakhimbekov, Judge at the Supreme Court; Abai Rakhmetulin, Presiding Judge at the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court; Christian Roch, Sonthofen District Court (from left to right)

Seminar on “Criminal law offences in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan”: Yerbol Rakhimbekov, Judge at the Supreme Court; Abai Rakhmetulin, Presiding Judge at the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court; Christian Roch, Sonthofen District Court (from left to right)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan signed an extensive partnership and cooperation agreement in December 2015. This continues and extends the EU’s Central Asian Strategy dating from 2007. Numerous EU projects in the sphere of the rule of law, business, education and the environment are supported and implemented. The IRZ also participated in an event of the EU project “Rule of Law” in 2016.

Early elections to the Lower House of Parliament (Mazhilis) took place in Kazakhstan on 20 March 2016. The President’s party “Nur Otan” was victorious in securing 82.15 % of the votes. Two of the opposition parties, “Ak Zhol” (7.18 %) and the “Communist People’s Party” (7.14 %), were once again voted into Parliament. According to the electoral authorities, election turnout was around 77.1 %.

The Republic of Kazakhstan celebrated 25 years of independence on 16 December 2016. Many events took place to celebrate this anniversary, amongst other things also including the Constitutional Law Conference, which takes place every year in August on the Day of the Constitution.

Overall Concept

Since the end of 2009, the IRZ has supported the Republic of Kazakhstan with extensive judicial reforms. The IRZ has intensively supported the Kazakh partners in recent years with the reform of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, which are amongst other things also oriented towards the German legislation. The consulting focus in the reporting year concentrated on the spheres of constitutional law, civil and commercial law, the administration of justice, criminal and criminal procedure law, and on basic and further training. In addition, the IRZ also conducted events on legislative procedure and patent and trademark law. The IRZ continued its intense cooperation with the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Justice.

The cooperation with the General Prosecutor’s Office focused on consultations on the Code of Criminal Procedure and on the subject of staff management at the Public Prosecutor’s Offices.

The central focus of the joint events with the Supreme Court continued to be on the introduction of the investigating judge in criminal procedure and – regarding criminal law offences – in the distinction between criminal offences and regulatory offences.

The IRZ continued its successful cooperation with the Constitutional Council in the sphere of constitutional law as well as criminal and civil law with regard to the protection of human rights. In the autumn of 2016, the Constitutional Council participated in the OSCE Conference in Warsaw.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the IRZ intensified consultations in the spheres of intellectual property and patent law.

Foci of Activity 2016

Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Study trip entitled “Legal regulation of demonstrations and rallies in Germany. Measures and means against public disturbance of the peace and riots” with the General Prosecutor’s Offices in Berlin and Potsdam
  • International constitutional law conference in Astana entitled “Constitution – basis for a dynamic and stable development of society and the state” with the Constitutional Council
  • Podium discussion in Warsaw entitled “Legal and judicial reforms in OSCE participant states and German support” in the course of the OSCE conference with the Constitutional Council
    Civil and Commercial Law
  • International conference in Ak-Bulak (near Almaty) entitled “Modernisation of the civil procedural law” with the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Council
  • Conference in Astana on copyright law and related intellectual property rights with the Ministry of Justice
  • Seminar in Astana on the topic of intellectual property (geographical references and statements of origin) with the Ministry of Justice
  • Roundtable in Astana in the Lower House of Parliament on reforms in the sphere of intellectual property protection

Administration of Justice

  • Study trip to the General Prosecutor’s Offices in Münster, Trier and Wiesbaden entitled “Basic and further training systems” with the Further Training Academy at the Kazakh General Prosecutor’s Office
  • Study trip to Berlin for legislative consultation with the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
  • Seminar in Almaty entitled “Ethical aspects in the work of the bailiff” with the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan
  • Participation by Kazakh representatives at the international conference entitled “Safeguarding the uniformity of jurisdiction as a task for the supreme courts” with the Association of Judges in Chișinău
  • Working visit in Berlin entitled “Legislative procedure and the legal monitoring of normative legal acts” with the Constitutional Council

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • International conference in Ak-Bulak near Almaty entitled “Modernisation of criminal procedure law” with the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Constitutional Council
  • Conference in Ust-Kamenogorsk on the role of the public prosecutor in criminal procedure together with the General Prosecutor’s Office
  • International conference in Astana entitled “Modern policy to combat corruption in the Republic of Kazakhstan: exchange of experience” with the Ministry for Affairs of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Anti-Corruption Department
  • Seminar in Astana with the Supreme Court on the special tasks of the investigative judge
  • Study trip to Berlin and Potsdam with the Supreme Court on the special tasks of the investigative judge
  • Seminar in Astana with the Supreme Court on “Criminal law offences in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan”
  • Study trip to Kempten and Sonthofen with the Supreme Court entitled “Criminal law offences. Accelerated proceedings. Domestic violence”
  • Study trip to Berlin and Potsdam with the Constitutional Council on “Criminal law investigation procedure”

Basic and Further Training

  • Participation by a lawyer at a course in Bonn offered by the Goethe Institute entitled “German for lawyers”
  • Working visit to the General Prosecutor’s Office in Mainz and Koblenz on the subject of staff management
  • Participation by Kazakh representatives of the Supreme Court in the multilateral internship programme for civil and commercial judges in Germany
  • Roundtable in Astana on the subject of staff management with the General Prosecutor’s Office

Outlook

Cooperation with the Kazakh partners in 2017 will continue to focus on consultations about the application of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. In addition, issues concerning the appointment and qualification of judges and public prosecutors are likewise intended to receive further attention. The IRZ will also advise on the application of the new Code of Civil Procedure provisions. The intention is to continue the cooperation with the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Constitutional Council, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice. Cooperation with the Chamber of Notaries and the Bar Association is intended to be resumed.

Download the entire IRZ annual report in PDF format here: annual report 2016.

Kazakhstan - annual report 2015

Länderbericht Kasachstan 2015Working visit by a delegation of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan on legislative procedure and legal monitoring of normative legal acts in Berlin: Zauresh Baimoldina, Deputy Justice Minister of the RK, and Ministerialdirektor Alfred Bindels, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Strategic framework

Legal policy starting point

Early presidential elections took place in the Republic of Kazakhstan in the spring of 2015. This led to five institutional reforms being announced in the "100 specific steps" programme. As well as modernising state institutions and promoting industrialisation and economic growth, this envisioned safeguarding the rule of law, as well as forming a transparent, accountable state. There was public criticism at national level of the fact that this programme provides for virtually no latitude for political reforms.

The protocol on Kazakhstan's accession to the World Trade Organization, which had been signed in the summer, was ratified by Parliament on 1 October. This paved the way for Kazakhstan to officially become the 162nd Member State of the WTO at the end of the year.

This is to further pursue the ambitious goal of belonging among the 30 most developed countries in the world in 2050.

Overall concept

The IRZ has been providing guidance to the Republic of Kazakhstan in comprehensive judicial reforms for six years. Amongst other laws, the new Criminal Code, the new Code of Criminal Procedure, the Prison Code, as well as the Act on Regulatory Offences, came into force at the start of 2015. The new Code of Civil Procedure was adopted by Parliament in September, and is to come into force from January 2016 onwards.

The focus of cooperation with the General Prosecutor's Office, as well as with the Supreme Court, was on consultation on the application of the new provisions of criminal law. Whilst the IRZ focussed intensively on the topics of the fight against terrorism and corruption, as well as criminal misdemeanours, in cooperation with the General Prosecutor's Office, the main focus of the joint events with the Supreme Court was placed on the introduction of investigating judges in criminal procedure, as well as on criminal offences in economic crime.

The IRZ continued its successful cooperation with the Constitutional Council in constitutional law and with the administrative courts.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the IRZ stepped up its consultations in the field of intellectual property and of patent law. A multilateral conference on the Hague Conventions took place in Astana in the autumn, also attended by participants from Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan and Russia.

Foci of activity in 2015

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

  • IV International Conference of Parliamentary Committees on Legal Affairs on the topic of "Protection of Fundamental Rights and possible Restrictions, and Consumer Protection on the Internet", in Berlin
  • International conference entitled "The Constitution – the unity of a people, stability and prosperity" with the Constitutional Council in Astana

Civil and commercial law

  • Seminar entitled "Patent information resources, access by the authorities to the appropriate databases, as well as exchange of experience when establishing patent information centres" with the Ministry of Justice in Almaty
  • Roundtable discussion on the topics of
    • parallel import of goods that are protected as intellectual property
    • measures undertaken by the customs authorities against product piracy and product counterfeiting
    • court and public prosecution office practice in dealing with disputes in accordance with the principle of the exhaustion of the legal channels with the Ministry of Justice in Astana
  • Multilateral conference entitled "International Family Law, Legal Cooperation and Commerce: Promoting the Rule of Law and cross-border Trade in Central Asia through the Hague Conventions" with the Ministry of Justice and HCCH in Astana

Administration of justice

  • Study visit to Berlin on the topic of "Legislative procedure and legal monitoring of normative legal acts" with the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Public law

  • Attendance at the international conference in Chișinău entitled "Administrative courts as a tool of the rule of law" with the Union of Judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Penitentiary Law

  • International conference on the topic of "Legal tools abroad in public law and the fight against corruption" with the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Civil Service and Anti-Corruption in Kostanai
  • International conference with the General Prosecutor's Office and the Constitutional Council on the topic of "Modernisation of criminal proceedings as a guarantee of the effectiveness of the system of legal protection and realisation of the human rights potential of the constitution of the RK" in Ak-Bulak/Almaty
  • Working visit of the General Prosecutors's Office of the RK on the topic of "Detection and investigation of criminal misdemeanours in criminal matters" in Frankfurt a.M. and Wiesbaden
  • Two events in Astana and Bremen on the topic of "The introduction of investigating judges in criminal proceedings", with the Supreme Court
  • International conference in Shuchinsk entitled "The economic security of the State. Criminal offences in economic crime" with the Supreme Court
  • Study trip to Berlin on the fight against terrorism and religious extremism with the General Prosecutor's Office and in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Study visit to Kiel on the topic of "Criminal cases in medical criminal law, as well as criminal law on young people" with the General Prosecutor's Office
  • Roundtable discussion in Taraz on the topic of "Information technologies: Enhanced role in the fight against extremism and terrorism"

Basic and further training

  • Attendance by a Kazakh lawyer at the course of the Goethe-Institut entitled "German for lawyers" in Bonn

Outlook

The focus of cooperation with Kazakh partner institutions for 2016 continues to be placed on consultation on the application of the Criminal Code and of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Furthermore, the IRZ will be providing consultation on the application of the provisions of the new Code of Civil Procedure. Cooperation with the General Prosecutor's Office, the Constitutional Council, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice is to be continued. Events on the administrative courts will be held with the Union of Judges of Kazakhstan, which takes the chair in 2016. Cooperation with the Chamber of Notaries, as well as with the Bar, is to be stepped up.

Further topics for consultation will be the optimisation of the court system from a five-stage to a three-stage system of instances and the introduction of obligatory health insurance.

Kazakhstan - annual report 2013

Länderbericht Kasachstan 2013Roundtable on the application of the provisions of the Civil Code with the Supreme Court in Astana: Günter Jannsen, presiding judge at Oldenburg Higher Regional Court, and Prof. Dr. Walter Rolland, Director- General, ret., at the Federal Ministry of Justice (left to right)

General – Conceptual orientation

Legal policy starting point

The EU's Central Asia strategy entails increased European commitment in the region. At the same time, the Republic of Kazakhstan has an ongoing interest in approchement to the Western states. In order to promote legal and justice sector reforms, state programmes are being drawn up which are to act as guides for legal policy reforms. For instance, two projects were adopted in the context of the "Kazakhstan Strategy – 2050: A new political course of a new state" programme. One project provides for the further modernisation of the legal protection system from 2014 to 2020, whilst the other project, which will be running from 2013 to 2017, aims to combat religious extremism and terrorism.

Cooperation to date

The IRZ's consultation activities in Kazakhstan began at the end of 2009 with the Kazakhstan Year in Germany. Cooperation was broad from the outset, and borrowed from institutional and statutory reforms in Kazakhstan. In 2013 the IRZ successfully continued and intensified the partnership with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General, the Supreme Court as well as the Constitutional Council. In addition to topics of constitutional and civil law, there was also consultation on the reform of criminal and criminal procedure law. In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and Parliament, the IRZ organised several successful multilateral events. The Chamber of Notaries, the Association of Judges as well as the Institute of Legislation of the Ministry of Justice, have been added as new partners.

Major partners

  • Office of the Public Prosecutor General
  • Supreme Court
  • Constitutional Council
  • Parliament
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Institute of Legislation of the Ministry of Justice
  • Association of Judges
  • Chamber of Notaries

Strategy and method

The IRZ has been engaged for more than four years in effectively supporting Kazakhstan, as a state in Central Asia which is highly significant in strategic terms, in its efforts to modernise its legal system and to bring it up to international standards.

Foci of activity in 2013

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

  • Working visit by a delegation from the Constitutional Council on the topic of "Constitutional review" at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg
  • International constitutional law conference "The Constitution as the basis for the strategic development of the State and society" in Astana
  • Participation by two Members of the Parliament of the RK at the III International Conference of Parliamentary Committees on Legal Affairs "The path to legislation – The role and influence of the institutions involved" in Berlin

Civil and commercial law

  • Roundtable with the Supreme Court on the topic of "Application of the provisions of the Civil Code of the RK/law on obligations" in Astana
  • Participation by a Kazakh expert at the international conference "The Moldovan Civil Code: 10 years after its introduction – successes, reserves and prospects" in Chisinau
  • Study visit to Berlin by a delegation from the Supreme Court on the topic of "Court practice in the application of the Consumer Protection Act"

Administration of justice

  • Study visit by a delegation of the Chamber of Notaries on the topic of "The notariat. Electronic registration of real estate" in Koblenz Public law
  • International conference "Promotion of international cooperation by the Hague Conventions" in Tbilisi with representatives of the Ministry of Justice, of the Supreme Court and of the Institute of Legislation of the Ministry of Justice
  • International conference "Administrative justice: specialisation and simplification of court procedure, increasing the efficiency of legal protection" with the Association of Judges in Astana
  • Seminar with the Institute of Legislation of the Ministry of Justice on the topic of "Normative legal acts and legal acts of governmental authorities: problems of regulation and application of the law (experience in Germany and other EU Member States)" in Astana

Criminal law and the law on the prison system

  • International conference with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General on the topic of "Reforming the Code of Criminal Procedure of Kazakhstan on the basis of principles of the rule of law" in Ak-Bulak/Almaty
  • First forum on the reform of the prison system "Instead of prison – probation and electronic monitoring" with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General and Penal Reform International in Astana
  • Two study visits by delegations from the Office of the Public Prosecutor General on the topic of "Combating religious extremism and terrorism" in Berlin and Kiel
  • Seminar on the topic of "Accelerated criminal proceedings" with the Supreme Court in Astana
  • Roundtable with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General and the public prosecution office of the Karaganda area on the topic of "Application of information technologies in the main hearing within criminal proceedings" in Karaganda
  • Study visit to Düsseldorf on the topic of "Communication in criminal proceedings" with the Supreme Court

Basic and further training

  • Participation by two legal experts at the Goethe Institute's "German for legal experts" course in Bonn

Outlook

Cooperation with the Kazakh partner institutions for the year 2014 provides for final consultation on the Criminal Code and on the Code of Criminal Procedure, which are to come into force in Kazakhstan at the beginning of 2015. Furthermore, there will be consultation on the reform of the Code of Civil Procedure. There are already plans for events on mediation and on crime prevention, as well as a workshop for investigating judges.