II nd Eurasian Human Rights Forum: Human rights protection and case-law in modern Kazakhstan; Zauresh Baimoldina (centre), Rector of the Academy of Justice under the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan
II nd Eurasian Human Rights Forum: Human rights protection and case-law in modern Kazakhstan; Zauresh Baimoldina (centre), Rector of the Academy of Justice under the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Strategic Framework 

Legal Policy Starting Point 

The year 2020 was shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which also presented Kazakhstan with major challenges. During the year, the government introduced extensive support measures for the economic and social sectors, which are set to continue until 2023.

President Kassim-Jomart Tokayev addressed the population on 1 September 2020 in a speech entitled “Kazakhstan in the new reality: time for action”. In the speech, he announced sweeping measures to modernise the state administration and state bodies, as well as reforms of family policy (protection of children’s rights), social policy (drafting of a social code), electoral law (30% quota of women and young persons on party candidate lists), self-administration and other aspects. The legal protection system, the bodies exercising judicial power and the Public Prosecutor’s Office will also be modernised in order to strengthen human rights.

Kazakhstan signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 24 September 2020, in which signatory states commit to abolishing the death penalty. However, ratification will require amendments to national legislation.

The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) between the EU and Kazakhstan entered into force on 1 March 2020, placing the cooperation on a new legal footing and covering a total of 29 different areas, including economy and trade, justice, freedom and security, combating money laundering and corruption, counter terrorism, disarmament and nuclear safety, environment and climate change.

Overall Concept

Several planned events had to be postponed or cancelled at the beginning of the year due to the pandemic. Fortunately, almost all of them have since taken place in alternative virtual formats. This also enabled the successful continuation of cooperation with the Constitutional Council, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court as well as the General Prosecutor’s Office and their further training academies. The Ministry of Education and Science and the Anti-Corruption Agency of Kazakhstan were also recruited as new partners.

Kazakhstan celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Constitution with a large and high-level international online conference in August 2020. Its main thematic focus was on the importance of fundamental rights and their protection in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to a request from the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan, IRZ translated the Act on the Federal Constitutional Court, which will be used in future during further training events.

Issues of intellectual property continue to play an important role in civil and commercial law. In addition, a seminar on the Hague Convention on Child Abduction (HCCA) of 1980 was held in cooperation with the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). Another reform project in Kazakhstan is aimed at strengthening the rights of children: Kazakhstan plans to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In the course of further reforms of criminal and criminal procedure law, advice was provided in the area of investigative proceedings, as the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Kazakhstan will be tasked with leading these proceedings from 2021 onwards, similar to the German model.

The Administrative Procedures Code was adopted on 29 June 2020 after more than ten years of preparation and is scheduled to enter into force on 1 July 2021. Two further training events were held for judges, lawyers and students on the application of these laws in court proceedings.

Focus of Activity in 2020

Constitutional Law, Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • International online conference “Constitution in the 21 st century – the rule of law, value of the human being and effectiveness of the state”
  • II nd Eurasian Forum on Human Rights “Human rights protection and case-law in modern Kazakhstan: problems, trends and prospects”
  • Translation of the Act on the Federal Constitutional Court into Russian

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Online seminar on the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs
  • Online seminar “Collective rights management and rights administration of copyright and related rights”
  • Working meeting with the Kazakh Ministry of Justice and parliament on legal reforms in the field of intellectual property, in particular the protection of unregistered community designs
  • International Online conference “The implementation of measures on the return of wrongfully abducted children under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Prevention of 25 October 1980”

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Online forum “Criminal prosecution: responsibilities of the criminal investigation department and the Public Prosecutor’s Office”
  • Online seminar “Methods for evaluating corruption risks”
  • Online seminar “Modern approaches to organising the fight against legalising criminal proceeds”
  • International online event on policy to combat corruption with the Anti-Corruption Agency “Towards integrity: strengthening transparency, accountability and participation”

Basic and Further Training 

  • Two online seminars “Particular aspects of proceedings under civil law, criminal law and administrative law”


Cooperation with the Kazakh partner institutions will continue within the framework of the country’s extensive reform projects. Advice will also be provided in 2021, in particular on criminal law and criminal procedure law, commercial law and administrative law. IRZ will place another focus on corruption and cybercrime.