Consultative-Advisory Body Discusses Improvements for Legal, Judicial Systems

ASTANA – On June 20, the Consultative-Advisory Body: Platform for Dialogue on the Human Dimension met for the second time, this time on the theme “Rule of law: the right to a fair legal process.” Under the chairmanship of Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Usen Suleimen, CAB members discussed the improvement of the legal system, the relationship of citizens to the state in the legal sphere, the problems of judicial authority and maintaining human rights in the administration of justice. Topics on the reform of criminal, administrative and civil law were also discussed.

Reports were presented by former Supreme Court judge Dr. Raisa Yurchenko, President of the Fund for the Development of Parliamentarism in Kazakhstan Zauresh Battalova, Assistant to the Attorney General of Kazakhstan Olga Pakhomkova and president of the nongovernmental organisation International Legal Initiative Aina Shormanbayeva, among others. The representatives of civil society and officials offered a package of recommendations for consideration as part of the work of Strategy 2050.

These recommendations will be included in the final annual report of the CAB’s work and sent to the government for consideration in preparing the National Action Plan on Democracy to 2020. The third CAB meeting, on theme “Rule of Law,” is scheduled for July 19.

On June 14, Ambassador-at-Large Suleimen held a briefing for the diplomatic corps accredited in Astana and discussed the work of the CAB.

According to the ambassador-at-large, the key objective of the CAB is to bring together the efforts of the government and NGOs to move Kazakhstan’s development plans forward, including the main objectives of Strategy 2050.

The CAB was launched in late 2012 and began to take the form of a platform for substantive dialogue on the prospects of the political development of Kazakhstan. An action plan for 2013 was adopted in the beginning of this year.

“The CAB’s goals are clear. We work on establishing a greater synergy between the government, Parliament and NGOs in joint efforts to solidify a democratic foundation of Kazakhstan. We want to strengthen the culture of dialogue and political debate,” Ambassador-at-Large Suleimen said.

“Given the constant evolution of events, we decided to present recommendations to state agencies not by the end of the year, but as they develop,” he said at the June 20 event.

Dr. Yurchenko spoke of the need to focus on improving the objectivity, impartiality and independence of the judiciary, as well as to focus on the technical equipment of courts. She also agreed that the education of judges requires further advancement, especially their knowledge of international law.

Zauresh Battalova emphasised the importance of applying the principles of international law in legislation and enabling practice.

During the discussion, President of the Editors-in-Chief Club Kenzhebolat Zholdybay underlined the importance of providing media access to court proceedings, and

Representative of the Central Executive Committee Arbol Argynov suggested strengthening efforts to increase the legal literacy of the population and the provision of psychological support to victims.

Summing up the discussion, Ambassador-at-Large Suleimen noted that the third meeting of the CAB, on the theme “Institutional support of the rule of the law,” is to be held in July.

In December, the CAB will hold a full membership meeting under the chairmanship of Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov to review the work in 2013, draft a list of recommendations for the government and outline plan of action for 2014.

The first thematic meeting of the CAB was held on May 27. The agenda included issues such as political pluralism, civil society development and the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The meeting resulted in 19 recommendations, all of which will be included in the final document of the CAB for 2013 and sent to the government for consideration in preparing the National Action Plan on Democracy to 2020.

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