Kazakh draft law would toughen penalties for rape, child sexual abuse

NUR-SULTAN – A draft law is being developed to make penalties more stringent for rape and child sexual abuse, Deputy Prosecutor General Murat Akhmetzhanov said at a Sept. 11 press conference.

Photo credit: zakon.kz.

“The draft law is being prepared to further improve the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. It includes amendments to toughen liability for intentionally committing certain types of serious and grave crimes. For example, liability for committing a crime that violates sexual integrity will be increased – rape and sexual assault, even without aggravating circumstances, will be categorised as grave crimes,” he said.

In particular, the draft law will provide stricter criminal liability for those committing child sexual abuse.

“Committing a sex offence against a minor will mean imprisonment for life or at least 20 years [behind bars],” he added. “The draft law will also provide for stricter criminal liability for concealing a corruption offense, failing to report on the preparation and commission of an act of terrorism, concealing child sexual abuse and failing to report paedophilia.”

Akhmetzhanov noted failing to report paedophiles will be classified as a serious crime with a maximum sentence of up to six years in prison.

“This criminal punishment targets the employees and leadership of specialised children’s institutions that conceal sexual abuse of children under their roofs. The same liability will hold for parents and guardians,” he said.

The draft law is to be submitted to Parliament for consideration by the end of the year.

In his Sept. 2 state of the nation address, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called for toughening penalties “for sexual violence, paedophilia, drug trafficking, human trafficking and other serious crimes, especially those against children.”

“We have moved away from excessively repressive measures and harsh punitive practices. However, numerous serious crimes still occur in the country. We got carried away with the humanisation of legislation, having lost sight of the fundamental rights of citizens,” he said.