NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ratified his country’s agreement with the Council of Europe on immunities and privileges for Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) representatives Jan. 4, according to the akorda.kz.
The agreement was signed Oct. 15 in Strasbourg, France, by Kazakh Anti-Corruption Agency Chair Alik Shpekbayev and by Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini Dragoni. GRECO’s headquarters are in Strasbourg.
“The purpose of this agreement is to provide the representatives of GRECO and assessment groups with immunities from civil, administrative and criminal liability, from detentions and arrests, including their baggage, personal belongings and equipment, during visits to Kazakhstan related to the fulfilment of their official duties,” noted First Deputy Chair of the Kazakh Anti-Corruption Agency Olzhas Bektenov during the ratification process in the parliament.
The agreement is intended to prevent GRECO representatives from being blocked in any way from doing their work in sharing best practices and strengthening the Kazakh capabilities in fighting corruption.
The documents of GRECO representatives and assessment group members, who may include scientific experts, Council of Europe officials and translators assisting them, regarding audits in Kazakhstan are to be inviolable, and official GRECO correspondence and its official means of communication will be prohibited from arrest or censorship.
“The agreement provides GRECO representatives and members of assessment groups the opportunity to use privileges and immunities, to perform independently functions related to the work of GRECO, and not for the personal benefit of individuals. Kazakhstan’s close cooperation with the Council of Europe will raise the development of democracy and the protection of human rights in Kazakhstan to a new level, so the conclusion of the agreement was a timely, necessary and justified measure,” added Bektenov.
It is expected that ratifying this agreement will help Kazakhstan’s anti-corruption efforts and improve its ranking in global corruption indices.
All GRECO member states are granted uniform, model immunities and privileges and follow 20 anti-corruption guidelines. Kazakhstan has now become the 50th GRECO member state.
“I welcome the Republic of Kazakhstan as GRECO anticorruption body 50th member state,” wrote GRECO Executive Secretary Gianluca Esposito on Twitter.
Kazakhstan is GRECO’s first member in Asia – the rest of its 49 members comprise European countries and the United States.
According to the Council of Europe, GRECO was established in 1999 to improve its members’ capacity to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. GRECO helps identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. The organisation also provides a platform for sharing best practices in preventing and detecting corruption.