Kazakhstan Finalizes Commitment to Abolishing Death Penalty, Submits Ratification of Protocol to UN

NUR-SULTAN – Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations in New York Magzhan Ilyassov submitted the ratification by Kazakhstan of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolishing the death penalty, reported the press service of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Magzhan Ilyassov (L). Photo: Gov.kz.

This confirms the firm commitment of Kazakhstan to the further development of human rights and the fulfillment of its international obligations in this area. Kazakhstan has become the 90th country out of 193 UN member states to accede to the protocol.

The first step towards Kazakhstan’s adoption of this international norm took place in New York on Sept. 23, 2020. On Jan. 2, 2021, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed the law on the ratification of this document.

This brings the national criminal legislation of Kazakhstan into line with international norms. 

On Dec. 29, 2021, Tokayev signed the law “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of Kazakhstan on the Abolition of the Death Penalty.” Ratification of the Second Optional Protocol at the UN secured the complete abolition of the death penalty in Kazakhstan and continued the course towards a general liberalization of the country’s criminal legislation.

The use of the death penalty in Kazakhstan was suspended by the Decree of the President of Kazakhstan dated Dec. 17, 2003. Then, on March 16, 2022, in his State-of-the-Nation Address “New Kazakhstan: the Path of Renewal and Modernisation”, Tokayev noted that “in order to finally consolidate the decision to abolish the death penalty, it is necessary to make appropriate changes to the Constitution.”

The changes to the Constitution will be introduced in Kazakhstan in the near future. 

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