ASTANA – Kazakhstan to hold a Central Asian regional conference on the prevention of torture and inhumane treatment as part of the Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) program implemented with the Council of Europe, said Sergey Dikman, head of Human Rights National Implementation Division at the Council of Europe on Jan. 31 in Astana.
“We are implementing a program called the Central Asia Rule of Law in which we work with representatives of legal professions in all countries of Central Asia. The visit takes place in the context of expanded collaboration between Kazakhstan and the Council of Europe,” said Dikman. “We hope this year we are able to hold several joint activities that will support the reforms that are taking place in Kazakhstan.”
The regional conference is the primary activity, according to Dikman. Other activities will include training for judges and prosecutors.
“The Council of Europe has a lot of experience in this area. We hope to share our knowledge with you to help you tackle this issue in the country,” he told journalists after the meeting.
During their meeting with the Chairman of Kazakhstan’s Presidential Commission on Human Rights Igor Rogov and the Secretary of the Human Rights Commission Tastemir Abishev, the Dikman and his colleagues from the Council of Europe discussed the prospects of sharing the council’s experience in the protection of human rights at the stage of pre-trial investigation, including the prevention of torture in the country’s law enforcement activities and the prospects for cooperation of the commission with the European structures.
According to Rogov, one of the problems Kazakhstan has encountered was the violation of the rule of law at an early stage of the criminal process, particularly referring to the incidents of torture.
“The HELP program does much work preparing special training programs for law enforcement officers. The task our legal system is facing today is to develop mechanisms that prevent law violations, torture, and other forbidden methods of criminal proceedings at the system level. At the same time, we need mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness of those mechanisms,” said Rogov.
Kazakhstan has cooperated with the Council of Europe and its structures since 1997. The country has participated as a full member in the European Commission for Democracy through Law, also known as the Venice Commission, since 2012 and in the council’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) anti-corruption body since 2020.
Since 2018, Kazakhstan has an international observer status with the Consultative Council of European Judges and the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice.
The recent visit of Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko to the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg strengthened the bilateral cooperation.