Europe Supports Adoption of Law Criminalizing Domestic Violence in Kazakhstan

ASTANA — On the sidelines of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, French expert Carla Duat told Kazinform on April 24 that adopting the law criminalizing domestic violence in Kazakhstan is a positive step.

Photo credit: Freepik

Duat emphasized the honor of meeting senators who were part of such an essential law in Kazakhstan. 

“This is a special moment given the 20th anniversary of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Council of Europe,” she said.

PACE has recently issued a declaration praising Kazakhstan’s substantial progress in democratic and political reforms. Duat noted that positive and promising relations had developed between the parties.

“I am sure that we will also continue mutual cooperation, combining efforts to create a better world, especially in ensuring women’s rights,” she concluded.

Zhovt Nemeth, a Hungarian parliamentarian and leader of the national delegation to PACE, the initial signer of the declaration, emphasized in the interview with Kazinform the backing of 22 PACE members for fostering connections between the Council of Europe and Kazakhstan, as well as endorsing reforms within Kazakhstan.

“I think this is a restart of cooperation. Something new is happening between the Council of Europe and Kazakhstan. I would like to note the development of political reforms in Kazakhstan and ask Kazakh politicians to deepen contacts with the Council of Europe,” he said. 

Karolina Kluczewska, a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University in Belgium and a research associate at the Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, highlights the importance of these legal revisions, which reintroduce criminal responsibility for violence against women, previously removed from Kazakhstan’s criminal code in 2017. She noted these amendments also toughen penalties for violence against minors.

“They also come at an important moment, given that societal discussions on gender-based violence and calls for zero tolerance resurged after a recent case of a brutal killing of a wife of the former Minister of National Economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev,” she said.

Kluczewska emphasized that these laws primarily respond to internal dynamics within Kazakhstan and are not induced by the European Union.

“However, it remains to be seen how the laws will be implemented in practice and how responsive law enforcement bodies will be to cases of gender-based violence, as it is at this level that instances of abuse are often neglected,” she added.

Former Minister of National Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev was detained in Astana on Nov. 9 on suspicion of murdering his wife, Saltanat Nukenova. The main jury trial commenced on March 27 and is ongoing.

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok!