Council of Europe to Open Regional Office in Kazakhstan

The Council of Europe will open its regional office in Kazakhstan in the near future given the country’s close cooperation with the council in the legal system since 1997.

The move to open an office in the country shows that Kazakhstan and the Council of Europe is committed to continue their fruitful relations in developing stronger partnership ties.

A meeting was held recently in Strasbourg between the Council of Europe’s Rapporteur Group on External Relations and representatives of Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

Kazakhstan announced at the meeting that it has joined three legal instruments of the Council of Europe in the field of criminal justice.

According to the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the instruments include the Convention on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of criminal proceeds as well as terrorism financing, convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax and protocol amending the convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax.

The decision to enter into the legal instruments was the result of the successful completion of the joint program between the European Union and the Council of Europe in supporting the Kazakh authorities to improve the quality and efficiency of the Kazakh justice system.

The Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the program was developed in partnership with Kazakh state agencies in order to improve the standards of Kazakhstan’s legal framework in accordance with the best practices of the justice system.

“According to both specialists in Kazakhstan and the leadership of the Council of Europe, the program was very successful. We decided to extend our cooperation and develop a new program, which will be focused in Kazakhstan as well as other countries in the region,” Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister, Roman Vassilenko said.

Meanwhile, President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, Gianni Buquicchio said the council has a long-standing cooperation with Kazakhstan since 1998.

“The first activity we had with Kazakhstan was an opinion on the legislation concerning the Ombudsman in 2007 already. Then, we received the other technical requests for opinion like, for instance, the legal acts of the Customs Union between Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Russian Federation. We cooperated also on the constitutional reform of the judiciary and more importantly, we cooperated also in 2017 on the revision of the Constitution of Kazakhstan, which was a very important issue. You know, I can say that in these last 20 years of cooperation, there have been a lot of progress in Kazakhstan, more progress on the part of a better democracy in the country and this is our common goal from your authorities and from the Venice Commission. Of course, sometimes, our visions of the fundamental standards are not the same concerning democracy et cetera, but I think that at the end, Kazakhstan will come closer to the European visions of the democratic standards,” he said.