09ASTANA591, KAZAKHSTAN: JUDICIARY SEEKS TO INCREASE COOPERATION WITH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA591 2009-04-03 12:00 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO8825
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK
RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0591/01 0931200
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031200Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5093
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1447
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0825
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1528
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0512
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2248
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2578
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1010
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0923
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 1384

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000591 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/ACE, F, SCA/PPD, DRL 
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID SOCI KZ
SUBJECT:   KAZAKHSTAN:  JUDICIARY SEEKS TO INCREASE COOPERATION WITH 
UNITED STATES 
 
ASTANA 00000591  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. SUMMARY:  On March 17, visiting USAID Democracy and Governance 
Advisor Gavin Helf and other USAID staff met with Abdrashid 
Zhukenov, Acting Chairman of the Supreme Court and Chairman of the 
Collegium on Criminal Cases, and Ilyas Ispanov, First Deputy 
Chairman of the Supreme Court's Administration Committee.  The 
participants discussed progress on judicial reform in Kazakhstan, 
the potential for increased cooperation between the judiciary and 
USAID, and the specific needs of Kazakhstan's judiciary.  The 
Supreme Court officials expressed a keen interest in increasing 
cooperation with USAID through additional training activities of 
judges and staff as well as public outreach campaigns in the areas 
of jury trials and judicial oversight of the pre-trial process.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
JUDICIAL REFORM IS PROGRESSING 
 
2.  Acting Chairman Zhukenov overviewed the current state of the 
judiciary and its progress over the past several years.  He stated 
that reforms have been gradual but steady.  Jury trials were first 
introduced in 2007, and crimes that fall under the scope of jury 
trials will be expanded in January 2010 to include "especially 
dangerous crimes."  A one-year pilot program for the establishment 
of juvenile courts in Almaty and Astana is likely to be expanded 
country wide in 2010.  Moreover, a draft law is currently before 
Parliament that would provide for the restructuring of the judicial 
system, including establishing jury trials in lower courts and 
expanding the subject matter jurisdiction of lower courts.  The 
draft law also expands the jurisdiction of the specialized courts. 
 
3.  There have been improvements in the working conditions for the 
judiciary.  Deputy Administration Committee Chairman Ispanov stated 
that a special committee established in 2006 has implemented several 
positive reforms.  Almost all courts in the country now have their 
own facilities and, in 2007, additional facilities designated for 
jury trials began to be constructed.  Advice and recommendations 
from USAID were helpful in the design of new court premises. 
Moreover, the salaries of judges were increased 20-60 percent, and 
medical and social benefits were also improved. 
 
COURTS MORE TRANSPARENT WITH COURT REPORTING IMPROVEMENTS 
 
4.  Acting Chairman Zhukenov expressed appreciation for the support 
and assistance the Supreme Court and judiciary received from USAID 
based on the current Memorandum of Understanding, and the associated 
Kazakhstan Judicial Assistance Project (KJAP).  The KJAP focused on 
increasing the transparency of the courts through the procurement 
and installation of audio/video court reporting equipment, along 
with associated training for court staff on the use of such 
equipment.  USAID provided equipment for six courts, and the 
Government of Kazakhstan further expanded the project to an 
additional 33 courts.  The installation of relevant software and 
training by USAID also allowed for greater information sharing and 
cooperation among courts.  The Supreme Court is now considering 
further technological improvements that will allow for remote 
testimony, nation-wide training activities, and improving methods 
for the protection of witnesses. 
 
5.  The KJAP ensures that a complete and accurate record of the 
trial exists, thus creating confidence among citizens that their 
trials were conducted properly and impartially.  Seventy-three 
percent of citizens who participated in a recorded trial reported 
that they have more trust in courts that use the video recording 
equipment than those that do not.  Ninety-three percent of all court 
staff using the equipment support its use in all courts in 
Kazakhstan. Increased confidence and satisfaction was also shown in 
the drop in appeal rates for recorded cases, since non-recorded 
cases were three times more likely to be appealed. 
 
SUPREME COURT CALLS FOR MORE TRAINING FOR JUDGES 
 
6.  Acting Chairman Zhukenov stressed that the continued expansion 
 
ASTANA 00000591  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
of jury trials in the country required more training programs for 
judges.  Jury trials will start in district courts where judges and 
court staff have no experience in holding such trials.  In addition 
to training
programs for judges, events that bring judges currently 
implementing jury trials together with judges that will be doing so 
in the coming years would be very beneficial.  Ispanov requested 
assistance in developing a public information campaign to better 
inform citizens about jury trials, including the roles and 
responsibilities of juries. 
 
JUDGES NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR ISSUING ARREST WARRANTS 
 
7.  Another area of special training needed for the judiciary 
involves pre-trial investigations.  Beginning in August 2008 with a 
change to the Criminal Procedure Law, the courts became responsible 
for weighing evidence, ruling on probable cause, and issuing arrest 
warrants.  Acting Chairman Zhukenov requested a training program for 
judges on principles of and control over pre-trial investigations. 
Zhukenov believes that the U.S. experience of judicial oversight of 
pre-trial matters, such as the issuance of search and arrest 
warrants, could be particularly helpful.  Ispanov requested 
assistance in informing the public of the new systems of judicial 
oversight, since most citizens do not know their rights under this 
new system.  Moreover, the defense bar is also in serious need of 
training and assistance in order to prepare to effectively represent 
their clients in jury trials.  Right now, the quality of the defense 
bar is quite low. 
 
8.  The Mission also supports judicial reform in Kazakhstan through 
Open World, a professional exchange program of the U.S. Congress 
that operates in the former Soviet republics and coordinates with 
USAID and U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Sections.  Since 2008, Embassy 
Astana has sent 16 Kazakhstani legal professionals to the United 
States through Open World to meet their professional American 
counterparts.  During their programs in Washington and other U.S. 
cities, Kazakhstani Supreme Court judges and officials from the 
Prosecutor General's Office and Ministry of Justice have spent 10 
days learning about tax law, intellectual property rights, and 
international law. 
 
9.  COMMENT:  USAID is currently developing a judicial reform 
program that will respond to a previous request by the Supreme Court 
-- training judges in preparation for WTO accession.  However, 
opportunities exist to provide substantive criminal procedure 
training that has very positive implications for human rights 
protection.  Judicial review of the adequacy of evidence prior to 
arrest, a function previously fulfilled by the Procuracy, should 
result in a more fair and balanced review of evidence.  Current 
USAID funding levels will not allow for a comprehensive response to 
the Supreme Court's requests, but the Open World Program could 
perhaps address those made by Chairman Zhukenov in paras 5 and 6 
above: bring Kazakhstani judges who will be implementing jury trials 
into contact with American judges currently doing so, and bring 
Kazakhstani judges to meet with U.S. counterparts on the principles 
of and control over pretrial investigations.  The European Union is 
preparing a major program to support the defense bar.  END COMMENT. 
 
HOAGLAND

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