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From the district court to the Human Rights Committee: lawyers learn to protect the rights of participants in peaceful assemblies

During the fourth training, Kazakhstani lawyers learned how to appeal decisions of administrative courts, how to file appeals and complaints for review of cases, and what guarantees international law provides for the protection of participants in peaceful assemblies in Kazakhstan.

Online trainings are held for defense lawyers and defenders of the non-governmental sector of the Republic of Kazakhstan as part of the project to protect the rights of Kazakhstani citizens during peaceful assemblies. The project is implemented by the Legal Policy Research Center (Almaty) with the financial support of the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation.

The topic of the fourth training was on the issues and subtleties of appealing court decisions and actions of administrative prosecution bodies in cases related to peaceful assemblies. The speaker of the training was defense lawyer Zhanara Balgabayeva. In total, about 50 defense lawyers and defenders of the non-governmental sector from different cities of Kazakhstan took part in the training.

During the training, participants discussed in detail the appeal procedures that are available to Kazakhstani citizens. Among them:

– review of court decisions that have not entered into legal force on appeal;

– review of court decisions that have entered into force in the cassation procedure;

– application to the Prosecutor’s Office for appeal of judicial acts;

– appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office by hierarchy: district Prosecutor’s Office, City Prosecutor, Prosecutor General’s Office, Prosecutor General;

– individual communication to the UN Human Rights Committee.

Another important issue discussed by the training participants is the procedure for appealing the actions of officials.

Zhanara Balgabayeva reminded the participants that actions, as well as inaction, of officials and acts of state bodies are appealed to the court in accordance with Chapter 29 of the Civil Procedure Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

As the expert noted, a citizen and a legal entity have the right to appeal to a higher state body or to a court with a complaint or statement within three months from the moment when they became aware of the violation of their rights, freedoms and legitimate interests.

It is also necessary to track the terms of consideration of requests. Thus, appeals received by the Prosecutor’s Office must be resolved no later than 30 days from the date of receipt by the Prosecutor’s Office, which do not require additional study and verification — no later than 15 days.

Appeals to international organizations are of particular importance.

As noted by the training mentor, human rights defender Tatiana Chernobil, before applying to the Human Rights Committee, the applicant must exhaust domestic remedies for the relevant violation.

The UN Human Rights Committee is an organization that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on civil and political rights in countries that are parties to the covenant. This Covenant was ratified by Kazakhstan in 2005.

According to the UN Human Rights Committee, “when a state party imposes certain restrictions, these restrictions should not jeopardize the very principle of this right.” Restrictions must be “established by law”: they may be imposed for one of the reasons set out in the article, and the state party must justify that they are “necessary” to achieve one of these goals.

The experts also reminded the participants that, in accordance with article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, international treaties ratified by the Republic have priority over its laws and are applied directly.

Online trainings are held within the framework of the project “Building capacity of the legal community to provide legal assistance and protect the right to peaceful assembly”.

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