January 02, 2015

Kazakhstani Judicial Delegation Visits Estonia

January 2015

From December 7–12, 2014, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) in cooperation with the Union of Judges of Kazakhstan, the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan and Narva Courthouse, took nine Kazakhstani judges and specialists on a judicial exchange to Estonia to learn about plea bargaining, the role of an investigating judge and e-justice systems.

Discussions addressed the roles of an investigating judge and the practice of plea bargaining, concepts introduced by Kazakhstan’s criminal and criminal procedure codes that went into effect on January 1.

The group, which included five oblast (appellate) court judges, a specialist from the Union of Judges, deputy director of the Apparatus of the Supreme Court and head of its Analysis and Planning Division, was led by judge Serik Baibatyrov, chair of the Union of Judges. On December 8, the Kazakhstani delegation met with Virgo Saarmets, chairperson of the Union of Judges of Estonia. They also visited Narva District Police Department, Narva District Prosecutor’s Office and Narva Courthouse. Discussions addressed the roles of an investigating judge and plea bargaining, concepts introduced by Kazakhstan’s criminal and criminal procedure codes that went into effect on January 1. Plea bargaining has been a part of the Estonian legal system since 1998. Judge Innokentyi Menshikov of the Narva Couthouse gave an overview of the implementation of plea bargaining in Estonia and led a court hearing involving plea bargaining on a criminal case, allowing the delegation to witness a plea-bargaining hearing in an Estonian court, which they later discussed with both the judge and the prosecutor.

The Kazakhstani delegation also met with Timo Ligi, a leading Estonian e-justice expert, on December 11. Ligi gave a presentation on the Estonian e-justice system, demonstrating how it works and sharing tips on approaches to the implementation and enhancement of similar systems.

This judicial exchange was organized as part of ABA ROLI’s U.S. Agency for International Development-funded judicial program. ABA ROLI implements the program in partnership with the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan, the Union of Judges and the Institute of Justice.

To learn more about our work in Kazakhstan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.