On May 22, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)—in cooperation with the Union of Judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan—conducted a roundtable on combating drug trafficking. Held in Almaty, the roundtable was attended by 20 people, including presidents of Almaty’s nine criminal district courts and representatives from the General Prosecutor’s Office, Institute of Legislation, Almaty Bar Association and civil society organizations.
The roundtable brought together members of the Kazakhstan-specific working group that is composed of high-level decision-makers and practitioners in the sphere of combating, investigating and prosecuting drug-related crimes in Central Asia. The May roundtable sought to engage stakeholders and foster regional collaboration on issues related to drug trafficking crimes and court monitoring. Members of the national working group in Kazakhstan discussed goals and planned activities of ABA ROLI’s court monitoring program.
Anar Sagidan, head of the Department of International and Comparative Law of the Institute of Legislation and a member of the working group, presented findings of the working group’s assessment, discussing the main challenges in the investigation and prosecution of drug-related crimes and sharing recommendations on addressing the challenges. Tatyana Zinovich, director of the Legal Research Policy Centre and working group member, led discussions on the goals of the program and gave an overview of drug-related crimes as well as the court monitoring process.
Discussions during the roundtable demonstrated that cases related to drug abuse were not covered by ongoing court monitoring efforts. Participants suggested including those cases in future court monitoring and reform efforts. Participants also highlighted that while Kazakhstan’s Criminal Code covers the possession of large quantities of drugs with intent to distribute, the country does not have specific legislation that fully addresses possession without intent to distribute and that additional attention must be given to such matters.
The roundtable was organized as part of ABA ROLI’s program to monitor drug-related criminal cases in Central Asia. The regional program is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
To learn more about our regional program in Central Asia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.