Recently, the English language mass-media of Kazakhstan has featured numerous informative accounts on Kazakhstan signing new agreements on cooperation in the criminal sphere with the European Union countries. (More information: here and here). However, the information delivered in its original form in seldom sufficiently accurate, which results in certain discrepancies as far as the issue of Kazakhstan and its cooperation with the EU countries is concerned, in criminal investigations.
On 08.11.2013, the Prosecutor general of Kazakhstan, Askhat Daulbayev stated that a preparatory stage had been reached with respect to agreements on “criminal and legal cooperation” with, Germany, Greece, Hungary Slovakia, Slovenia and other EU countries. (More information: here and here). In the words of Askhat Daulbayev, it is “yet another important step for Kazakhstan on its way to rapprochement with the European community… Concluding similar agreements shall serve as testimony to the increasing levels of trust of the European countries in Kazakhstan’s legal system”.
It is common knowledge that there are a number of types of agreements on criminal cooperation. However, statements made by the Kazakhstan Prosecutor general’s associates do not always give a clear understanding as to which specific types of agreement Kazakhstan is willing to sign with its European counterparts. It’s necessary to note that each of the agreement types has its own, distinct legal competence. For example, a request for extradition may not be made on the basis of a legal assistance agreement or an agreement on the transfer of convicted persons. An extradition request may only be based on the respective extradition agreement.
According to legal normative acts, found in publicly accessible sources, Kazakhstan presently has in place, various types of agreements pertaining to cooperation in the criminal sphere with six European Union countries: Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, the Czech Republic. The following agreements in the criminal sphere, between Kazakhstan and the respective European states are known to be in existence:
|Provisions and scope of interest of agreement
|European countries party to it
|«on transfer of sentenced persons»
Pertains to persons already convicted. A person convicted on the territory of one of the Parties may be extradited to the other Party’s territory in order to serve the respective sentence there.
The Parties commit to conduct, upon written request, extradition of persons residing in their respective territories, wanted with the aim of bringing them to criminal justice and/or executing a legal court verdict.
The Kingdom of Spain.
|«on mutual legal assistance on criminal cases»
Any type of legal assistance in a criminal investigation, assistance within the frameworks of a legal criminal process: detection and identification of persons, providing information and documents, temporary transfer of evidence, searches and seizures, collection of evidence and testimonies, measures related to detection, arrest and confiscation of income obtained via illicit means, etc.
An agreement was also signed with Canada,
|«on cooperation in combating organised crime, illicit turnover of narcotics and psychoactive substances, terrorism and other types of criminal activity»
Exchange of operation, investigation, reference, criminal and archive information; coordination of operative activities; exchange of work experience in the area of combating crime, exchange of specialists
According to the information available, a full range of agreements on cooperation in the criminal sphere was only signed by Kazakhstan with Spain. Also, as of the present day, Spain is the only European Union country to have signed an extradition agreement with Kazakhstan. Italy is party to an agreement «on transfer of sentenced persons», however, negotiations are ongoing in relation to the possibility of signing agreements on extradition and legal assistance (More information here and here). The Czech Republic has only signed an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal cases. The Czech Republic and Kazakhstan have no agreement on extradition, which was confirmed by the Czech Ministry of Justice upon a request made by Aleksandra Gajewska, representative of the Open Dialogue Foundation.
Due to the widespread concern of the international human rights organisations with regard to attempts on behalf of Kazakhstan, aimed at ever more frequent extraditions, based on politically motivated allegations and directed against representatives of the opposition, including the politician Mukhtar Ablyazov and his associates, (more information: here and here), the Open Dialogue Foundation addresses the embassies of European states with a request to confirm the existing information on agreements in the criminal sphere between Kazakhstan and the respective EU countries.