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KAZAKHSTAN - Abolitionist for ordinary crimes

Government: republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
State of civil and political rights: Not free
Constitution: first post-independence constitution adopted 28 January 1993; new constitution adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995
Legal System: based on Islamic law and Roman law;
Legislative System: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate and the Majilis
Judicial System: Supreme Court; Constitutional Council
Religion: Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%

Method of execution: shooting
Date of last execution: 11-2003
Prisoners on death row: 27 (as of 30/09/2004)

International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • 1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment


FACTS

On December 17, 2003, President Nursultan Nazarbayev introduced a moratorium on executions that is to stay in place until the question of the eventual abolition of the death penalty can be resolved.
Kazakhstan had already taken a number of steps towards the restriction of the death penalty.
The new Penal Code - that came into force on January 1, 1998 - reduced death-qualifiable offences in peacetime from 18 to 3: premeditated murder, genocide and sabotage. The death penalty was retained also for treason in wartime and for 7 other military crimes.
On December 27, 2002 Nazarbayev signed into law amendments to the penal code prohibiting the death penalty for minors, women and men over 65 and establishing that death row inmates could not be executed before a minimum one-year period had passed since their death sentence.
A further step towards abolition was the introduction of life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty as from January 1, 2004. Courts may continue to pass death sentences until the death penalty is completely abolished.
“I think that we should rise to this level of humanity,” Nazabayev said with reference to abolition in a televised interview on May 14, 2004.
At least 19 people had been put to death in 2003 before the introduction of the moratorium. According to interior ministry data, 32 people were executed in 2001 and 33 in 2002.
In May 2007, Kazakhstan amended its Constitution abolishing the death penalty for all crimes except terrorist acts that cause loss of human life and exceptionally grave crimes committed during wartime.
On December 20, 2012, Kazakhstan voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.

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