Laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan: A Guide to Web Based Resources
By Oleg Stalbovsky & Maria Stalbovskaya
Maria Stalbovskaya has been a reference librarian at the Open Library for Legal Information since 1997. She holds an M.S. degree from the Tomsk State University (Russia), the Historical-Philological Faculty. Maria Stalbovskayа attended training courses for law librarians granted by Constitutional Legal Policy Institute in 1999 and 2002 (Budapest, Hungary), in 2001(Riga, Latvia) and 2000 (Moscow, Russia). Oleg Stalbovsky holds an M.S. degree from the Tomsk State University (Russia), the Faculty of Mechanics & Mathematics and for a long time worked as information and computer technology specialist. Since 1998, he has been the Head of the Open Library for Legal Information, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Oleg Stalbovsky participated in the International Visitor Program of the United States Department of State “Access to Information in the Public Libraries” (June 21- July 11, 2004). The authors of this article were involved in important projects in the Republic of Uzbekistan: “The Development the Digital Library on Human Rights”, "Organizational and Methodical Support for Regional Public Law Centers", "Legal Information Support Legal Information Support for Under Judicial Investigation People”, "Creating the web-site of the Open Library for Legal Information" and also "The Development of Electronic Legal Resources of the Open Library for Legal Information".
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Table of Contents
The Republic of Kazakhstan is located in the middle of Central Asia with a population about 15 million people composed of Kazakhs, Russians and others. The territory covers 2717,000 square km. From 1997 Astana is the new (after Almaty) capital city.
The state language is Kazakh. In state institutions and local self-administrative bodies the Russian language shall be officially used on equal grounds along with the Kazakh language. The predominant religion is Islam, with Sunnites in the majority.
The Kazakh khanate was formed in the 15th century and had 3 tribal divisions (juz). From the 1860s all of them became part of the Russian Empire. November 1917 - March 1918 is the period of the establishment of Soviet power in Kazakhstan.
16 December 1991 became a turning point in Kazakhstan’s development when the Constitutional Law “On State Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan” was adopted.
The legal system Kazakhstan is influenced by the traditions of:
· Islamic law (which functioned until the beginning of 1920 and incorporated many norms of Adat, local customary law with traditional prescriptions of the peoples of this region)
· Roman law (particularly by the theory and practice of the Soviet law and socialist principles). Kazakh legislation is being codified: legislative and other normative legal acts can be divided according to the constitutional, administrative, civil, criminal, labor and other material or procedural laws. A strict hierarchy of the sources of law includes the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the top, constitutional norms and laws, codes and ordinary laws and other state obligations, normative decrees and so on.
A more detailed description of the Kazakhstan legal system is given by Marvin E. Nowicki in his “The Legal System of the Republic of Kazakhstan” at the “Online Law Library in Central Asia”.
On 28 January 1993 the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan adopted the first Constitution of the independent Kazakhstan. After that, on 30August 1995, it was changed to the contemporary Constitution, which was adopted at an all-nation referendum.
On October 7, 1998 the Parliament enacted a «Law on amendments and complements to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan». This revision dealt with matters pertaining to the president's term of office, age restrictions, succession of authority in case of his death or resignation, and terms of Majilis and Senate members.
The Main Law of Kazakhstan constitutionally requires a presidential form of government. According to it, law reform in present-day Kazakhstan is based on ideological and political pluralism, legislation ensuring the human rights and social-legal guarantees.
Within the framework of the formation of the legal foundations of state order following constitutional laws were adopted:
· «On State Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan» (1991) (Russian)
· «On the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan» (1995) (Russian)
· «On the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan» (2000) (Russian)
· «On the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Status its Deputies » (1995) (Russian)
· «On the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan» (1995) (Russian)
· «On Republican Referendum» (1995) (Russian)
· «On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan» (1995) (Russian)
· «On Introducing Changes and Additions into the Constitutional Law (2005)
· «On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan (Russian)
· «On Courts and the Status Judges in the Republic of Kazakhstan» (2000) (English)
· «On Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan» (1995) (Russian)
The principal branches of Kazakhstan law have been codified. Here is the list of codes:
· Elections code (1993) (Russian)
· Civil Code, General part (1994) (English)
· Civil Code, Special part (1999) (Russian)
· Code of Civil Procedure (1999) (Russian)
· Criminal Code (1997) (Russian)
· Code of Criminal Procedure (1997) (Russian)
· Criminal-Executive Code (1997) (Russian)
· Tax Code (2001) (Russian)
· Code On Administrative Violations (2001) (Russian)
· Water Code (2003) (Russian)
· Land Code (2003) (English)
· Forestry Code (2003) (English)
· Customs Code (2003) (English)
· Budget Code (2004) (Russian)
One can find some other Kazakh legal documents in English on LEXADIN.
Article 3 of the Constitution states that the state power in the Republic of Kazakhstan is unified and executed on the basis of the Constitution and laws in accordance with the principle of its division into the legislative, executive and judicial branches and a system of checks and balances that governs their interaction.
· The legislative branch comprises Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the Senate and the Majilis).
· The executive branch comprises the Cabinet of Ministers, state committees, others central and local executive bodies of the Republic.
· The judicial branch comprises the Supreme Court and Constitutional Council and local courts (regional, district and others).
The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the head of state, its highest official determining the main directions of the domestic and foreign policy of the state and representing Kazakhstan within the country and in international relations. He shall ensure by his arbitration concerted functioning of all branches of state power and responsibility of the institutions of power before the people. (Art. 40 of the Constitution). The President is elected every seven years on the basis of universal suffrage. One and the same person may not be elected the President of the Republic more than two times in a row.
In April of 1990, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbaev became the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. On 1 December 1991 the first general elections of the President were carried out, on which N. Nazarbayev re-elected the head of the state. All-nation referendum of April 29, 1995 confirmed this decision. The 29th of April 1995 the Presidents powers had been extended till 2000 at nation-wide referendum. The 10th of January 1999 on the alternative basis had been elected as a President of Kazakhstan supported by 79.78% of voters. 4 December 2005 nation-wide elections of the President of the republic took place where N. Nazarbayev had been supported by 91,15 % of voters.
The official website of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan consists of the Constitution (English), Constitutional laws, Codes, Presidential decrees, and International treaties (Kazakh, Russian, English)
The highest representative body of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the bicameral Parliament. According to the President’s Decree having force of Constitutional Law «On elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan» (1995) the parliament will consist of two chambers (the Senate and the Majilis) and work on professional base. The first two-chamber Parliament was elected in December 1995.
The Senate is composed of deputies elected in twos from each region, major city and the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, at a joint session of the deputies of all representative bodies of the respective oblast, major city and the capital of the Republic. The President also appoints seven senators. Terms of the powers of Senate deputies shall be six years.
The Majilis consists of 77 deputies, 67 of whom are elected from the geographical electoral districts directly by voters. 10 deputies are elected on the basis of the Party Lists according to the system of proportional representation and in the territory of a unified national constituency. Term of the powers of the Majilis deputies shall be five years.
Parliament at a joint session of the Chambers: introduces amendments and makes additions to the Constitution; adopts constitutional laws, approves the republican budget, the reports of the Government, and the Accounts Committee about its implementation, and introduces changes into the budget; conducts a second round of discussion and voting on the laws or articles of the law; hears the report of the Prime Minister on the Government's program and approves or rejects the program and annual messages of the Constitutional Council of the Republic on the state of the constitutional legality in the Republic or reports on the activity of the commissions;; decides issues of war and peace; adopts a decision concerning the use of the Armed Forces of the Republic to fulfill international obligations in support of peace and security at the proposal of the President of the Republic; puts forward an initiative calling for an all-nation referendum; exercises other powers assigned to Parliament by the Constitution.
The Government is appointed by the President and accountable to the Parliament. It implements the executive power in Kazakhstan, heads the system of executive bodies and exercise supervision of their activity. A new structure of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan was re-established in 1999.
The website of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan contains some laws and decrees in Kazakh, Russian and English. More can also be found at Governments on the WWW: Kazakhstan (Gunnar Anzinger ).
Part six of the Constitution contains fundamental regulations establishing constitutional control in the Republic, which is assigned to the Constitutional Council. It does not belong to the juridical system and it is a state structure ensuring the supremacy of the Constitution of the Republic as of the Basic Law on the whole territory of Kazakhstan.
The Constitutional Council consists of seven members, the Chairman and two members are appointed by the President of the Republic, the Chairmen of the Senate and Majilis of Parliament each appoint two members for the term of six years.
Its website contains the decisions of the Constitutional Council, the acting laws, the scientific articles and other information. (Kazakh, Russian, English)
Local representative bodies - maslikhats – express the will of the population of respective administrative-territorial units and with regard to the common public interests shall determine the measures needed for its realization, and control their implementation. Their jurisdiction includes development of drafts of plans, economic and social programs for development of the territory, local budget and provision of their realization; management of public property; appointment to and release from office the heads of local executive bodies, resolution of other issues connected with organization of the work of local executive bodies; exercise other powers delegated to local executive bodies by the legislation of the Republic in the interests of local public administration.
Justice in the Republic of Kazakhstan is exercised only by the court. The judicial system in the Republic consists of the Supreme Court Republic of Kazakhstan, the highest judicial body, and regional, district, town, and city courts. (Art.75)
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be the highest judicial body for civil, criminal and other cases which are under the courts of general jurisdiction; exercises the supervision over their activities in the forms of juridical procedure stipulated by law, and provide interpretation on the issues of judicial practice.
You can also find English access to some useful information on the website of the Supreme Court. The Constitution, codes, laws, secondary legislation, and decisions of the Supreme Court are found in Kazakh and Russian.
· Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kazakhstan (U.S. Dept. of State)
· World Factbook: Kazakhstan (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency)
· Multinational Reference (Law Library of Congress)
· Legal Research Guide to Kazakhstan (via LLRX)
The TCC's Trade and Related Agreements Database (TARA) includes active, binding agreements between the United States and its trading partners covering manufactured products and services (see Site Map for disclaimers). It is designed to provide the public with information on agreements currently in force.
· Treaties are available free from Oceana Publications, but you must register with them.
Foreign Resources for Kazakhstan Legislation
· Database of national environmental legislation NATLEX - database of national labor, social security and related human rights legislation maintained by the ILO's International Labor Standards Department.
· ECOLEX - database of national environmental legislation. Environmental Law Gateway (UNEP/ICUN)
· FAOLEX (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization)
- Free Legal Database "LexInfoSys" Project - "Law Reform in Transition States" maintained at the University of Bremen. Free data base consists of more than 7500 legal acts (till 2004).
· Internet Law Library: Kazakhstan (Pritchard Law Webs). Law resources of the Internet organized by subject and jurisdiction
· World Legal Information Institute - Free, independent and non-profit access to worldwide law. 663 databases from 86 countries including 21 international databases.
· World Law Index: Kazakhstan (Australasian Legal Information Institute)
· Internews Network - excerpts
· Washburn University Law Library - links to Kazakhstan legal resources
· International Digest of Health Legislation (World Health Organisation)
· U.S. Law Library of Congress for the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) - annotated hypertext guide to sources of information worldwide on government and law available online
· Cornell LII - Legal Information Institute
· Justice Initiative Legal Resources Database - Open Society Institute
· Human Rights in Kazakstan (Amnesty International)
· International Religious Freedom Annual Reports: Kazakhstan (U.S. Dept. of State)
Local Kazakhstan legal web sites
· "Adviser". Online database of Kazakhstan legislation - About 3000 documents are free (Russian)
· ZAKON.KZ Online database - Full legislation of Republic Kazakhstan, more 30,000 documents (Russian). Some of them are free. Monitoring of legislation (English).
· Online database of Kazakhstan legislation "Zakon" (Kazakh, Russian). News and Monitoring of legislation. State Register (Russian)
· General Office of the Prosecutor (Kazakh, Russian)
· National Bank of the Republic Kazakhstan (Kazakh, Russian, English)
· The Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Informatization and Communications - Legislation on ICT. (Kazakh, Russian, English)
· Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Regulation of Natural Monopolies (Kazakh, Russian, English)
· Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Land Resources Management (Kazakh, Russian, English)
· Agency on Statistics (Kazakh, Russian, English)
· List of Kazakh Law Schools (Russian)
· Adilet High School of Law (Kazakh, Russian)
According to the Law «On normative legal acts« (1998) the legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be published (Kazakh, Russian) in the «Vedomosti Parlamenta Respubliki Kazakhstan» (or «Bordereaus of Parliament of Republic of Kazakhstan») and in the following official newspapers:
· »Egemen Kazakhstan» / «Kazakhstanskaya pravda» (or «Kazakhstan truth»)
· «Zan»(or «Law»)
· «Juridicheskaya gazeta» (or «Juridical newspaper»)
· New laws, decrees, administrative acts of the country are published in the official gazettes «Sobranie aktov Prezidenta i Pravitel’stva Respubliki Kazakhstan» (or «The Compilation of normative acts of the President and Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan»)
· « The Bulleten’ normativnih pravovih aktov central’nih ispolnitel’nih i inih gosorganov Respubliki Kazakhstan» (or «The bulletin normative legal acts of central executive and other governmental bodies of the Republic of Kazakhstan ») ( Ministry of Justice)
· "The Bulletin of Supreme Court of Republic Kazakhstan» ( Supreme Court)