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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Releases > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Remarks > 2003 > June

Kazakhstan: Review of Duvanov Case

Stephan M. Minikes, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Statement to the OSCE Permanent Council
Vienna, Austria
June 5, 2003

Released by the U.S. Mission to the OSCE

(As delivered)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to begin by thanking, through you, the two outside experts who looked into the conduct of the trial of Sergey Duvanov. The Government of Kazakhstan is also to be congratulated for inviting the outside experts, and for taking the time to respond in writing to their conclusions.

It is difficult to open oneself to outside scrutiny, but often it is the best course of action. Kazakhstan took a courageous step and demonstrated its commitment to OSCE principles by its active engagement in the process.

As mentioned before in the Permanent Council, the United States had significant concerns about the investigation of the charges and the conduct of the trial against Sergey Duvanov. We are sorry to say, however, that our concerns were not allayed after reading the experts' report. We found the report to be thorough, well done, carefully researched, and compelling. The experts noted that the case of the prosecution was defective and that it left too many points brought forward by the defense unexplained.

Kazakhstan has expressed its desire to fulfill its obligations as an OSCE participating State and to be held to the standard of the former Communist countries in Eastern Europe, which have made significant strides over the past decade in guaranteeing the rule of law. We thus call on Kazakhstan to take the recommendations of the independent experts, with these commitments in mind.

We understand that Mr. Duvanov's lawyers filed a complaint with the appeals court's supervisory board, which has as yet not decided whether to formally review the appeals court's decision. We view every instance of judicial review of this case to be an opportunity for Kazakhstan to demonstrate that its laws and legal procedures will be carried out accurately and fairly.

Whatever the final outcome of the case, it is imperative that the judgment rest on a full and thorough investigation. As the experts noted, Article 24 of the Kazakh Code of Criminal Procedure imposes on judges, procurators, investigators and police officers alike the fundamental duty to take all necessary steps to guarantee, and I quote here, "all-sided, full and objective examination of the circumstances necessary and adequate for a correct resolution of the case." This duty, as the experts stressed, would certainly require that a serious effort be made to establish what actually happened on the evening of October 27, 2002 in Sergey Duvanov's dacha, given the conflicting reports and the apparent lack of conclusive evidence. Thank you.

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