Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s President, has signed the law abolishing death penalty in all cases except acts of terrorism entailing loss of life and especially grave crimes committed in wartime. The law includes the right to seek pardon.
Abolishing the death penalty has been one of the main objectives of President Nazarbayev. Back in December 2003, the Kazakh President signed a presidential decree which imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. The moratorium remained in operation until the final abrogation of capital punishment in Kazakhstan this week.
This new law follows President Nazarbayev’s proposal of a series of political reforms in 2007 including capital punishment.
The law will adjust legislation on death penalty in accordance with the Kazakh Constitution. Amendments concerning crimes punishable with life imprisonment have also been added to the Criminal Code.
The resolution of the Committee for Legislation & Legal Reforms of the Majilis (the Kazakh Parliament’s Lower Chamber) with regard to the amendments to the Criminal Code on the issues of capital punishment was signed earlier this year, on March 25th, by Serik Baymaganbetov, Chairman of the Committee.
When Kazakhstan introduced a moratorium on death penalty in December 2003, the decision was welcomed by the international community that acknowledged that this represented a fundamental advance in the promotion of human rights and an important contribution towards the universal abolition of the death penalty.