EU - UN Joint Initiative on Violent Extremist Prisoners Facilitates Prosecution , Rehabilitation and Reintegration Strategies in Kazakhstan

NUR-SULTAN, October 30, 2019 - Today during the round table "Development of Criminal Policy Framework on Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism in the Republic of Kazakhstan", the participants discussed existing practice and challenges for the development of prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration (PRR) strategies for prisoners in Kazakhstan. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prosecutor's General Office of Kazakhstan in the framework of the European Union funded Programme on "Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons."

The issue is important as large numbers of people associated with terrorist groups are in prisons. Moreover, flows of persons associated with terrorist groups are returning to their countries of origin or relocating to other countries. This results in thousands of individuals, including women, children and families, entering already strained criminal justice systems. State authorities also face difficulties in determining the extent to which individuals may have committed terrorism-related offenses, the specific role they may have played, and the extent to which their association with the group was voluntary.

In the 2018 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review resolution A/RES/72/284, the General Assembly called upon Member States "to cooperate in efforts to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters including by developing and implementing PRR strategies, taking into account gender and age dimensions, for returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters and their families."

The EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Sven-Olov Carlsson stated that: "T he European Union Strategy for Combating Radicalization and Recruitment to Terrorism calls for a balanced approach between security-related measures and efforts to tackle those factors that may create an environment conductive to radicalization and recruitment to terrorism. Dealing with terrorists and violent extremist offenders and preventing radicalisation in prisons remain significant challenges across the EU".

The UN Member States are adopting different approaches to dealing with these challenges, including summary trials of individuals associated with terrorist groups; placing persons suspected of association with terrorist groups in protracted administrative detention; developing rehabilitation programmes focussed on de-radicalization; as well as allowing persons who voluntarily disengage from terrorist groups to return to their communities without having been subjected to the criminal justice process.

"Authorities must recognize the importance of rehabilitation and reintegration as part of their criminal justice system. In addition, rehabilitation and reintegration are key for a sustainable, long-term strategy to prevent and counter terrorism. Thirdly, rehabilitation and reintegration will help to comply with international human rights standards," noted Andre Carstens, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Kazakhstan.

In March 2019 the United Nations developed "Key Principles and Initial Guidelines for the Protection, Prosecution, Repatriation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Women and Children affiliated with United Nations-listed Terrorist Groups" that contain the elements of PRR strategies required by Security Council resolution S/RES/2396 (2017).

UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, Ms. Ashita Mittal, emphasized that UNODC stands ready to provide technical support in the screening and prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals suspected or convicted of committing terrorist acts, including foreign terrorist fighters and persons associated to terrorist groups.

The round table was attended by more than 50 representatives of relevant state bodies, civil society organizations, international partners and criminal justice practitioners from Central Asia, Germany and Spain.

Kazakhstan was one of the first countries to join the Global UN initiative "Supporting the Management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence in Prisons" along with other beneficiary countries such as Tunisia and Uganda. The programme is implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Counter-Terrorism Center and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, with the financial support of the European Union (USD 4,7 mln), the UN Office of Counter Terrorism (USD 3 mln) and the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (USD 1,4 mln).

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For more information,

please contact Ms. Madina Sarieva,

a.i. Head of UNODC in Kazakhstan

at + 7 776 475 7797 or madina.sarieva[at]