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June 12, 2018

EU-funded project organized study tour for Kazakh human rights experts to Georgia

TBILISI - On 6-9 June 2018, a group of human rights experts, defenders and lawyers participated in four day study-tour to Georgia in the framework of the EU-funded project Reforming Legal Aid For the Vulnerable in Kazakhstan,implemented by the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia.

The purpose of the trip was to study and analyze international experience in the field of providing state-guaranteed legal aid for the vulnerable groups. The group consisted of representatives from Kazakh Human Rights Ombudsman Office, Taldykorgan Human Rights Centre, Republican and Almaty City Bar Association and international experts.

During the Study tour the Action Team held meetings with Georgian Bar Association, the Legal Aid Office, the Supreme Court and several major stakeholders in order to study in detail issues and processed of access to legal aid for the vulnerable groups.

In addition, the participants visited two other cities in Georgia - Kutaisi and Zestaponi, where they met with lawyers who provide legal assistance to individuals who are included in the single base of poor families in Georgia.

Based on the results of the study-tour, the model of providing state-guaranteed legal aid in Georgia, the issues of charging fees for providing state-guaranteed legal aid, and the mechanism of work of lawyers in Georgia were analyzed. Also during the visit to Georgia, the Kazakh delegation in Tbilisi got acquainted with the activities of the Autonomous Legal Aid Service of Georgia (accountable only to the Parliament). At meetings with their Georgian experts, they learned about the organization and mandate of the service, guarantees for its independence, and also how relations are built with the Legal Aid Board, the Georgian Bar Association and the judicial system. As a result of the visit, the delegation members developed a number of recommendations based on the Georgian practice. They will be used to improve the Kazakhstani model of state-guaranteed legal aid.

“The study tour to Georgia was very useful. The experience accumulated by Georgia should be carefully studied. We cannot yet say unequivocally that the Georgian model is completely suitable for Kazakhstan. The situation of countries varies greatly in the initial conditions. But many elements can be implemented. The Bar Association plans to discuss and form a unified opinion on an acceptable model for the development of a system of guaranteed legal assistance in the near future”, - said Sergey Sizintsev, Executive Director of Republican Bar Association.

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