Constitutional Provisions

Article 15(1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (as amended) provides that "Everyone shall have the right to life." According to Article 17 of the Constitution:

1. A person’s dignity shall be inviolable.

2. No one must be subject to torture, violence or other treatment and punishment that is cruel or humiliating to human dignity.

Article 32 guarantees the right of peaceful assembly:

Citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall have the right to peacefully and without arms assemble, hold meetings, rallies and demonstrations, street processions and pickets. The use of this right may be restricted by law in the interests of state security, public order, and protection of health, rights and freedoms of other persons.

The Constitution does not specifically address police use of force.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 State Party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints Yes
CAT Optional Protocol 1 State Party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Not party

Regional Treaties

There is no regional human rights treaty to which Central Asian nations can become party. 

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

Law enforcement in Kazakhstan is the responsibility of the Kazakhstan police. There is not believed to be national legislation in place governing police use of force. 

The police force comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, though in November 2018 Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev stated that law enforcement is under his special control. A month earlier, the Interior Ministry announced that it had started elaborating the roadmap for the modernization of the country's police.

According to Article 32(3) of the Criminal Code:

Use of excessive force in self-defence shall be recognized as obvious inconsistence of protection to the nature and extend of social danger of infringement, in a result of which obviously excessive harm, not occurred by circumstance is caused to the attacker. Such excess shall involve a criminal responsibility only in the cases of intentional infliction of harm. Infliction of harm to person, encroaching on human life, or upon repulse of other infringement, linked with armed attack or violence, dangerous for the life of the defenders or other persons or direct threat of such violence, or with forcible entry to the dwelling place, premise, as well as if the defender due to the suddenness of infringement could not objectively assess the extent and nature of the danger of attack shall not be the use of excessive force in self-defence.

Police Oversight

There is no civilian independent police oversight body in Kazakhstan. 



Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2016 Concluding Observations on Kazakhstan, the Human Rights Committee did not address police use of force.

In 2012, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights referred to events in Zhanaozen, when some 15 people were killed and dozens injured after police fired live rounds into crowds of people. Several UN special procedures mandate holders sent a joint communication regarding allegations of widespread acts of violence and excessive use of force against protesters in Zhanaozen. The Special Rapporteur on torture expressed concern at the reported incidence of violence and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against the protesters.


There is no regional human rights court with jurisdiction over police use of force in Kazakhstan.


Kazakhstan has reported that five police officers who wrongfully used their weapons against participants in the Zhanaozen riots were convicted under the Criminal Code, for exceeding their authority, and received prison sentences of varying lengths.


1995 Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (as amended)

2014 Penal Code of Kazakhstan

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly on his mission to Kazakhstan (2015)