The author is a Kazak national who claims the state party has violated his rights to freedom of expression under article 19(2) and to peaceful assembly under article 21 of the Covenant.
In June 2012 the author attended an informal gathering to discuss poetry as well as the tragic events of December 2011 in Khanaozen. They did not have any microphones or banners, and were not broadcasting the information.
A State prosecutor approach the group and informed them they were in violation of a domestic prohibition on gatherings. On their advice, they decided to leave as to not break the law. Later, the author was arrested by police and tried by the Special Interregional Administative Court, where the author was found guilty of violating the legislation on gatherings.
- The Committee considered that, in the circumstances of the case, the limitations on the author’s rights, although imposed on the basis of domestic law, were not shown to be justified and proportional pursuant to the conditions set out in article 19(3) of the Covenant. It therefore concluded that the author’s rights under article 19(2) of the Covenant have been violated.
- Similarly, regarding article 21, the Committee observed that the State party has also failed to provide any justification or explanation as to how, in practice, the authors’ meeting would have violated the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, as set out in article 21 of the Covenant. Accordingly, the Committee concluded that the facts before it also constitute a violation of the author’s rights under article 21 of the Covenant.
In accordance with article 2(3)(a) of the Covenant, which requires State parties to make full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated, the State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy.
In the present case, the State party is under an obligation to:
- provide the author with adequate compensation, including reimbursement of the present value of the fine and any legal costs or other fees incurred by him;
- take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future. In this connection the State party should review its legislation pertaining to the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including the the Law “On the procedure of organizing and holding peaceful assemblies, rallies, marches, pickets and demonstrations in Kazakhstan”, as it has been applied in the present case, with a view to ensuring that the rights under articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant may be fully enjoyed in the State party.
The Committee requested that the state party take the required measures and communicate information about their implementation within 180 days, or by 29 September 2019.