Joint motion for a resolution - RC-B7-0062/2009Joint motion for a resolution

JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the case of Yevgeny Zhovtis in Kazakhstan


pursuant to Rule 122(5) of the Rules of Procedure
replacing the motions by the following groups:
Verts/ALE (B7‑0062/2009)
S&D (B7‑0064/2009)
ALDE (B7‑0066/2009)
PPE (B7‑0069/2009)

Elisabeth Jeggle, Bernd Posselt, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Laima Liucija Andrikienė on behalf of the PPE Group
Véronique De Keyser on behalf of the S&D Group
Renate Weber, Marielle De Sarnez, Niccolò Rinaldi on behalf of the ALDE Group
Heidi Hautala, Bart Staes on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

Procedure : 2009/2678(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :

European Parliament resolution on the case of Yevgeny Zhovtis in Kazakhstan

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Kazakhstan and the Central Asian Republics,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for Central Asia,

–   having regard to the European Union's Strategy for Central Asia adopted on 23 June 2007,

–   having regard to the EC Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia 2007-2013,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the tenth meeting of the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the eighth EU-Kazakhstan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee meeting in Brussels on 31 March 2008,

–   having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EC and Kazakhstan that entered into force on 1 July 1999,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas relations and cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan are steadily growing at all levels; whereas Kazakhstan plays a crucial role with regard to the stability and security of Central Asia and the economic development of the region as a whole,

B.  whereas Kazakhstan will, in 2010, take over the chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); whereas this position will give the country a higher profile and more responsibility in the fields of democracy and human rights; whereas the OSCE has urged Kazakhstan to deepen democratic reforms before taking over the chairmanship,

C. whereas, in spite of this important international task, over the last few months Kazakhstan’s internal situation has been marred by the recent tightening up of media restrictions and a series of controversial prosecutions,

D. whereas on 3 September 2009 Yevgeny Zhovtis, director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law and prominent human rights defender, was convicted of manslaughter for striking a pedestrian with his car, killing him, on 26 July 2009, and was sentenced to four years in a penal community,

E.  whereas on 27 July 2009 Yevgeny Zhovtis was named as a witness in the police investigation opened that day; whereas Mr Zhovtis's status in the investigation was changed to that of a suspect on 28 July 2009, but, in contravention of Kazakh law, his legal team was not informed of this development until 14 August 2009,

F.  whereas the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, an affiliate of the OSCE, has stated that 'questionable procedures may have violated Zhovtis's right to a fair trial as guaranteed by the constitution of Kazakhstan, the country's OSCE commitments and fundamental international standards',

G. whereas at OSCE meetings Mr Zhovtis had detailed human rights abuses in his country, raising doubts about its suitability to chair an organisation dedicated to upholding democratic principles,

H. whereas, in the past, serious concerns have been expressed about the trials and subsequent imprisonment of other Kazakh human rights activists, including Ramazan Yesergepov and Sergei Duvanov,

I.   whereas in June 2008 and again in May 2009, in connection with his country's upcoming chairmanship of the OSCE, Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister, Marat Tazhin, pledged improvements in strengthening and upholding human rights in Kazakhstan,

J.   whereas Article 2 of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement requires respect to be shown for democracy, the principles of international law and human rights,

1.  While not questioning the independence of the judicial system, which is a key element of any democracy, voices grave concern at the conduct of the investigation into the tragic incident and of the subsequent trial, and draws attention to allegations that testimony in Mr Zhovtis's defence was not allowed as evidence during the trial;

2.  Calls on the Kazakh authorities to carry out immediately and with full respect for transparency and the rule of law a second full and fair investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, and to review Yevgeny Zhovtis's conviction and sentence accordingly;

3.  Urges the Kazakh authorities to provide official details about the case of Yevgeny Zhovtis and to grant him access to the due process of law, including the right to appeal in line with Kazakh law;

4.  Draws attention to the strong reservations voiced by human rights organisations about the Kazakh Government's real commitment to change when the decision to give the country the chairmanship of the OSCE was announced in 2007, and expects the Kazakh authorities to make every effort to improve and make tangible progress on democratisation and human rights before taking over the chairmanship of the OSCE;

5.  Calls on the Commission, in this connection, to step up EU assistance to and cooperation with Kazakhstan in these fields, in order better to prepare the Kazakh Government to take up this important international task;

6.  Urges the Council to take a firm stance in raising this case with the Kazakh authorities and, in particular, to address Mr Zhovtis's case within the framework of the EU-Kazakhstan human rights dialogue, the second round of which is scheduled for 21 October 2009, and the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council meeting in mid-November 2009;

7.  Urges the Commission to step up its projects and programmes in Kazakhstan under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR);

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the UN Secretary-General, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Parliament, Government and President of Kazakhstan.