March 6, 2019
Today, the ICJ expressed concern at the initiation of disbarment proceedings by the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan against Sergey Sizintsev, former Executive Director of the National Bar Association and the newly-elected head of the Scientific-Consultative Board of the National Bar Association.
The official ground for disbarment of Sizintsev is his work as the Director the National Bar Association in 2016-2018 while continuing his legal practice at the same time.
On his facebook public account, however, Sizintsev alleged that this initiative is not related to the officially stated grounds, and that in fact continuing to practice while working as Director of the Bar Association is clearly permitted by the Kazakhstan’s law. Rather, he alleges, he is being pursued for his criticism of the law “On lawyers’ activity and legal aid” as well as his public statements in different international and national fora in regard to issues related to the independence of the legal profession.
The ICJ recalls that freedom of expression and association, in particular, constitute essential requirements for the proper and independent functioning of the legal profession and must be guaranteed by law and in practice.