ICJ Legal Opinion in the case of Kazakhstan lawyer Bulat Baityakov

The ICJ submission on international law concerns Bulat Baityakov, practicing in Kazakhstan, convicted of slander of a judge and sentenced to a one year of restriction of liberty because of the arguments he presented in written submissions and in court, acting in his role as a lawyer.

The submission sets out relevant international human rights law and standards concerning the role of judges, the role of lawyers, and freedom of expression.

The ICJ concluded, that criminally prosecuting and convicting lawyers for presenting, in the course of legal arguments, allegations of judicial misconduct, particularly where there is a finding the allegations were presented in good faith and lawyers substantiate the allegations by evidence, clearly constitutes a serious interference with freedom of expression, with the role of lawyers in zealously defending the interests of their clients, and with the role of lawyers in seeking to ensure integrity of the judicial system.


Róisín Pillay, Director, Europe Programme, roisin.pillay(a)icj.org

Temur Shakirov, Legal Adviser, Europe Programme, temur.shakirov(a)icj.org

Kazakhstan-Baityakov-legal opinion-Advocacy-legal submission-2015-ENG  (full text in PDF, English)

Kazakhstan-Baityakov-legal opinion-Advocacy-legal submission-2015-RUS (full text in PDF, Russian)

AdvocacyLegal submissions