At the invitation of the EU-Central Asia Rule of Law Platform, a Cooperation Agreement between the Paris Bar and the Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic was signed on 27 October 2015, in Bishkek, by Ms. Gulnara Sheshekeeva, Deputy President of the Kyrgyz Bar and Mr. Etienne Lesage, Member of the Board of the Paris Bar, both of them being duly mandated to represent the Presidents of both bars, Mrs. Gulniza Kojomovna and Mr. Pierre-Olivier Sûr respectively.
Contacts between the Paris Bar and the newly-created Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic had been initiated by the Platform, France being a Coordinator of the EU Rule of Law Initiative for Central Asia. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Mr. Stéphane Catta, Ambassador of France to the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Johannes Stenbaek Madsen, Head of Operations Sections, Mr. Nicola Scaramuzzo, Project Manager at the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic, and Mr. Xavier Barré, Platform Team Leader. This agreement is the first cooperation agreement with a foreign bar signed by the Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The purpose of the agreement is to establish close relationships between the lawyers of both bars, to provide the opportunities to the members of both organisations to become acquainted and to build permanent and constructive legal relationships, which will enable both communities to work together, pursue common objectives and protect the interests of their clients.
On 30 October, Mr. Lesage met with Ms. Gulniza Kozhomova, President of the Board of the Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic. Mr. Lesage provided information regarding standards, best practices and organization of the Paris Bar, including best practices of organizing mandatory continuing legal education, specialization for lawyers, deontology, protection of lawyers, lobbying activities, improvement of the justice system and fighting corruption.
On the sides of the Cooperation Agreement, both parties also signed an agreement providing access to the members of the Kyrgyz Bar to the “Large Legal Library” of the Paris Bar, an extensive on-line legal database including literature on French, EU laws and practices, models of legal acts, etc.
The Cooperation Agreement will serve as basis for further mutual cooperation between the two bars, especially in the area of initial and continuing legal education, and for organising the Initiation to law for pupils of Kyrgyz Schools an activity launched by the Rule of Law Platform, based on know-how developed by the Paris Bar, under the patronage of the Kyrgyz Ministries of Education and Sciences and Justice. The purpose of this activity conducted by Kyrgyz lawyers having received training from Mr. Lesage, is to raise awareness of pupils about their rights and duties and about the rule of law, at providing them with the ability to fend for their rights throughout their lives, becoming responsible citizens.
The Cooperation Agreement will also enable the Platform and the Paris Bar to invite French and other European lawyers and possibly co-finance regular round-tables and training sessions for members of the Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic, drawing from the pedagogical experience of the Training School of the Paris Bar.
Further steps for develop the cooperation on the basis of the Cooperation Agreement were understaken since, especially in the area of further professional training of lawyers. In December 2015, the President of the Paris Bar reiterated his commitment to cooperation with the Central Asian Bars.