President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said Friday that he had ordered to start procedures to abolish the death penalty in the country.

Tokayev made the remarks at the second meeting of the National Council of Public Trust held in the capital of Nur-Sultan. The council, comprising prominent social activists, deputies of the parliament, economists and political scientists, was established by the president to better involve public opinions in policy-making. The first meeting was held in September.

According to RIA Novosti reports, the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been instructed to begin the procedure of accession to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims to abolish the death penalty.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first president of Kazakhstan, signed a decree to suspend the execution of the death penalty in the country in 2003. However, the decree does not ban courts from passing death penalty sentences. Life imprisonment has been adopted as an alternative punishment since 2004.