Supreme Court Restored Rights of Only Two of Eight Applicants to ECHR - Intigam Aliyev

Baku / 23.04.20 / Turan: The decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court on the cases of Ilgar Mammadov and Rasul Jafarov is important from the point of view of the recognition by the Azerbaijani authorities of the current practice of persecuting citizens for political reasons. This opinion was commented on by the renowned Azerbaijani human rights activist and legal expert, Intigam Aliyev, commenting on the verdict of the Plenum of the Armed Forces on the acquittal of Mammadov and Jafarov. However, in his opinion, the Plenum of the Supreme Court restored the rights of only two of the 8 applicants, for whose full rehabilitation the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers insisted. In this sense, the decisions of the ECHR and the Committee of Ministers are not fully implemented.

According to the expert, the decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court was requested by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in pursuance of the decisions of the Strasbourg court for cases - Ilgar Mammadov, Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mammadli, Rashad Hasanov, Zaur Gurbanov, Rashadat Akhundov and Uzeyir Mammadli, as well as Intigam Aliyev himself.

In respect of each of the eight applicants, the Court has found a violation of Article 18 (Limits on the use of restrictions on rights) in conjunction with Article 5 (Right to liberty and security of person) of the European Convention on Human Rights, revealing the “alarming nature of arbitrary arrests and detentions of government critics, civil society activists and human rights defenders ... through the unlawful use of criminal law contrary to the rule of law. ”

Moreover, after the proceedings initiated by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 46 of the Convention (verification of non-compliance by the government of a member country of the Council of Europe with the obligation to fulfill the decision of the ECHR) in the case of Ilgar Mammadov, the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court in a decision of May 29, 2019 year decided that Azerbaijan violated its obligation in this matter.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe made it clear that the above findings of the European Court make it clear that restitutio in intrum in this group of these 8 cases requires the annulment of the convictions of all the applicants, the removal of their criminal record and all other consequences of the criminal charges against them, including by full restoration of their civil and political rights.

In March this year, the Committee of Ministers regretted that the sentences against the applicants had not been quashed and they continued to suffer from their negative consequences of these decisions, including the inability to fully resume their professional and political activities. The Committee of Ministers again urged the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure that all necessary individual measures are taken with respect to each of the applicants without any additional delays and to inform this structure about it no later than April 30, 2020. The Committee of Ministers decided to resume consideration of these cases no later than at its 1377th meeting, which is scheduled for June 2020.

“I don’t know what caused it, contrary to the requirements of the Committee of Ministers, the review was only for two. The Government still has time until June,” Intigam Aliyev emphasized.

To the question of what could be further actions of the government, he replied as follows:

“I don’t know what the government’s further actions on this issue will be. In principle, the failure to comply with the decisions of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the affairs of the remaining applicants may cause trouble for the authorities. It’s not the time when our officials would dictate their terms to international organizations. Of course, the government would like in return for such a “grace” as the annulment of sentences to achieve a “correction” of the actions of those whose restoration of rights is required by the ECHR and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Personally, I’m not going to “correct” my actions when there are more than 100 political prisoners in prisons and the government does not stop the repression,” Intigam Aliyev said.

At the same time, he positively appreciated the full rehabilitation of Rasul Jafarov and Ilgar Mammadov.

“Of course I am happy for our friends. They deserve it. And the fact that the government in the person of its highest court has finally recognized that people are being arrested for political reasons in the country is also an important event. For the first time in the judicial practice of Azerbaijan, victims of lawlessness have been awarded such a substantial compensation for moral damage. But I will not hide it - this joy is overshadowed by the continuation of arrests in the country for the same reasons and prisons are filled with victims of the unfair judicial system.

The government, justifying some innocents, continues to keep other innocents in prison and arrest all new ones. The very recent arrest of Tofig Yagublu on clearly fabricated charges is evidence that it’s impossible to wash the stains that our courts and judges have soiled themselves with such steps as today's decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court,” Intigam Aliyev continued.

In this context, he believes, the indicated decisions of the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court should not be accepted “with a bang” by the Council of Europe and other international organizations, which “would allow the authoritarian authorities to continue to feel impunity and arrest, beat, denigrate, etc. others” .

“In our correspondence with the Committee of Ministers, we continue to urge these structures to demand from the state, which calls itself legal, to finally eradicate the harmful practice of persecuting opponents for political reasons,” Intigam Aliyev summarized. —06B-

 

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