Report on Azerbaijan from Human Rights House Foundation and Resource Center for Human Rights, CReDO
Azerbaijan at UN CAT - Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 56 Session (09 Nov 2015 - 09 Dec 2015)
Human Rights Fouse Network (http://humanrightshouse.org/) and CReDO (www.CReDO.md), http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/…/A…/INT_CAT_NGO_AZE_22209_E.pdf :
Serious concerns related to the respect of the international fair trial guarantees
in Azerbaijan related to the prosecution of the human rights and civic activists
(Intigam Aliyev, Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mammadli, and others)
The trials against the civil society activists, accusing them of economic and financial crimes (illegal business, evasion from payment taxes, abusing official powers, service forgery and restriction of competition by monopolistic actions) fall substantially short of the fair hearing (specifically the “equality of arms”), requirements of publicity and the right to defense (preparation of defense, choice of lawyer).
The fair trial guarantees with respect of the equality of arms principle has not been respected fully as the defense has not been given a reasonable opportunity to present their case and evidence relevant to the case without a substantial disadvantage. a) Essential motions to present additional factual and other evidence are not taken the decision (effectively suspended) during the trial by the presiding judges. b) Neutrality of the court in many instances was broken leading to taking side against the defense, by closing the questions, intervening with the questions of the defense, quashing the question and the answer entirely.
- 1. Not accepted substantial motions (financial docs, new witness, authenticated signatures): 1) 3 February 2015 (6 motions), 2) 3 March 2015 (2 motions), 3) 10 March 2015 (3 motions), 4) 17 March 2015 (1 motion), 5) 7 April 2015 (1 motion), 6) 14 April 2015 (1 motion).
- 2. The judge taking sides
The right to counsel and defense being at the core of the notion of the due process has not been provided to the defendant as: a) confidential and privileged communication has not been respected, b) effective and adequate time for the legal representation was not satisfied, c) exclusion of some defense lawyers under the speculated grounds has weakened the exercise of right to council. The defense was not given the full and adequate access and to the protocols of the sessions and of the files of the case. The defense was given little time in the court itself, during the breaks, and in the presence of the some police and security persons and is very likely under the audio-video registration in the court room to communicate with the defendant.
- 1. Pre-trial investigation,
- 2. Withdrawn license of 2 lawyers,
The right to a public hearing is a vital safeguard for the interest of the defendant and of the society as a whole has not been sufficiently ensured. a) Small court room size, b) inadequate visibility of the actors in the court room, c) restrictions on entering and re-entering, d) inconsistent application of rules on excluding the public and the media have violated the public’s right to record hearings under the international law.