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 Monday, October 9 2023 18:17
Alina Hovhannisyan

Human rights activist: There is no independent judicial system in  Azerbaijan

Human rights activist: There is no independent judicial system in  Azerbaijan

ArmInfo. The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) of Azerbaijan has  international status B, which implies inadequate compliance with the Paris Principles and lack of independence. President of the International and Comparative Law Center Siranush Sahakyan, who represents Armenian prisoners' interests at the European Court of Human Rights stated during a press conference.

"Thus, they cannot give objective assessments, especially in relation  to Armenians, who are subject to systemic discrimination and hatred  among the Azerbaijani public," she emphasized.

From time to time, reports appear about the visit of the Azerbaijani  Ombudsperson to detainees. But there is no hope for reliable  information about the condition of the detainees, since the entire  human rights system of Azerbaijan depends on the state. The human  rights activist also drew attention to the fact that, without any  justification, obstacles are being created for the meeting of  political and military leaders of Artsakh with representatives of the  International Committee of the Red Cross.

Sahakyan noted that the defense of Armenian prisoners of war always  involved lawyers from the Office of the Azerbaijani Commissioner for  Human Rights, who acted contrary to professional ethics and  principles of justice, and did not provide real protection. In this  regard, she relayed conversations with Armenian prisoners of war, who  reported that human rights activists did not visit them, moreover, as  a rule, our servicemen met with their lawyers only in the courtroom.  "There was no coordinated defense, and their involvement was formal,"  she emphasized.

The human rights activist noted in this regard that the legal system  of Azerbaijan has a number of challenges, in particular, according to  her, difficulties arise for lawyers when defending political  opponents.  Those lawyers who carried out professional activities  were deprived of their licenses, that is, the Azerbaijani state very  effectively resolves issues with objectionable lawyers.

Considering the abovementioned, Sahakyan noted that she does not have  any positive expectations in matters of protecting Armenian citizens  in the courts of Azerbaijan, but not because of the provision of  unprofessional services, but because there is no independent judicial  system in Azerbaijan in general.  At the same time, she pointed out  some progress in the selection of lawyers. If previously all Armenian  prisoners of war were provided with the services of a lawyer free of  charge by the state, then in the case of officials, they are allowed  to choose their own defense among all, including private lawyers,  licensed in the Azerbaijani state.

Azerbaijan officially confirmed the fact of the detention of former  Minister of State of Artsakh Ruben Vardanyan, former deputy commander  of the Armed Forces of Artsakh, General David Manukyan, former  commander of the Artsakh Autonomous Region, General Levon  Mnatsakanyan, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh David  Babayan, former President of the Republic of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan  (2007 - 2020), former President of the Republic of Artsakh Arkady  Ghukasyan (1997-2007), Speaker of the National Assembly of Artsakh  David Ishkhanyan, former President of the Republic of Artsakh (2020-  2023), former Minister of State (2007-2018) Arayik Harutyunyan. All  of them were arrested for a period of 4 months.

The exact number of Armenian prisoners of war held in Baku after the  44-day large-scale military aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh is  still not known. The AR authorities confirm that there are about  three dozen Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan. According to  Human rights activists their number is several hundreds. Many of them  were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment by pocket courts of  Azerbaijan on far-fetched charges. It is known that Armenian  prisoners of war are subjected to harsh treatment in captivity, and  all this happens against the backdrop of silence and inaction of the  international community.

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