The Monitoring Committee recognises the progress made by Azerbaijan
with regard to the establishment of the legislative framework in
some areas crucial for the functioning of democratic institutions
since its accession to the Council of Europe. However, restrictive
application or violations of some laws are resulting in growing concern
with regard to the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The lack of independence of the judiciary is a concern. The
situation with regard to basic freedoms, including freedom of expression,
freedom of assembly and freedom of association is preoccupying.
The committee expresses its alarm at reports by human rights defenders
and domestic and international NGOs about the alleged use of so-called
fabricated charges against activists and journalists. The combination
of the restrictive implementation of freedoms with unfair trials
and the undue influence of the executive results in the systemic detention
of people who may be considered prisoners of conscience. Alleged
cases of torture and other forms of ill-treatment at police stations,
as well as the impunity of perpetrators, raise major concern.
Despite the progress achieved in the introduction of a legislative
framework aimed at fighting corruption and organised crime, the
main challenge lies in the effective application of that legislation.