25.       On 25 July the leaders of 27 political parties from the opposition signed a joint statement calling for a boycott of the referendum. The co-rapporteurs wish to restate that the boycotting action is not in their opinion a suitable reaction in particular in the case of this referendum when the choice was given to the electorate to vote for 8 different questions. They urge the authorities to initiate a proper political dialogue with all political forces of the country as a factor of stability and national cohesion.

26. The referendum was passed with an overwhelming majority of 96% of the votes expressed in favor of the amendments and a national turn out over 88% of the registered voters The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe did not observe the Referendum due to the short notice. Only Mr. Gross, one of the co-rapporteurs, was present in Azerbaijan during the referendum. A broad range of frauds and irregularities were reported including undue interference of the executive authorities in the election process. Significant problems arose with regard to accreditation for observation of representatives of political parties in polling stations. First of all, the CEC rule requesting every observer to withdraw his own accreditation in Baku hampered numerous observers from regional branches of political parties to actively take part in the observation of the referendum. As during previous elections allegations of pressures to go voting and influence on voters intentions were reported as well as ballot stuffing and undue presence of the police at the polling stations. It was also reported that about 40 representatives of the opposition party APF and members of the election commissions were arrested when they refused to sign allegedly forged protocols. Once again problems were reported with inaccuracies of the voter’s lists. These frauds and irregularities cast a serious shadow on the scale of the impressing results of the referendum, as shown by the cancellation of results for serious frauds decided by the Electoral authorities in about 230 constituencies.

27. Four major political parties from the opposition who conducted a monitoring of the polls co-signed a declaration on the results of this referendum being illegitimate and fraudulent and intend to challenge these results in court. The co-rapporteurs reiterate that a situation where elections and polls are contested by part of the population contradicts the basic rules of a democracy and urgently call the Azeri authorities to take the necessary steps to establish confidence in the electoral process.

28. Azerbaijan has undertaken to revise its electoral law in consultation with the Council of Europe. As part of the co-operation programme between the Venice Commission and Azerbaijan, the Azeri authorities submitted the draft revised electoral legislation to the Commission in and their pending solutions - that have so far marred systematically the election process in Azerbaijan.

29. Reference should be made to a previous opinion submitted by the Venice Commission already in 2001: "A major element in this respect is a reinforcement of the position of the Central Electoral Commission strengthening its neutrality and its capacity to deal effectively with electoral complaints both from a legal and material point of view. The electoral commissions should be enabled and obliged to deal with complaints directly rather than to refer them to the prosecutor or ordinary courts. Additional safeguards against electoral fraud need to be introduced9". The co-rapporteurs formulate their strong hopes that these recommendations will be scrupulously taken into consideration in the new law.

  Azerbaijan

ETS No.

Title

Opening
for signature

001

Statute of the Council of Europe

05/05/49

 

 

Ratification or accession: 25/01/01

Entry into force on : 25/01/01

 

002

General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe

02/09/49

 

 

Ratification or accession: 16/01/02

Entry into force on : 16/01/02

 

005

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

04/11/50

 

Signature: 25/01/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 15/04/02

 

009

Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

20/03/52

 

Signature: 25/01/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 15/04/02

 

010

Protocol to the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe

06/11/52

 

 

Ratification or accession: 16/01/02

Entry into force on : 16/01/02

 

018

European Cultural Convention

19/12/54

 

 

Ratification or accession: 25/04/97

Entry into force on : 25/04/97

 

024

European Convention on Extradition

13/12/57

 

Signature: 07/11/01

Ratification or accession: 28/06/02

Entry into force on : 26/09/02

 

046

Protocol No. 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, securing certain rights and freedoms other than those already included in the Convention and in the first Protocol thereto

16/09/63

 

Signature: 25/01/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 15/04/02

 

062

European Convention on Information on Foreign Law

07/06/68

 

 

Ratification or accession: 26/06/00

Entry into force on : 27/09/00

 

085

European Convention on the Legal Status of Children born out of Wedlock

15/10/75

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 29/06/00

 

086

Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Extradition

15/10/75

 

Signature: 07/11/01

Ratification or accession: 28/06/02

Entry into force on : 26/09/02

 

088

European Convention on the International Effects of Deprivation of the Right to Drive a Motor Vehicle

03/06/76

 

 

Ratification or accession: 26/06/00

Entry into force on : 27/09/00

 

092

European Agreement on the Transmission of Applications for Legal Aid

27/01/77

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 29/04/00

 

098

Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Extradition

17/03/78

 

Signature: 07/11/01

Ratification or accession: 28/06/02

Entry into force on : 26/09/02

 

100

European Convention on the Obtaining Abroad of Information and Evidence in Administrative Matters

15/03/78

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 01/07/00

 

101

European Convention on the Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms by Individuals

28/06/78

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 29/06/00

 

104

Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats

19/09/79

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 01/07/00

 

112

Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons

21/03/83

 

Signature: 25/01/01

Ratification or accession: 25/01/01

Entry into force on : 01/05/01

 

114

Protocol No. 6 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms concerning the Abolition of the Death Penalty

28/04/83

 

Signature: 25/01/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 01/05/02

 

116

European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes

24/11/83

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 01/07/00

 

117

Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

22/11/84

 

Signature: 25/01/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 01/07/02

 

120

European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches

19/08/85

 

Signature: 28/03/00

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 01/05/00

 

122

European Charter of Local Self-Government

15/10/85

 

Signature: 21/12/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 01/08/02

 

126

European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

26/11/87

 

Signature: 21/12/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 01/08/02

 

143

European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Revised)

16/01/92

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 29/09/00

 

147

European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production

02/10/92

 

 

Ratification or accession: 28/03/00

Entry into force on : 01/07/00

 

151

Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

04/11/93

 

Signature: 21/12/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 01/08/02

 

152

Protocol No. 2 to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

04/11/93

 

Signature: 21/12/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 01/08/02

 

155

Protocol No. 11 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, restructuring the control machinery established thereby

11/05/94

 

Signature: 25/01/01

Ratification or accession: 15/04/02

Entry into force on : 15/04/02

 

157

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

01/02/95

 

 

Ratification or accession: 26/06/00

Entry into force on : 01/10/00

 

165

Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region

11/04/97

 

Signature: 11/04/97

Ratification or accession: 10/03/98

Entry into force on : 01/02/99

 


1 The programmes of the visits appear in Appendix II.

2 See section IV.

3 Source: US State Department.

4 Source: representatives of the Azeri community of Nagorno-Karabakh met in Baku during our visit.

5 See the report from the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography on “Situation of Refugees and Displaced Persons in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia” June 2002, rapporteurs Ms Vermot-Mangold (Switzerland, SOC).

6 See the reports on the observation of these elections: Doc. 7430, Addendum III (1995 parliamentary election) and Doc. 8256 (1998 presidential election).

7 See the report on local democracy in the Republic of Azerbaijan, Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, CG/BUR (6) 172, 10 May 2000.

8 The remaining seats are distributed as follows: Communist Party 2 seats; Motherland Party 2 seats; Azerbaijan Social Welfare Party 1 seat and Alliance Party for Azerbaijan 1 seat, independent 28 seats. (information dated August 2002, National Assembly of the Azerbaijan Republic).

9 CDL-INF(2000)17 and Programme of co-operation with Azerbaijan, CDL (2001) 5

10 Report on local democracy in the Republic of Azerbaijan, Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, CG/BUR (6) 172, 10 May 2000.

11 Report on the National Conference “Institutional Dialogue between the State and Local Authorities in Azerbaijan” Baku, 5-6 December 2001. CPL/INST (8) 61

12 Opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft Constitution of the Nakhitchevan Autonomous Republic CDL-INF (1997) 006.

13 CDL (2001)83

14 Opinion on the draft law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 8-9 March 2002, CDL-AD (2002) 5.

15 The Secretary General appointed three leading human rights lawyers: Professor Stefan Trechsel, Zurich University, a former president of the European Commission of Human Rights; Professor Evert Alkema, Leiden University, who is a member of the Dutch state council and a former member of the European Commission of Human Rights; and Mr Alexander Arabadjiev, a former judge of Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court and a former member of the European Commission of Human Rights.

16 Secretary General/Inf (2001) 34 and addenda, 24 October 2001.

17 See letter from the Chair of the Monitoring Committee to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of 7 November 2001 (Appendix III hereto).

18 See report of independent experts SG/Inf(2001)34 and addenda thereto SG/Inf (2001)

19 See synopsis N 2002/057 on the first meeting of the Joint Working Group, 29 April 2002.

20 See doc SG/COM (2002) 793, Communication of the Secretary General dated 18 April 2002.

21 Less M. Arabadjiev, who resigned.

22 Including problems faced by lawyers in meeting regularly with convicted persons (in the case of Gamidov), unexplained rejections of petitions and objections particularly on the Court’s Composition (in the case of Gumbatov), upholding of accusations based on old Criminal Code notwithstanding the adoption of a new code, restrictions on access to the court room for journalists.

23 Report CM(200279 Ago Monitoring Group, 13 June 2002.

24 Analysis of the Draft Amendments to the Law on Mass Media of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Decree of the 20 July 2001 on the creation of a National Council of Press, TV and Internet, 21 September 2001, Media Directorate, DGII.

25 I.e. representatives of the Russian, Ukrainian, Meshket, Avar, Lezghin, Talish, Tatar and Kurd minorities.

26 Opinion No. 221 (2000) on Armenia's application for membership of the Council of Europe (para. 8) and Opinion No. 222 (2000) on Azerbaijan’s application for membership of the Council of Europe (para. 9).

27 Following a Motion for a Resolution Doc. 9239, dated 27 September 2001.

28 Synopsis No. 2002/089 Political Affairs Committee, 2 July 2002.

29 United Nations Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of 1993, the last of which reaffirms the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and of all other states in the region, demands the withdrawal of occupying forces from "recently occupied areas" of Azerbaijan and calls on Armenia "to use its influence to achieve compliance by the Armenians of the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Azerbaijani Republic with Resolutions 822 (1993) , 853 (1993) and 874 (1993)".

30 Conclusions of the third meeting of the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Committee, 12 July 2002.

31 Assembly debate on 28 June 2000 (21st Sitting) (see Doc. 8748, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Baumel, and Doc. 8757, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Clerfayt).
Text adopted by the Assembly
on 28 June 2000 (21st Sitting).