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Will Azerbaijan stay in the Council of Europe?

2017 November 10 ( Friday )  17:55:01
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Русский Azərbaycan

Many people remember that the Council of Europe appealed to the European Court of Human Rights with a request to present an opinion on the execution by Azerbaijan of the court's decisions, especially regarding the chairman of the ReAL movement IlgarMammadov, and threatened with various measures, including exclusion from the Council of Europe. In response, the Azerbaijani authorities said they would leave the organization if any measures will be applied to the country.

A few days later, the PACE Committee of Ministers adopted an interim resolution, according to which Azerbaijan was given a deadline until November 29, so that the authorities of the country presented their position on the execution of the European Court decision on IlgarMammadov. If during this time the court decision is not executed, the Committee of Ministers will discuss on December 5 another interim resolution on the return of the case to the European Court with a request whether the country violates the convention. The next step should be the question of the state's membership in the Council of Europe, but it is not formally envisaged, and many experts consider this unlikely.

A similar position was expressed by the experts - the chairman of the Institute of Democratic Initiatives AkifGurbanov and the deputy leader of the Musavat party Elman Fattah at the event "The Council of Europe - Azerbaijan: What awaits us?" organized by the NIDA civil movement.

The first word was given to AkifGurbanov, who briefly described the history of relations between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe, noting that Azerbaijan had imposed a moratorium on the death penalty for joining the Council of Europe, eliminating censorship in the media, which gave its results, and in 2001 the country became a member of the Council of Europe: "At that time, Azerbaijan agreed to ratify eight Conventions. To date, the country has acceded to 60 different conventions and cooperates with the Council of Europe at various levels. Commitments voluntarily taken by our country to the Council of Europe can be divided into 5 groups: obligations related to the Karabakh conflict (adhere to the peaceful resolution of the conflict), with various conventions, bringing local legislation in line with international legislation, with human rights and fulfilling commitments. To date, there have been problems with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe concerning the fulfillment of Azerbaijan's obligations regarding IlgarMammadov. For the emergence of these problems are responsible, both the Azerbaijani authorities and the Council of Europe itself. The structure did not always react quickly to human rights violations and demonstrated a stable position in the field of fulfilling obligations. "

According to the expert, the Council of Europe applies for the first time the 46th article of the European Convention on Human Rights and Azerbaijan does not fully implement the decisions of the European Court: "We often criticize the structure for the late execution of its decisions, for giving additional opportunities to the country. However, the Council of Europe itself is in a desperate situation, since this procedure is carried out for the first time in 46 articles, and there are no examples of its implementation. Now the structure tries to do so, on the one hand, not to violate the CE Statute and the requirements of the Convention, and on the other hand, not to remove Azerbaijan from the process. Azerbaijan does not fulfill its obligations, although it has repeatedly stated that it executes all decisions of the European Court, implying payment of compensation. However, the decisions of the European Court consist not only of payment of compensation, but also bear general obligations, none of which Azerbaijan has complied with. The European Court ruled to release IlgarMammadov and prevent other similar cases. However, there were difficulties in the execution of the court decision. "

The expert noted that Azerbaijan cannot easily leave the CE, as the authorities say: "I do not think that these statements are serious intentions. We have witnessed it more than once. For example, Russia was deprived of the right to vote in the Council of Europe, but did not decide to withdraw from the organization. Especially Azerbaijan will not do this. The Council of Europe plays the role of a filter before the entry of countries into the European Union. Of the two recent resolutions of the PACE Committee of Ministers on Azerbaijan, it is clear that the members of the European Union act from a unified position. Non-fulfillment of obligations by Azerbaijan and withdrawal from the CE will lead to the end of relations with the European Union. Relations with the European Union are very important, both in the strategic plan and economically. More than half of the trade turnover of Azerbaijan - with the countries of the European Union. Therefore, I consider the authorities' statements about leaving the structure as a bluff. For some reason, the liberation of IlgarMammadov turned into a matter of principle for the authorities. The Council of Europe is also determined. In such a situation, the authorities will try to gain time. CE is a bureaucratic structure, the mechanisms of its work are not simple and require time. The Azerbaijani authorities will try to extend this time as much as possible. "

The deputy leader of the Musavat party, Elman Fattah, told the audience about the history and reasons for the emergence of the Council of Europe, and then touched upon the cause of the conflict between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe: "A conflict arose between the Council of Europe and Azerbaijan, which did not arise on the basis of state interests. From this point of view, there are no misunderstandings. In what the CE demands from Azerbaijan, there is nothing that affects the interests of the country. State propaganda often states that the Council of Europe has not adopted any resolution on the Armenian invader, does not express a position on the occupied Azerbaijani territories. However, this is a lie. The Council of Europe, the European Union and the parliament that is part of these German structures have repeatedly stated that Karabakh is the occupied territory of Azerbaijan. In fact, the authorities are trying to present their conflict with European structures to the public as a prejudiced position of Europe towards Azerbaijan. The authorities are not interested in integration, transparency, cooperation with Europe, because they will have to go to reforms, refuse corruption, and this in turn means a loss of power,"the expert said.

According to Fattah, the Azerbaijani authorities are not fulfilling the obligations to the Council of Europe that affect their interests: "One of the first obligations was to bring the national legislation in line with the European one. In a very short time, all the Codes were adjusted to European ones. That is, theoretically, the reforms were proceeding at a fast pace, however, in practice, new laws do not work. For example, in 2001 Azerbaijan ratified the Conventions on local self-government, according to which the major cities of the country should be managed by elected mayors. In accordance with the CE system, Baku is not considered a capital, as it is managed not by the mayor, but appointed by the head of the executive power. Everything that concerns elections is irritating to the authorities. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what is contrary to the state interests - discussion or falsification of elections? The barrier to achieve state interests is not the Council of Europe, but the Azerbaijani authorities, because they cannot compare their interests with the national ones,"the expert said.

Elman Fattah, as well as AkifGurbanov, believes that the authorities' statements on leaving the Council of Europe are a bluff, and Azerbaijan will never dare to do such a demarche: "To leave the Council of Europe means to end cooperation with Europe, to break all the signed agreements. The authorities will not do this,"Fattah concluded.

Member of the Board of NIDA AbulfazGurbanli noted that the issue of Azerbaijan's withdrawal from the Council of Europe at the moment is one of the most urgent: "One of the most disturbing issues is what will happen if the authorities fulfill their threats and leave the Council of Europe. Experts said that the authorities are bluffing, but we know the Azerbaijani authorities quite well, which are often presented with surprises. As soon as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project began work, the issue of the road connecting the north and south was on the agenda, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran held talks. On the other hand, in September, when the West threatened with sanctions because of the arrest of MehmanAliyev, the country's official press organ said that if sanctions were adopted, the authorities would have to make a choice not in favor of the West. It's about Russia. I think that if Azerbaijan is excluded from the Council of Europe, or if it leaves it, the already strong positions of Russia in the country will become even stronger. The influence of Russia is clearly visible in the period of elections in Azerbaijan. Before the election, Russian officials come to the country, run the election process, achieve the desired result and leave. Some political analysts close to the authorities said that during the recent meeting between Putin and Erdogan, one of the issues discussed was the conditions for the return of the five occupied regions to Azerbaijan. Among the conditions are the entry of Azerbaijan into the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Union or the deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces in the occupied territories. Azerbaijan has not yet left the CE, and we already face such dangers,"Gurbanli said.--0--