The Human Rights Committee considered the initial report of Azerbaijan
(CCPR/C/81/Add.2) at its 1332nd and 1336th meetings, on 12 and 14
July 1994, and adopted at the 1354th meeting (fifty-first session),
held on 27 July 1994 the following comments:
thanks Azerbaijan for its initial report and welcomes the presence
of a high-level delegation before the Committee. It notes the timely
submission of the report and thanks the State party for the core
document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.41/Rev.1). The Committee notes with regret,
however, that, while providing detailed information on prevailing
legislation in Azerbaijan, the report does not contain enough information
on the way in which the Covenant is implemented in practice or on
the factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the
Covenant throughout the area under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan.
The information provided orally by the delegation made good these
deficiencies to some extent and provided the Committee with a better
insight into the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.
2. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the
of armed conflict with a neighbouring country and the recurrent
internal unrest are affecting the exercise of human rights in Azerbaijan
and have given rise to a pattern of gross human rights violations.
Recognized obstacles arising out of the transition from the legal
order inherited from the past to a democratic system must be addressed
in a manner compatible with respect for the Covenant.
3. Positive aspects
notes that Azerbaijan has declared that it is bound by the Covenant
through a declaration of accession, though it would have been correct
for it to have regarded itself as succeeding to the obligations
of the Covenant as a State of the former Soviet Union. None the
less, the Committee notes with appreciation that the delegation,
addressing questions raised by members of the Committee, did not
deny accountability for events that occurred in the country after
the date of independence but before the date of accession. It also
takes note of the efforts of the Government of Azerbaijan to include
human rights in its new Constitution, to adopt new human rights
legislation and to ensure the rule of law. It also notes that the
Government has demonstrated the will to initiate far-reaching structural
reforms, particularly with regard to the judiciary.
4. Principal subjects of concern
is concerned by the status of the Covenant within the Azerbaijani
legal system and by the lack of clarity regarding the resolution
of possible conflicts between the Covenant and national law. Furthermore,
it does not seem possible for an individual to invoke the Covenant
before the courts.
regrets the position adopted in the report regarding the principle
of self-determination. In that connection, it recalls that, under
article 1 of the Covenant, that principle applies to all peoples
and not merely to colonized peoples.
notes that a state of emergency was declared in 1993 and is concerned
by the lack of clarity in the law governing the conditions in which
the state of emergency can be implemented.
deeply deplores the events that have occurred recently in Azerbaijan
in the context of the armed conflict and have involved numerous
violations of the rights guaranteed by the Covenant. There have
been reports of cases of summary execution, enforced or involuntary
disappearance, torture and other acts of violence against the person,
as well as arbitrary detention. The practice of hostage-taking as
a retaliatory measure or for bargaining purposes also seems widespread.
Such violations have not been investigated and the persons responsible
for them have therefore not been punished. Nor have the victims
or their families been compensated.
is disturbed at the number of death sentences pronounced and at
the lack of any appeal procedure for persons under sentence of death.
was disturbed by the obstacles which have thus far prevented the
implementation of article 12 of the Covenant. Passport applications
seem to have been rejected without proper justification. The visa
requirement for some categories of persons wishing to leave the
country is an unacceptable restriction on the liberty of movement
and the requirement of a visa to return to Azerbaijan is contrary
to article 12 of the Covenant.
has doubts regarding the independence and impartiality of the judiciary
in Azerbaijan and deplores the fact that the "Procuratura"
notes with concern the lack of laws guaranteeing the right of information
and the fact that the laws inherited from the former regime have
not been amended to guarantee the rights provided for in article
19 of the Covenant.
is concerned by the power of the Ministry of Justice to refuse to
register a political party or an association, which is an obstacle
to the pluralism of political parties as provided for in article
25 of the Covenant.
5. Suggestions and recommendations
recommends that the State party revise the former legislation as
soon as possible in order to introduce a democratic system more
in keeping with the requirements of the Covenant.
urges the Government of Azerbaijan to put an end to the gross violations
of human rights that have occurred and continue to occur in Azerbaijan,
to conduct investigations into them, to punish the persons guilty
of such acts and to compensate the victims.
recommends that the use of the death penalty be reduced and that
provision be made for the right to appeal against a death sentence.
invites the Government of Azerbaijan to amend its judicial system
as quickly as possible and abolish the old "Procuratura".
suggests that the authorities of the State party should introduce
legislation guaranteeing freedom of information and of the press
and, in general, freedom of expression and opinion.
recommends that the Government of Azerbaijan ensure the pluralism
of political parties and remove obstacles to their registration.
recommends that the Government take account of the Committee's general
comment No. 23 (50), concerning article 27 of the Covenant, in drafting
legislative or regulatory texts for the full protection of the rights
of individuals belonging to minorities.
stresses the need to improve information and education regarding
human rights so as to make the public more familiar with the provisions
of the Covenant. It also recommends that the authorities consider
the possibility of acceding to the First Optional Protocol to the