Concluding observations UN Human Rights Committee
9 November 2016

Concluding observations UN Human Rights Committee


In October 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee reviewed Azerbaijan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. Last week, the Committee issued the concluding observations of this review.

Lawyers for Lawyers welcomes the recommendation in which the Committee calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to “take immediate measures to ensure that sufficient safeguards are in place, both in law and in practice, to guarantee the full independence and safety of lawyers and their effective protection against any form of retaliation, including violence, in connection with their professional activity. It should, inter alia:

(a)      Refrain from any actions that may constitute harassment, persecution or undue interference in the work of lawyers, including their suspension, disbarment or other disciplinary actions or criminal prosecution on improper grounds such as the expression of critical views or the nature of cases they are involved in;

(b)      Eliminate the practice of calling lawyers as witnesses in the cases they are representing.”

Lawyers for Lawyers had submitted two reports on Azerbaijan to the Committee: a submission on the List of Issues and a submission for the session of the review. In these submissions, L4L highlighted the failure of the Azerbaijani authorities, as they do not always uphold the necessary guarantees for the proper functioning of the legal profession. Lawyers are subjected to harassment and improper interference. Several lawyers have faced disciplinary proceedings on improper grounds. Some lawyers, like Intigam Aliyev, are even subjected to criminal proceedings in connection to their legitimate professional activities. Public prosecutors play a dominant role in legal proceedings. The prosecution calls lawyers as witnesses in the cases against their clients. As a result, lawyers are not in an equal position to represent their clients.

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