Report on the Status of the Implementation of the ECtHR Cases against Azerbaijan relating the Presumption of Innocence

An alumni of the "Young Human Rights Defenders" training program of the Institute for Democratic Initiatives (IDI) has prepared a "Report on the Status of Implementation of ECtHR Cases against Azerbaijan relating the Presumption of Innocence".

The report includes the concept of presumption of innocence, the guarantees given to the presumption of innocence in domestic and international legislation, the content and implementation status of the cases in which the European Court of Human Rights recognized the violation of the presumption of innocence against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the monitoring of the legislation, it was revealed that although the provisions related to the presumption of innocence are reflected in the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the legislation does not specifically specify what kind of responsibility should be borne for the violation of the presumption of innocence. This may also be regarded as a shortcoming in domestic law that affects the presumption of innocent.

The defense of the presumption of innocence in the documents that include the presumption of innocence, which Azerbaijan is also a member of, is considered one of the main priorities in the international sphere. For example, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 11), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 14), European Convention on Human Rights (Article 6.2).

Since the ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights (April 15, 2002) until today, the court found a violation of Article 6.2 (presumption of innocence) in 10 cases against Azerbaijan.

The ECtHR has repeatedly noted that the presumption of innocence of statements by state bodies is violated, and that there is a lack of caution in the choice of statements used by state bodies. The Court accepts that in some cases, the fact that the applicant had a high socio-political influence could have required the state authorities to keep the public informed of the criminal charges against him and the progress of the criminal proceedings. However, the Court has consistently emphasized that the choice of statements made by public officials before a person is tried and convicted of a particular crime is of critical importance.

In 8 of the above-mentioned 10 decisions, the compensations were fully paid to the applicants, in 1 decision (Muradverdiyev v. Azerbaijan) no compensation was provided, and in 1 decision (Fatullayev v. Azerbaijan) the Government did not provide any information to the Court regarding the payment of compensation.

Out of the 10 investigated decisions, the Government submitted an Action Plan to the Court for only 2 decisions. Although the government focused on the payment of compensation in relation to the execution of decisions, the implementation of other measures took a back seat.

There are certain problems not only in the implementation of decisions, but also in the mechanism of implementation of decisions. Thus, there is no state institution specifically responsible for ECtHR decisions. In fact, there is a need to create such an institution. Also, the activities of this institution should be open to the applicants, their representatives, and society as a whole. These two issues ultimately prevent the full implementation of the presumption of innocence in Azerbaijan and ultimately lead to non-implementation of the decisions issued by the Court.

At the end of the report, the final conclusions and necessary recommendations were mentioned.