On Monday, the Legal Education Society unveiled the results of its monitoring project partly financed by the OSCE Baku Office, and investigating the consideration of appeals during the 2010 parliamentary elections and the compliance of the appeal process with national and international standards.
The chairman of the Society, Intigam Aliyev, said that hunderds of documents on 50 cases were studied and the appeals divided into 3 groups: refusal to register parliamentary candidates, the cancellation of canidate’s registration, and violations during the pre-election campaign and on the day of voting.
A number of candidates were denied registration on the basis of subjective decisions by “expert groups”, consisting of employees from the State Statistics Commitee, police offices, Housing Management Office, and from other state agencies.
Appeals on the annulment of registration were formally heard by the courts and election commissions. The registration of Baybala Abil of the Classic Popular Front Party was cancelled for allegedly launching election campaign ahead of time.
Appeals on voting day violations and on election results were also formally heard. That is, in several cases, Baku Appeal Court heard 4 appeals a day each of which consisted of hundreds of pages. Announcement of elections results by Azerbaijani Constitutional Court before the consideration of appeals by the Supreme Court was a nonsense.
Approximately 120-130 cases concerning the 2010 elections, as well as the case of human rights defender Vidadi Isgandarov’s have been sent to the European Court of Human Rights.
Law and Development NGO leader Hafiz Hasanov says that the extent of voting fraud is a sign of a dangerous trend. “Vidadi Isgandarov was punished exactly for unveiling this fraud and for demanding defense of his rights, and he was blamed for stealing voting ballots,” Hasanov said.
The discussions of NGO leaders and activists held that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are not fulfilled completely because the the government of Azerbaijan simply pays compensation to the victim instead of addressing the causes of the complaints. Forf example, the leader of the Democrat Party, Sardar Jalaloglu, noted that he was paid compensation for the torture he faced during his 2003 arrest.
It was noted that the international bodies also do not analyze the underlying reasons behind the legal violations, rather judging soley based on the facts of the case. Members of the study said that in recent years, the deterioration of election legislation, reduction of the election campaign period, and dismissal of candidate’s complaints are leading to a decrease in government transparency and rule of law. At the end of the discussions, it was recommended to improve the procedures for consideration of complaints and election laws