Azerbaijan, Baku, 25 January /corr. Trend K.Zarbaliyeva / For the second time the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) returned the list of candidates for the position of judge from Azerbaijan in the European Court on Human Rights.
The list from Azerbaijan which included Azerbaijani judge Khanlar Hajiyev of the European Court, Baku's Aziabayov District Court, Judge Rashad Hasanov and Baku's Nasimi District Court judge Aygun Abdullayeva was rejected at the PACE meeting on 17 December in Paris, due to the candidates not meeting PACE standards.
Expert Erkin Gadirov reported to Trend that the general level of professionalism of the judges in Azerbaijan is not very high, but that there are numerous judges who hold special professional, knowledge and moral qualities. However, unfortunately, due to the absence of their knowledge of any official languages of the European Court, it is impossible to put them forward for the post of judge. He stated that another reason that the list of candidates was returned was because one of the candidates held a higher post than the others; each of the three candidates must be of the same level.
Azerbaijan's authorized representative in the European Court, Chingiz Askerov, also related this reason with the small number of lawyers knowing foreign languages.
According to him, absence of knowledge of foreign language may not be indicator of professionalism of the Azerbaijani judges.
"Most judges know the European Convention, presidential rights of the European Court. However, absence of their knowledge of foreign languages presents obstacles to nominate them," Askerov said.
He does not agree with the statements of several NGOs and law observers regarding non-transparency in selecting candidates.
Before the session, a group of lawyers and law observers appealed to the European court with a challenge to cancel Azerbaijani candidates for the position of judge in the European Court. They claim that the process of selecting candidates took place unfairly.
Askerov said that these law observers and NGOs did not put forward their candidatures.
He stated that selecting the candidates was based on the knowledge of official languages of the European Court and knowledge of presidential rights of the European Court and European Convention.
In October 2007 session of the PACE returned the list of Azerbaijani candidates due to the same reason.
The Head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE, Samad Seyidov, said that the problem of selecting Azerbaijani judge to the European Court will be resolved by March.
Voted by the Parliamentary Assembly, the judges are being selected from the list of candidates of the Council of Europe participating countries.
The judges for the European Court are being selecting for five years.