BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 3. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has signed a Decree granting authority to sign Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on the abolition of the death penalty in all cases, Trend reports.
Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of the Department for Work with Law Enforcement Bodies of the Presidential Administration Fuad Alasgarov spoke on President Ilham Aliyev's initiative with AZERTAC.
Azerbaijan marks the 25th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in 2023. The humanistic policy of National Leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev resulted in the establishment of a moratorium on the death penalty in 1993. The country reconstructed pardon and amnesty institutions, and took important steps to ensure human rights and freedoms. The death penalty initiative was one of the most prominent examples of this policy.
National leader Heydar Aliyev, in his historic address to the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan on February 3, 1998, stressed that the right to life is the inalienable right of every person, regarded the death penalty as an inhuman and brutal measure running counter to human dignity, expressed his confidence that the abolition of this type of punishment would not only be a historic event, but also a decisive step in humanization of criminal law policy and the reform of the legal system.
Following this initiative, based on humanism, justice, freedom, Azerbaijan became the first country in the East to abolish the death penalty.
Along with adopting the key acts of national law on the abolition of the death penalty, the great leader also initiated the country's accession to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, as well as Protocol No. 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Although these 1980 international documents provided for the abolition of the death penalty, this type of punishment was being applied for war crimes. However, the evolution of international human rights law continued towards the abolition of the death penalty in all cases, resulting in the adoption of Protocol No. 13 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Adhering to the national leader's humanistic policy, Azerbaijan never intended to apply the death penalty, and the national legislation doesn't envisage the death penalty for any crimes. On the contrary, targeted and sustained action is being taken to further liberalize the criminal law policy.
The amnesty acts, taken following the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev, spread to over 57,000 people, the Presidential Decrees on pardon covered around 5,900 people. Meanwhile, the conceptual changes made to the criminal legislation have led to decriminalization of many acts, and the use of alternative punishments and measures of procedural coercion society has expanded significantly.
Taking into account the international efforts to completely ban the death penalty, including for crimes committed during war or with an imminent threat of war, on February 3, 2023, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev gave relevant instructions related to the signing of Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on the abolition of the death penalty in all cases, on behalf of the Azerbaijan Republic.
This step taken by President Ilham Aliyev demonstrated once again his will to ensure the right to life at the highest level.