Azerbaijan's Prosecutor General reveals details of reforms in prosecutor's office (Exclusive)

Politics Materials 3 October 2023 10:31 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijan's Prosecutor General reveals details of reforms in prosecutor's office (Exclusive)
Asif Mehman
Asif Mehman
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, October 3. Reforms carried out under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev have not bypassed the prosecutor's office, Azerbaijan's Prosecutor General Kamran Aliyev told Trend.

According to him, the new structure of the Prosecutor General's Office was approved by the order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated June 10, 2020, and the number of structures within the structure of the Prosecutor General's Office was increased from 15 to 18. New departments were created - non-criminal proceedings, coordination of issues of special confiscation and official investigations, as well as the post of another Deputy Prosecutor General was established.

In addition, in order to ensure the organization of management, execution and discipline, work with personnel, document flow, procedural management and control activities in the prosecution bodies, taking into account the requirements of national legislation and international experience, the "Rules for the organization of work" of the Prosecutor General's Office were developed and approved by a decision of the board of the Prosecutor General's Office on 30 July 2020. The Rules for the first time separated the powers to supervise organizational work and execution from the powers to conduct official checks and investigations of prosecutors, the latter functions being assigned to the newly created Department of Official Investigations.

The Prosecutor General noted that the "Rules for the organization of work" returned to the district (city) prosecutor's offices the authority to procedurally supervise the preliminary investigation. Thus, district (city) prosecutors themselves carry out procedural management of preliminary investigation of criminal cases investigated in district (city) prosecutor's offices and district (city) internal affairs bodies, and approve indictments themselves.

"According to the indicators of our activity we can observe the positive result of the conducted personnel and organizational reforms," said Kamran Aliyev.

Speaking about the organization of activities in Azerbaijani territories liberated from Armenian occupation, he noted that district prosecutor's offices and territorial military prosecutor's offices are now operating in administrative buildings temporarily allocated for them.

As a result of the analysis carried out in accordance with the "I State Program of "Great Return to the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan liberated from occupation" approved by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated November 16, 2022, military prosecutors were appointed to the relevant districts and presented to the state bodies, as well as construction of new administrative buildings was determined necessary in these territories. The work is carried out in accordance with the general plan of each district after its approval, and the opening of these buildings will be carried out as they are ready.

The Prosecutor General noted that the realization of these measures is possible thanks to the attention and care of the head of state for the prosecutor's office. He added that new administrative buildings of Pirallahi, Nasimi, Narimanov, Sheki, Kurdamir district prosecutor's offices are currently under construction. These buildings may be put into operation in the near future.

Kamran Aliyev emphasized that the General Prosecutor's Office of Azerbaijan constantly develops relations with prosecutor's offices and other law enforcement bodies of foreign countries, as well as with reputable international organizations. Participation of employees of the Prosecutor General's Office in international conferences and courses serves to study international experience, as well as to establish relevant working relations. The 33rd meeting of the Coordinating Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS and the 4th meeting of Prosecutors General of the member states of the Economic Cooperation Organization held in Baku on September 15, paved the way for further expansion of these ties. Within the framework of both important events the issues of interaction, cooperation in the field of combating crime were discussed and relevant documents were signed.

At the same time, he said, the delegation of the Prosecutor General's Office took part in the 28th annual conference and general meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors held on September 24-28 in London. And the 29th conference of the organization will be held in 2024 in Baku.

The Prosecutor General noted that thanks to investigative and operational activities carried out jointly with the bodies of internal affairs, state security and penitentiary service from May 1, 2020 to the present, about 35 cases of premeditated murders committed under unclear circumstances have been solved.

"In the process of collecting evidence for crimes committed long ago, there are objective difficulties in terms of the time that has passed since the event. However, despite this, employees of the prosecutor's office manage to solve these criminal cases, thanks to a professional approach to work, analyzing evidence, including with the use of modern technology," he said.

Kamran Aliyev noted that the Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor's Office is conducting preliminary investigation of 8 criminal cases related to gross violation by the military-political regime of Armenia of the requirements of the UN International Convention "On Combating the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries". In these criminal cases, about 17 citizens of foreign states (Russia, Georgia, France) were brought as defendants and declared wanted, with a preventive measure against them in the form of detention and ensuring their international search through the National Central Bureau of Interpol.

He said that in their interviews on social networks, these persons stated that they were members of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. There are photo and video materials testifying to the participation of these persons in military actions. Investigative and operational activities to apprehend and bring these persons to justice are ongoing. In this regard, numerous requests for legal assistance have been sent to the relevant countries.

Speaking about the arrest of Armenian citizen Vagif Khachatryan, identification and arrest of persons who insulted the Azerbaijani flag, the Prosecutor General noted that all this became possible due to the constantly growing professionalism of the staff as a result of the complex reforms carried out in Azerbaijani Prosecutor's Office, including personnel reforms, strengthening the material and technical base of the Prosecutor's Office, regular involvement of the staff in trainings, as well as implementation of professional management of the apparatus of the Prosecutor's Office.

The Prosecutor General also commented on the issue related to the great attention paid recently in the press and social networks to news about criminal cases.

"If we say that social networks and media have already become part of our lives, I think we would not be wrong. In addition to giving owners and users of social media platforms broad rights of access, dissemination of information, the legislation also establishes a duty to comply with certain requirements. An example is the factor of presumption of innocence, i.e. in the absence of an effective court decision that a person has committed a crime, sharing information that a person is a criminal, dissemination of information that is a secret concerning a person's family and personal life, dissemination of information that constitutes a secret of investigation, etc. can also be noted as sharing of information the dissemination of which is prohibited. Unfortunately, in the course of monitoring on social media platforms, we find that such law violations are taking place," he said.

He noted that the procuratorial authorities are taking action against this. Thus, about 19 persons have been brought to administrative responsibility for dissemination of information prohibited by law on social networks and platforms from May 2020 to the present day, a measure of restraint in the form of administrative arrest or a fine has been applied to them, a measure of prosecutor's response has been applied to 82 persons, a warning has been issued, and a civil suit has been filed against 1 media institution.

"In this area, we regularly take preventive measures and take active steps to prevent such violations. We regularly prepare and disseminate various educational information and video content, organize trainings, seminars and conferences. Our goal is to provide people with access to reliable information through social networks," he said.

The Prosecutor General also spoke about the process of electronization in the prosecutor's office and the work on the creation of the "Electronic Prosecutor's Office" system. All prosecutor's offices have ensured faster consideration of citizens' appeals with electronic registration of received documents and paperless exchange of documents between structural institutions using information and communication technologies since March of this year.

In the forthcoming period, one of the important tasks in this sphere is to integrate the "Electronic Prosecutor's Office" information system into the digital document management subsystem created by the Decree of President Ilham Aliyev dated August 1, 2023, as well as to create real-time exchange of documents with other state bodies, minimizing time losses in interdepartmental correspondence. At the same time, a relevant module on investigative activity, which is the main activity of the Prosecutor's Office, has been developed and put into test operation.

In addition, the work on integration of the information system "Electronic Prosecutor's Office" into the information system of the Ministry of Justice "Electronic Court" will be completed in the near future. Also, by connecting to the existing databases of "Electronic Prosecutor's Office" information system, access to the necessary information in real time is provided.

"I believe that full use of the "Electronic Prosecutor's Office" information system will contribute to the implementation of functional tasks of the prosecutor's office bodies with application of scientific and technical achievements, analysis of information resources with full electronization of the work carried out and, ultimately, increase the efficiency of our daily work," said Kamran Aliyev.

The Prosecutor General also provided information on the results achieved in the fight against corruption. He noted that the decisive position of the head of state in the field of combating corruption further increases the responsibility of the prosecutor's office in this area. The main anti-corruption department of the Prosecutor General's Office has a 24-hour hotline - 161. On the basis of the information received, operative-search measures are carried out and persons who have committed corruption offenses are detained red-handed.

Over the past year, the Main Department for Combating Corruption under the General Prosecutor's Office completed and sent to the appropriate courts for consideration 236 criminal cases against 349 people. About 49 people were detained red-handed, 29 wanted persons were detained, 168 criminal cases were solved. During this time, criminal cases were initiated on 82 appeals received at the hotline under relevant articles of the Criminal Code, as well as submissions were sent to relevant organizations to eliminate the identified violations, as a result of which 72 officials were brought to disciplinary responsibility.