Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend K.Zarbaliyeva / Azerbaijani courts allow prosecutors to sit in the court halls and judge's studies, whereas the defenders must wait in vestibules, said Alan Gabel, an American Lawyers Association (ALA) expert on criminal legislation. He drew attention to this problem while addressing a training course for judges on 12 November.
The expert said judges are biased. In accordance with the curriculum of the 6-month training course especially for judges, with the support of the US embassy, OSCE and the ALA, 7-day workshops were organized for the candidates. During the workshops, major attention will be paid to compiling sentences, presiding over hearings, ethics and resolution of trials.
Gabel drew the candidates' attention to the fact that a judge should not accept any side in the absence of another. "If a defender or prosecutor speaks to you about a case in private, it is illegal. You should pass upon this. Judges should approach the case without bias," the expert said.
Gabel said that a judge should not put questions to a witness and should not repeat them, even if the questions are unbiased. Repetition of the question shows partiality. "The judge should not put questions to a witness as a lawyer or a prosecutor. The judge should listen attentively to both sides, examine the evidence and make a decision within the bounds of their rights and authority.
According to the international expert's conclusions, Azerbaijani courts do not provide equal opportunities to each side in a trial, and the judges form opinions before the hearings begin.
Attending the event was Iman Nagiyev, the chairman of the Court of Appeal of Baku and Ann Derse, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan.
As a result of a test, as well as written and oral exams, 102 people passed to the next stage envisaging long-term education courses.
The training course curriculum was developed on the basis of international experience. It includes the protection of human rights, court ethics, fighting corruption and other actual topics.