OSCE Office in Baku issues final 2009 trial monitoring report in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 21 /Trend, K.Zarbaliyeva/

OSCE Office in Baku issued the final 2009 trial monitoring report in Azerbaijan.

According to official website of OSCE, concerns regarding fair trial standards were noted in the course of the 2009 Trial Monitoring Programme.

These concerns include the failure to timely and properly inform the accused about their rights, failure to investigate the accused's allegations of torture or other forms of ill-treatment, as well as problems related to the right to an independent and impartial tribunal, e.g. through exhibiting prosecutorial bias or failure to prevent improper behaviour by the prosecutor towards the accused.

During the monitoring, concerns were revealed related to the right to legal assistance, e.g. failure to provide the accused with legal counsel, with advice about the right to free legal aid, or provide the defence counsel with enough time and adequate facilities to prepare the defence.

The organization regrets that some other concerns and recommendations have not yet been addressed, particularly those related to the lack of judicial independence and equality of arms.

According to the report, the Office notes with appreciation that some concerns and recommendations made in the latest 2006-2007 Trial Monitoring Report, issued in April 2008, have been effectively addressed by the Government through legislative reforms and other measures, namely the increase in the number of defence lawyers and judges, as well as the refurbishment of court facilities to enable the proper functioning of court rooms.

To eliminate the deficiencies found during monitoring, the OSCE has made a number of recommendations.
Thus, judges should independently and impartially review cases. They should not express their dissatisfaction with attempts to protect or justify accused.
Arrest as a restrictive measure in respect of the accused must be justified according to the estimate of each individual case, as well as according to local and international standards, should be as limited as possible.

The judge must treat equally to both sides. For example, he should allow the protection to include it in a list of its witnesses. The judge must examine the witnesses both from the list of as prosecution and the list of protection.

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