European Stability Initiative finds itself as a last remedy in dealing with legal issues

Elkhan Suleymanov Chairman of Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest PA, Member of Azerbaijani Delegation to PACE

Baku – APA. The European Stability Initiative, distinguished exclusively with its anti-Azerbaijani rhetoric, published a new material on November 14, 2014. The NGO is committed to its tradition as always. Nevertheless, this time the ESI targeted not only the Azerbaijani authorities, but also the organizations and official representatives of European institutions, which keep silence or demonstrate a balanced approach regarding the issues on Azerbaijan.


The ESI described the period of Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe between May and November of 2014, stating that “Recent events make the Council of Europe in Strasbourg a stage for the political theatre of the absurd.” The authors substantiate their claims with Anar Mammadli’s conviction for 5 years in May, furiously stressing that “Until today neither the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe nor the Secretary General of the Council of Europe – former Norwegian prime-minister Torbjorn Jagland – have called for his unconditional release.”


As the authors realized that Azerbaijani authorities ignore their groundless and biased allegations, this time they went further and targeted CoE Secretary-General Mr. Jagland in order to calm themselves down. The description of Azerbaijan as “a "young democracy" which "needs help” by Mr. Jagland in “Guardian” outraged them even more. Last, but not least, so-called ESI experts pointed out to Mr. Jagland’s “we are closely following several other trials against human rights defenders in Azerbaijan”, and highlighted that he should “call for these trials, travesties of justice, to stop.”


Apparently, the European Stability Initiative obviously disclaims any positive, even neutral views regarding Azerbaijan. The issues mentioned in the material (irrespective of their artificial exaggeration or actual presence) should be definitely resolved in a legal context, but they call for settling them by exerting pressure on Azerbaijan. According to ESI, every claim in the material is absolutely grounded. This institution believes that NGO activists convicted for their illegal actions should be released ignoring any judicial decision, and that there is no need to implement any legal procedures. Thus, the ESI finds itself as a last remedy. It believes that its claims and demands are namely the law itself and are more competent than the decisions of both courts and of the European Court of Human Rights.


The ESI also commented on a new Working Group on Human Rights Issues. The material quotes the agreement between Mr. Jagland and Azerbaijani President Mr. Ilham Aliyev on the establishment of this Working Group and states that it’s composed "of human rights defenders, parliamentarians, officials of the Presidential Administration and a Council of Europe expert." The authors further argue that “this group, handpicked by the Azerbaijani authorities, included mostly so-called activists distinguished by vicious public campaigns against some of the current political prisoners."


Thus, the authors, who speak not to the point, but to reach their targeted goal, deliberately deceived the international community with the above-mentioned allegations and don’t feel remorse. Thus, the ESI is well aware that the Working Group functioning between 2005 and 2010 included prominent NGO representatives. Most of them, namely Novella Jafaroglu, Saida Gojamanly, Saadat Bananyarli, Eldar Zeynalov, Zaliha Tahirova, Sahib Mammadov and others are members of newly-established Working Group. Thanks to the efforts of these NGO representatives, many prisoners were released through different legal mechanisms, as well as by pardon. Therefore, the allegations that these people are distinguished with vicious public campaigns are at least hypocrisy.


On the other hand, the establishment of a new Working Group on Human Rights Issues demonstrates the willingness of Azerbaijani government to hold dialogue, to settle current problems in the field of human rights, and thus, to fulfill recommendations prepared with the participation of prominent NGO representatives and a Council of Europe expert. It is noteworthy that any conditions are provided for the Working Group to conduct monitoring on the state of human rights in order to ensure rapid implementation of future decisions. Thus, as the issue of political prisoners is a legal issue, the Working Group should not deal with any list of political prisoners, and this is the competence of court, as well as of the European Court of Human Rights.


Nevertheless, the ESI is not interested in these points; it is committed to goals planned ahead and thus, stands up against any step towards objective resolution of current issues and doesn’t consider it acceptable to settle legal issues, which are subject of debates on a political context, exclusively on a legal context. Subsequently, the ESI got furious, as during the meeting with Azerbaijani President Mr. Ilham Aliyev, CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland told that the final word should be given to the European Court of Human Rights on the issue of political prisoners. The ESI blames PACE, European Court of Human Rights and Secretariat for such efforts. The European Stability Initiative is obviously against the fact that the assessment of the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms provided for in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols is the exclusive competence of the European Court of Human Rights.


Thus, I’d like to state that the issue of political prisoners is a legal issue and should be resolved on the legal context. Therefore, as mentioned, I completely share the view expressed in the article of the European Stability Initiative referring to Mr. Jagland that the final word should be given to the European Court of Human Rights on the issue of political prisoners.


The NGO concludes the material with an interesting and I think, dangerous call: “The time to act is now. Business as usual is not an option any longer.” I wonder what the ESI means by this call.


We can clarify this call only by logic. Thus, what kind of calls can this institution make? The institution, which stands against the fact that the assessment of the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms is the exclusive competence of the European Court of Human Rights, disrespects the principle of rule of law, which is one of fundamental values of Europe, and demands the immediate release of prisoners convicted for specific legal violations, by ignoring any legal procedures? - Only to unrests. Consequently, the goals of ESI planned ahead become clear: to disorder political stability in Azerbaijan and make unrests. However this entity and its ideologists should understand that it is impossible to deceive Azerbaijani society with such appeals. Obviously, the ESI has a single targeted goal: to politically destabilize Azerbaijan and give way to unrests. But this institution and its ideologists should understand that it’s impossible to deceive the Azerbaijani society with such calls. Thus, the efforts of international organizations, as well as ESI to make pressure on Azerbaijan by claiming the deterioration of the state of human rights and the presence of political prisoners in Azerbaijan has one single goal: to serve to Armenian aggression and to distract attention from efforts to liberate the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia. The Azerbaijani people now clearly understand it.


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