Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture : Azerbaijan. 11/17/1999.
A/55/44,paras.64-69. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
23rd session
8-19 November 1999

CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION


Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture



Azerbaijan



64. The Committee considered the initial report of Azerbaijan (CAT/C/37/Add.3) at its 401st, 404th and 406th meetings on 15, 16 and 17 November 1999 (CAT/SR.401, 404 and 406) and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.

1. Introduction

65. The Committee welcomes the initial report of Azerbaijan, which, submitted nearly on time, is in full conformity with the Committee's guidelines for the preparation of initial reports. The Committee also welcomes the open dialogue between the highly qualified representatives of the State party and itself.

2. Positive aspects

66. The Committee notes with satisfaction the following:

(a) The ongoing efforts to establish a legal framework based on universal human values to safeguard fundamental human rights, including freedom from torture;

(b) The important efforts made to establish relevant selection criteria and methods for the training and education of law enforcement and medical personnel on the prohibition of torture;

(c) The noticeable decrease in the number of persons arrested in recent years;

(d) The efforts to improve the conditions in prisons;

(e) The information given by the delegation of the State party on the right of access to legal counsel from the moment of arrest, and the empowerment of the Courts to sanction arrests;

(f) The State party's willingness to cooperate closely with international and regional bodies, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, as well as with international and national non-governmental organizations.

3. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the provisions of the Convention

67. The Committee takes note of the transitional problems currently faced by the State party, as well as of the difficult political situation prevailing in parts of its territory.

4. Subjects of concern

68. The Committee expresses its concern about the following:

(a) The absence of a definition of torture as provided in article 1 of the Convention in the penal legislation currently in force in the State party, with the result that the specific offence of torture is not punishable by appropriate penalties as required by article 4, paragraph 2 of the Convention;
(b) Numerous and continuing reports of allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment committed by law enforcement personnel;

(c) The apparent failure to provide prompt, impartial and full investigation into numerous allegations of torture that were reported to the Committee, as well as the failure to prosecute, where appropriate, the alleged perpetrators;

(d) The absence of guarantees for independence of the legal profession, particularly members of judiciary, who are appointed for a limited renewable term;

(e) The use of amnesty laws that might extend to the crime of torture.

5. Recommendations

69. The Committee recommends that:

(a) The State party fulfil its intention to establish adequate penal provisions to make torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention a punishable offence in accordance with article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention;

(b) In view of the numerous allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement personnel, the State party take all necessary effective steps to prevent the crime of torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(c) In order to ensure that perpetrators of torture do not enjoy impunity, the State party ensure the investigation and, where appropriate, the prosecution of those accused of having committed the crime of torture, and ensure that amnesty laws exclude torture from their reach;

(d) The State party consider repealing laws which may undermine the independence of the judiciary, such as the provisions relating to renewable term appointments;

(e) The State party consider making the declarations under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.


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