Azerbaijan: Witness protection available to those fearing organized criminal gang members (2005-2007)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa|
|Publication Date||27 August 2007|
|Citation / Document Symbol||AZE102436.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Azerbaijan: Witness protection available to those fearing organized criminal gang members (2005-2007), 27 August 2007, AZE102436.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47d65441c.html [accessed 23 April 2014]|
|Comments||Corrected version added 16 March 2009.|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
A corrected version of this Response was published on the Refworld site at the request of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 16 March 2009
In December 1998, Azerbaijan's president signed the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic on State Protection of Persons Participating in Criminal Proceedings, which provides protection to informants, experts, witnesses, victims, accused persons and others involved in criminal proceedings, as recommended by "the relevant executive authority" (Azerbaijan 11 Dec. 1998, Art. 3). The law does not include details regarding "the relevant executive authority" (ibid.). Protective measures listed in the legislation provide for security of the person (including their residence and property); warnings to the person of potential dangers; temporary relocation of the person; confidentiality of information about the person; relocation of the person's place of work, study or residence; changes to the person's documentation and appearance; and a closed court when the person is participating (ibid., Art. 7). Article 123 of Azerbaijan's Code of Criminal Procedure also outlines the obligations of the government in protecting those involved in criminal proceedings from danger (ibid. 14 July 2000).
According to a 2006 report by the Council of Europe (COE), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) and the Ministry of National Security are responsible for carrying out protective measures (23 June 2006, Para. 47). There is no specific agency responsible for the protection of witnesses (COE 23 June 2007, Para. 47).
Despite the existence of the witness protection law, Freedom House states that "there are no effective legal protections for witnesses" (Freedom House 2007). This statement was corroborated by the Executive Director of Transparency Azerbaijan, a regional chapter of the international non-governmental anti-corruption agency Transparency International (TI), who stated in correspondence with the Research Directorate that "there is no legislative basis in Azerbaijan to ensure witness protection in the criminal investigation and trial process" (Transparency Azerbaijan 6 Feb. 2007). A 2002 report by the Council of Europe (COE) states that the small geographical size of Azerbaijan prevents the law intended to protect witnesses from being more effective (COE 25 Sept. 2002).
Further information on protection available to witnesses fearing organized criminal gang members could not be found by the Research Directorate within the time constraint of this Response.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Azerbaijan. 11 December 1998 (last amended 5 March 2004). Law of the Azerbaijan Republic On State Protection of Persons Participating in Criminal Proceedings.
_____. 14 July 2000. Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Council of Europe (COE). 23 June 2006. Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO). "Evaluation Report on Azerbaijan."
_____. 25 September 2002. Multidisciplinary Group on International Action Against Terrorism (GMT). "Developments at National Level – Azerbaijan."
Freedom House. 2007. "Azerbaijan." Nations in Transit 2007.
Transparency Azerbaijan. 6 February 2007. Correspondence from the Executive Director.
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Baku Sun, Eurasianet, Global Integrity, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Stop Violence Against Women, Transparency International (TI), United Nations (UN) Azerbaijan, UN Development Programme (UNDP), United States (US) Department of State, World Bank.