Azerbaijan receives Council of Europe award for judiciary reforms [PHOTO]
By Sabina Mammadli
Azerbaijan's judiciary reforms have received international recognition, including the Council of Europe's "Crystal Scales of Justice" award, Justice Minister Fikrat Mammadov has said.
Mammadov made the remarks at the presentation of the Europe Action Plan for Azerbaijan 2022-2025.
“The system used in Azerbaijan plays an important role in improving the activities of courts and increasing transparency. Our reforms in this area have received international recognition and were marked with the Council of Europe's (CoE) 'Crystal Scales of Justice' award,” Mammadov said.
He stated that Azerbaijan’s judiciary personnel had been renewed by 75 percent as a result of the transparent selection process of judges, which is assessed as exemplary by CoE and the EU.
The minister stressed that modernization of judicial infrastructure and the creation of high-tech courts have always been at the center of attention. He added that with the support of the World Bank, 35 new court buildings and complexes were commissioned in the capital and regions of Azerbaijan.
According to the minister, 11 court buildings were commissioned and provided with the electronic court system last year.
Penitentiary system reforms
Speaking at the event, the minister added that reforms of the penitentiary system of Azerbaijan are among the key issues.
He noted that new institutions for juveniles and women prisoners, who are a vulnerable group in our society, have been recently commissioned.
“Azerbaijan constantly demonstrates commitment to the ideas of humanism. So, over the past period, the president of Azerbaijan pardoned nearly 6,000 people,” he further said.
The act of amnesty, announced in connection with the Victory Day in the 2020 second Karabakh war - November 8, became the most extensive in its scope and affected more than 17,000 people, Mammadov added.
“At the same time, thanks to close cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, progress has been made in the fight against tuberculosis in the penitentiary system," he said.
Council of Europe Action Plan
During the same event, Council of Europe Secretary-General Marija Pejčinović Burić has presented Europe Action Plan for Azerbaijan 2022-2025.
The Action Plan is intended to support the country’s efforts to honor its commitments as a Council of Europe member state; it serves to bring the legislation into line with European and international standards, enhance institutional capacities, introduce best practices, and, ultimately, to improve living standards for the citizens of Azerbaijan.
The Action Plan takes into account earlier decisions and recommendations of the Council of Europe’s statutory organs and monitoring bodies, as well as the national reform agenda. The overall budget for this Action Plan is €9.6 million.
It should be noted that the Action Plan for Azerbaijan 2022-2025 was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 February 2022. It is a strategic programming instrument that aims to bring Azerbaijan’s legislation, institutions and practice further in line with Council of Europe standards in the areas of human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
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