CM(2009)180 4 December 20091
1073 Meeting, 9 December 2009
2 Democracy and political questions
2.5 Monitoring Group (GT-SUIVI.AGO) –
Report on a visit by a delegation from the Ago Group to Armenia and Azerbaijan
(20-25 November 2009)
1. A delegation of the Ago Group visited Armenia on 20 and 21 November 2009 and Azerbaijan from 23 to 25 November 2009 (see detailed visit programme appended hereto) to take stock of the progress made by these two countries in honouring their commitments to the Council of Europe and to consider how the Organisation might enhance its assistance to honour the outstanding commitments.
2. The delegation comprised, in addition to its Chair, Ambassador Stelian STOIAN (Romania), Ambassadors Thomas HAJNOCZI (Austria), Zurab TCHIABERASHVILI (Georgia) and Alexander ALEKSEEV (Russian Federation). In both countries, the delegation met with representatives of the government and parliament, the main opposition parties, the media, NGOs and the local diplomatic community. In Azerbaijan, the delegation also met with two detained journalists and two detained representatives of youth movements.
3. This report summarises the main points discussed with the different interlocutors and the delegation’s conclusions and recommendations following those discussions.
4. The delegation takes this opportunity to thank the authorities of Armenia and Azerbaijan for the spirit of co-operation and dialogue shown throughout the visit and their support for its organisation.
a) Measures taken following the events of March 2008
5. The delegation’s review of Armenia’s progress in honouring its commitments focused on the measures taken by the Armenian authorities in response to the events of March 2008, in connection with which the Ago Group had made recommendations2 following a visit undertaken a few weeks after these events. The delegation welcomed the fact that, in line with these recommendations, an amnesty had been declared in June 2009 which had led to the release of most of those arrested after the events of March 2008. At the same time, representatives of the opposition drew the delegation’s attention to the fate of certain individuals3 who were not included in this amnesty and are still being detained.
6. Regarding the circumstances of the death of the ten people killed during the events of March 2008, which had still not been fully elucidated at the time of the visit, the delegation stressed the need to conduct with due diligence a thorough and transparent investigation in order to establish the truth and ensure that justice prevailed, in the interest of the families and, beyond, for the reconciliation of Armenian society. It held an in-depth discussion with the Armenian Prosecutor General, who gave a detailed account of the investigation conducted. According to the Prosecutor General, establishing the circumstances in which the ten people had died is very difficult, although the investigation had shown that four police officers had not complied with the rules for use of their weapons in the events of March 2008, as a result of which charges had been brought against them.
7. In addition to the criminal investigation, the delegation focused on the inquiry undertaken by the Armenian National Assembly to establish the causes and circumstances of these events. The delegation was unable to see the report submitted in September 2009 by the ad hoc parliamentary committee of inquiry set up for this purpose, the translation of the report having been in the process of completion at the time of its visit. However, it obtained a certain amount of information from the Chair of the parliamentary committee of inquiry, particularly on the conclusions of the report, which pointed to the need to amend certain laws which had shown shortcomings or deficiencies before and during the events of March 2008 : amendment to the Electoral Code to improve the transparency and fairness of ballots and to restore public confidence in the electoral process, to the Code of Criminal Procedure to avoid systematic use of preventive detention and its repeated renewal, to the legislation and normative acts on the police to clarify the rules on the conduct of security operations and allow police officers to be identified at demonstrations, to the law on rallies and to the legislation against corruption to increase its effectiveness. He also highlighted a number of practical measures to be taken as a follow-up to these legislative changes, for example regarding training for the police in maintaining law and order and the provision of appropriate equipment for this mission.
8. The delegation drew attention to the fact that the Council of Europe possesses expertise in several of the previously mentioned fields and could therefore provide very useful assistance if the Armenian authorities wished to enlist its help. It urged the different stakeholders to act upon the conclusions of the report by the parliamentary committee of inquiry via a transparent and inclusive process allowing the participation of all political forces, including the extra-parliamentary opposition, and civil society. The normalisation of political relations and the rebuilding of public confidence would emerge strengthened from this.
9. In addition to the measures taken following the events of March 2008, the delegation focused on several specific fields forming part of the commitments accepted by Armenia upon its accession to the Council of Europe.
b) Electoral legislation and practice
10. A large number of the delegation’s interlocutors, both official and unofficial, emphasised the need to revise the country’s electoral legislation in order to increase the transparency and fairness of future elections. The delegation welcomed the fact that a series of recommendations to this effect by a working group of the Armenian National Assembly had been referred to the Venice Commission for an opinion. It expressed the hope that the Venice Commission’s conclusions and recommendations would be taken duly into account and that the revision of electoral legislation would be the subject of a transparent and inclusive process involving all political forces and civil society, in order to ensure public confidence in future elections. Above and beyond any legislative measures which might be taken, the delegation stressed that the holding of free and fair elections would depend ultimately on effective and good-faith implementation of the electoral rules, which presupposes in particular an effort to train those responsible for administering elections.
c) Reform of the court and prison system
11. The delegation heard a number of complaints from representatives of civil society and the political community, as well as criticisms from the human rights ombudsman, about the continuing lack of independence of the judiciary and the insufficient qualifications of judges, as well as regarding corruption in judicial circles and the prison administration. The persistent domination of the judicial sector by the public prosecutor’s department, despite reforms designed to limit its powers, particularly with regard to investigations, was also mentioned. In support of this, some interlocutors stressed that, in a very large number of cases, the courts systematically imposed the sentence requested by the prosecutor, particularly when imprisonment was requested, and pointed out the very small number of acquittals.
12. As far as the prison system is concerned, overcrowding still seems to be a very serious problem, especially in view of the propensity of judges to make use of preventive detention and the reluctance of the commissions responsible for considering requests for early release – which are dominated by the representatives of the prosecution and law enforcement services, and whose decisions are not open to appeal – to grant those requests. The delegation also heard allegations of ill-treatment and torture in prisons and detention centres, which seemed to go unpunished.
13. In the face of these problems, the delegation welcomed the determination shown by the Armenian Minister of Justice to improve the functioning of the judicial and prison system and ensure better protection of human rights, from the preliminary investigation to the imprisonment stage. The many legislative and other reforms already introduced or in progress attest to this, such as the measures to step up the fight against corruption (particularly by increasing judges’ salaries), promote the openness and public nature of judicial proceedings and enhance the status and powers of the Council of Justice. The delegation encouraged these efforts while prompting the Armenian authorities to make use of the Council of Europe’s expertise, particularly in connection with the drafting, currently in progress, of a new draft law on advocates, and to follow its recommendations, for example regarding improvements to be made to the draft law establishing an “Academy of Justice”. Furthermore, the delegation stressed the need to ensure effective implementation of the above-mentioned reforms.
14. Regarding prison overcrowding, the delegation noted with interest the ideas for changing the membership and powers of the commissions responsible for considering requests for early release, so that the decision would no longer lie with these bodies, whose role would be purely consultative, but with the courts. The setting-up of a system of alternatives to imprisonment and the establishment of a probation service were encouraged.
15. Lastly, the need to secure the execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and to implement its case law in domestic law and practice were mentioned. The delegation noted with interest the preparation of a draft law on the re-opening of domestic court proceedings in the event of a European Court judgment finding a breach of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.
d) Reform of the police
16. Beyond the specific context of the events of March 2008 (see paragraph 7 above), the meetings which the delegation held with the representatives of the public authorities and of civil society revealed a broad consensus on the need to reform the police in order to enable it to deal more effectively with protests, through more controlled use of the means at its disposal for maintaining order. Particular attention should be given to training police officers. Emphasis was placed on the need to take firm action against ill-treatment on police premises by conducting rigorous investigations into allegations of ill-treatment and punishing the perpetrators of any proven incidents of violence.
17. There was also criticism of the law on intelligence activities, which, according to some interlocutors, allowed the police and security forces to intercept communications easily, owing to mandates which the courts very readily issue. On this subject, the Minister of Justice pointed out that such mandates could only be issued in very specific cases, limited in number by the law, and that it was possible to lodge an appeal against such decisions within 24 hours. With a view to preserving the certainty of law and protecting individual rights, it would be useful if the law was submitted to the Council of Europe for opinion.
e) Freedom of religion
18. The delegation heard complaints concerning breaches of or attempts to restrict freedom of religion. Some NGO representatives also hinted that the situation in this field was deteriorating, particularly as regards discrimination against school children and students on grounds of religion. There were also fears concerning amendments to the law on religious organisations, which the National Assembly of Armenia had adopted in the first reading while the delegation was visiting the country. During its meetings with the relevant authorities, the delegation drew attention to the Venice Commission’s comments concerning these draft amendments and expressed the hope that they would be taken into account. The delegation asked that the text that was to be adopted at the final reading be forwarded to the Council of Europe for opinion. Finally, the question of the revision of the law on an alternative civil service for those who did not wish to do military service remained pending.
f) Freedom of the media
19. Although the diversity of means of communication and sources of information available in the country is recognised, some NGOs and the opposition political parties continued to make a critical evaluation of freedom of expression and of the media. According to some interlocutors, the independence of the media still appears to be fragile not only because of the difficult economic context but also because of temptations to control the media for political reasons. The discussions taking place in Armenia on arrangements for introducing digital broadcasting, which should increase the number of channels available for radio and television services, is raising questions and fears concerning the risks of restrictions to freedom and pluralism of the electronic media. Some cases of attacks on journalists over the last few months were also mentioned.
20. The delegation took note of these concerns and pointed out that the Council of Europe could offer its expertise and assistance in a field which is crucial for democracy. In this connection, it welcomed the revision of the law on radio and television, carried out in spring 2009 with the help of the Council of Europe, which was aimed at establishing greater independence of the bodies regulating the electronic media, while recalling the three recommendations for further improvements made by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Resolution 1677 (2009). It also expressed the hope that the Council of Europe’s expert assistance in clarifying the capacity available in terms of frequencies for the exploitation of digital broadcasting services would also help to clarify the question of whether or not it was appropriate for the Armenian authorities to freeze the granting of broadcasting licences.
21. Finally, the delegation discussed with the relevant authorities the Council of Europe’s expert appraisal of the draft amendments to the Armenian Civil Code on the protection of honour. It expressed the hope that these comments would be taken into account and requested to be kept informed of the action taken in response.
* * *
22. In all of the above-mentioned fields, where sometimes substantial structural reforms still need to be carried out, the delegation pointed out that the Council of Europe could provide assistance in the efforts undertaken or planned by the Armenian authorities. In this respect, the programming document for co-operation with Armenia in 2009-20104, recently adopted by the Committee of Ministers, offers perspectives that should be fully exploited. Special attention should be given over the next few months to the implementation of the activities set out in this document and to their results so as to be able to provide the best possible response to expectations and needs in Armenia. With this in mind, and under the auspices of the Committee of Ministers, stock should regularly be taken of the situation, including the prospects of funding for projects for which budgetary provisions have not been made, to ensure that the necessary funding is found to carry them out.
23. In its review of Azerbaijan’s progress in honouring its commitments, the delegation focused in particular on i) electoral law and practice, in view of the municipal elections in December 2009 and the parliamentary elections in November 2010, ii) freedom of expression and media freedom, iii) freedom of religion, iv) the functioning of the judicial and prison system, v) the operation of the police, vi) the follow-up to the constitutional reform of March 2009 and vii) local authorities.
a) Electoral law and practice
24. Regarding the municipal elections scheduled for 23 December 2009, the delegation stressed the importance that the ballot and the campaign preceding it should be conducted freely and fairly. It welcomed the invitation from the Azerbaijan authorities to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to observe the elections. It heard complaints from opposition party representatives about obstacles to the holding of election campaign meetings in the regions. These representatives also complained that the local electoral commissions had refused to register many of the candidates they had put forward, the proportion of rejected candidatures being apparently as high as 90% for some parties. They also referred to pressure on candidates to withdraw their candidatures. The authorities denied this. According to them, the opposition parties had not found enough candidates. They therefore registered people who were not in fact members of those parties. These people then asked for their names to be removed from the lists of candidates. Other candidatures had allegedly been refused because the persons concerned do not live in the municipalities where they had themselves registered. Particular attention will need to be paid to the conclusions of the Congress observation mission.
25. Regarding the parliamentary elections of November 2010, the delegation informed the Azerbaijan authorities that an action plan to support the preparation of the elections was under preparation by the Council of Europe. Any suggestions which the authorities would like to make regarding assistance by the Council of Europe would be welcome. In this connection, the delegation reiterated the recommendations made by the Venice Commission and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE concerning the changes to be made to the Electoral Code, particularly as regards the membership of electoral commissions. It asked what measures were planned to ensure updating of the electoral rolls and prevent fraud. The suggestion was made to revise the law on political parties, in particular regarding their financing with the support of the Venice Commission. Finally, representatives of opposition parties criticised the fact that cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights concerning possible irregularities in the course of the parliamentary elections in 2005 had not yet been decided.
b) Freedom of expression and media freedom
26. The delegation once again heard complaints about the lack of freedom and independence of the media, whose audiences seem to be decreasing significantly in favour of foreign media and Internet news services. It reiterated the call to decriminalise defamation, in line with the trend observed at international level and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It noted with satisfaction the spirit of openness shown by the President of Azerbaijan in this regard. Pending a revision of the legislation, the delegation underlined to the President the desirability of reiterating the call to the public authorities to refrain from bringing defamation cases against journalists. Furthermore, at its meeting with the President of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan, it pointed to the harshness of the criminal sanctions imposed by the courts in defamation cases and suggested that an initiative be taken by the Court to ensure that the penalties imposed are proportionate to the offences found.
27. In response to the argument that criminal sanctions in defamation cases would be necessary for as long as the community of journalists had not adopted a code of ethics guaranteeing the professionalism of its members, the delegation pointed out that, at the initiative of the Ago Group, a programme had been launched in Azerbaijan in 2008, with the assistance of the BBC, to improve the professionalism of journalists. The delegation indicated that the Council of Europe would be ready to consider any other proposals which might be submitted to it for the same purpose.
28. With regard to media legislation, the delegation regretted that no action had yet been taken on the expert appraisal of the broadcasting law and of the decree of the President of Azerbaijan approving the rules of procedure of the National Broadcasting Council, which had been submitted to the Azerbaijan authorities in June 2007. A revision of these texts would be necessary to guarantee the independence of the electronic media and of their regulatory body, the National Broadcasting Council. In this connection, the delegation was surprised to learn that two members of this Council were also members of parliament, which does not contribute to its independence. The delegation also received complaints from representatives of political parties and media organisations about the partiality of the news broadcasts and current affairs programmes on state television and public television, to which prominent opposition political leaders allegedly did not have access. The delegation reiterated the need to ensure pluralism and impartiality of news programmes, particularly in the public media, especially in the run-up to the next elections.
29. Lastly, the delegation discussed the matter of the journalists still detained in Azerbaijan. It extends its thanks to the Azerbaijan authorities for having allowed it to meet two of these journalists (Mr Eynulla Fatullayev and Mr Ganimat Zahidov) as well as two representatives of youth organisations (Mr Emin Abdullayev and Mr Adnan Hajizade) at their places of detention. As it mentioned during its meetings with the highest authorities, it hopes that a positive outcome to these cases will quickly be found.
c) Freedom of religion
30. The delegation heard some complaints from representatives of NGOs about restrictions which were allegedly placed on the functioning of religious organisations. At its meeting with the Minister of the Interior, it echoed the complaints received from the Jehovah’s Witnesses about the difficulties which they allegedly experienced in organising meetings in some regions, to which the Minister replied that the police only intervened in places where they were not legally registered.
d) Functioning of the judicial and prison system
31. A number of representatives of civil society and political circles complained again about the lack of independence of the judiciary and the lack of qualifications of judges, including at the highest levels of jurisdiction, and about corruption in judicial circles. During his meeting with the delegation, the Minister of Justice outlined various initiatives designed to address these problems, in particular the setting-up of an Academy of Justice to train judges, prosecutors and lawyers, and sanctions imposed on judges found guilty of corruption. The persistent domination of the judicial sector by the public prosecutor’s department, despite the reforms introduced to limit its powers, particularly with regard to investigations, was also mentioned. In support of this, some interlocutors stressed the propensity of the courts to impose systematically the penalties requested by the prosecutor, and the small number of acquittals. The President of the Supreme Court underscored that this was not the case in the institution which he leads and that the issue would be followed in the whole judicial system.
32. The delegation once again heard criticisms about the insufficient number of lawyers and the obstacles faced by lawyers in becoming members of the Bar, due to the hostility shown by the President and the Presidium of this institution. In this connection, the delegation was informed that an attempt to set up an association of independent lawyers had failed following a refusal to register it. The issue of the difficulties encountered by part of the population of Azerbaijan in having access to a lawyer was also raised by NGO representatives, legal aid being apparently insufficient to enlist the services of qualified lawyers.
33. Regarding the prison system, efforts by the authorities to improve the situation, in particular through major investments in infrastructure, were visible. At the same time, the delegation heard allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners, some of whom had reportedly died. At its meeting with the Minister of Justice, the delegation mentioned these allegations and referred to the specific case of the death in prison during the summer of a representative of the Talysh community, Mr Novruzali Mammedov. In this connection it raised the issue of access for prisoners to medical care and appropriate medical expertise, which, according to NGOs, encountered serious problems. It received assurances from the Minister of Justice that particular attention is paid to the treatment of prisoners, in particular via the reports received following the visits made to places of detention by a committee comprising representatives of NGOs and by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Minister also pointed to some measures taken to address prison overcrowding, which was witnessed by a delegation when visiting a detention facility, via the introduction of a system of probation and alternatives to imprisonment, and to facilitate the social re-integration of prisoners once they have served their sentences. In this connection, the delegation welcomed the decision by the Azerbaijan authorities to authorise the publication of the report of the last visit to Azerbaijan by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).
34. Lastly, the delegation held talks with representatives of NGOs and of the public authorities responsible for executing the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning Azerbaijan. In this context, it received complaints about the lack of follow-up action on these judgments, apart from the payment of just satisfaction to persons found by the European Court of Human Rights to have suffered a violation of their rights. On this subject, the Minister of Justice and the President of the Supreme Court stressed the efforts made not only to execute the Court’s judgments but also to improve knowledge of its case law in the country’s courts.
e) Functioning of the police
35. The delegation heard about allegations of acts of violence and torture committed by police officers when arresting people and questioning them. The Minister of the Interior seemed to be aware of the situation and mentioned various measures: promotion of human rights training for police officers, sanctions5 against police officers for failure to respect the rights of individuals, including exclusion from the police force in the most serious cases, and access for NGOs and the Ombudsman to places of detention coming under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior.
f) Follow-up to the constitutional reform of March 2009
36. During its meetings with the competent authorities, the delegation welcomed the decision by the Azerbaijan authorities to ask the Venice Commission to conduct an expert appraisal of three draft laws6 drawn up to implement the constitutional reform of March 2009. It expressed the hope that the Venice Commission’s opinions would be duly taken into account and asked to be kept informed of developments.
g) Promotion of local self-government
37. During its meetings with the authorities, including at the highest level, the delegation mentioned measures that could be taken to promote local self-government in Azerbaijan, in line with the European Charter of Local Self-Government, to which this country is a party. In this connection, it referred to the recent visit to Azerbaijan by the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. The authorities indicated that they were open to co-operation with the Council of Europe in this field, while noting the population’s lack of trust with regard to local authorities, which was due in particular to the fact that these authorities lacked the skills needed for efficient management of public services.
h) Presumed political prisoners
38. On this sensitive issue, the Azerbaijan authorities assured the delegation of their willingness to co-operate fully with the Council of Europe to find a solution. In this context, they stressed that the first step should be to define precisely what is meant by political prisoner.
i) Other issues
39. The delegation reiterated its previous appeals to the Azerbaijani authorities to speed-up the implementation of the commitments regarding the ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the enactment of laws on minorities and on an alternative civil service. On the other hand, the delegation was assured that measures were soon to be taken regarding the nomination of a new Ombudsman, following the expiry of the mandate of the previous Ombudsperson in July 2009.
40. In all of the above-mentioned fields, where sometimes substantial structural reforms still need to be carried out, the delegation pointed out that the Council of Europe could provide assistance in the efforts undertaken or planned by the Azerbaijani authorities. In this respect, the programming document for co-operation with Azerbaijan in 2009-20107, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 1 July 2009, offers perspectives that should be fully exploited. Special attention should be given over the next few months to the implementation of the activities set out in this document and to their results so as to be able to provide the best possible response to expectations and needs in Azerbaijan. With this in mind, and under the auspices of the Committee of Ministers, stock should regularly be taken of the situation, including the prospects of funding for projects for which budgetary provisions have not been made, to ensure that the necessary funding is found to carry them out.
III. NAGORNO-KARABAKH CONFLICT
41. Discussions with the highest authorities in the country during the visit focused on the negotiations being conducted under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The delegation welcomed the fact that progress seemed to be being made in this area thanks to the successive meetings between the Presidents of the two countries, the latest of which had taken place in Munich at the time of the visit of the delegation, although some issues are still pending. As has always been pointed out, it is in the interests of both sides to bring this conflict to an end as quickly as possible, while renouncing the use of force, as they promised to do so on joining the Council of Europe.
42. Although the Council of Europe has no competence to be involved in conflict settlement, its expertise and other resources can be useful in creating the right conditions for agreement, and in particular in promoting dialogue and preparing the population to accept the compromises which they will inevitably be obliged to make. The successive meetings between the representatives of civil society in Armenia and Azerbaijan through the Schools of Political Studies of Baku and Yerevan illustrate the contribution the Council of Europe can make.
43. The delegation’s visit shows that although progress has been made in both countries over the past year, despite the uncertain regional context and a difficult economic environment, important structural reforms still need to be carried out in several important sectors such as elections, the functioning of the courts, the police and the prison system, freedom of expression and the media, freedom of religion and the promotion of local self-government with a view to ensuring full compliance with the commitments undertaken by both countries. The constructive approach taken by the authorities of both countries to continue and even intensify co-operation with the Council of Europe to meet these challenges is to be welcomed and should be supported by the Organisation.
44. If this co-operation is to be fully productive, it is essential that, on the basis of the programming documents for Armenia and Azerbaijan adopted by the Committee of Ministers this year, there is sustained action in these two countries to complete the necessary reforms. It is also important to ensure that the competent public institutions of the two countries receive continuous assistance and expertise to prepare and implement these reforms. Such an approach cannot be supported with the current Council of Europe field presence in the two countries and requires more regular dialogue with experts from the headquarters. In this context, the possibility to strengthen the Council of Europe offices in Yerevan and Baku through transferring additional experts from Strasbourg who could contribute to intensifying interaction with different public institutions in the two countries should be looked into. At the same time, all the partners working in the field should be consulted and the action should be properly co-ordinated with the initiatives taken by other international organisations or bilateral donors.
45. The Committee of Ministers should take regular stock of the progress made in this co-operation and in the planned reforms.
MISSION OF THE GT-SUIVI.AGO
TO YEREVAN AND BAKU
(20-25 November 2009)
Friday, 20 November 2009
8.30 – 9.25 Presentation of the situation in Armenia by two personalities
9.30 - 10.10 Meeting with representatives of the NGOs
10.15 – 11.00 Meeting with representatives of the media
11.15 – 12.15 Meeting with Mr Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Leader of the Armenian National Congress
12.30 - 13.00 Meeting with Mr Edward Nalbandyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia
13.05 - 14.30 Lunch hosted by Mr. Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia
15.00 - 15.45 Meeting with Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, Chairman of the National Assembly
16.00 - 16.45 Meeting with Mr. Gevorg Danielyan, Minister of Justice
17.00 - 18.00 Meeting with Mr Aghvan Hovsepyan, Prosecutor General of Armenia
18.00 – 19.00 Meeting with Mr Armen Harutyunyan, Ombudsman of Armenia
20.00 Dinner hosted by H.E. Mrs Crina Prunariu, Ambassador of Romania to Armenia
Saturday, 21 November 2009
09.30 - 11.00 Meeting with all the political fractions of the National Assembly
11.00 - 11.40 Meeting with Mr. Armen Rustamyan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the National Assembly and
Ms. Naira Zohrabyan, Chair of the Standing Committee on European Integration of the National Assembly
11.45 - 12.30 Meeting with Mr. Samvel Nikoyan, Chairman of the National Assembly Ad-hoc Committee on the investigation of March 1-2 events in Yerevan and their reasons
15.00 - 16.00 Debriefing for the Ambassadors of Council of Europe member States in Armenia
19.30 Dinner hosted by Mr. Zohrab Mnatsakanian, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the Council of Europe
Monday, 23 November 2009
12.00 Arrival in Baku
15.00 – 18.00 Visits to two journalists in prison (Mr Eynulla FATULLAYEV and Mr Ganimat ZAHIDOV)
20.00 – 22.00 Working dinner: presentation of the situation in Azerbaijan by three personalities
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
09.00–10.20 Meeting with political party leaders
10.30 – 11.50 Meeting with representatives of NGOs
12.00 – 13.20 Meeting with representatives of the media
13.30 – 15.00 Lunch with members of the diplomatic community hosted by H.E. Mr. Nikolay Ureche,
Ambassador of Romania to Azerbaijan
15.30 – 16.30 Meeting with Mr. Mazahin Panahov, Chairman of the Central Election Commission
16.45 – 17.30 Meeting with Mr. Ramil Usubov, Minister of Internal Affairs
17.45 – 18.45 Meeting with Mr. Ramiz Rzayev, President of the Supreme Court
19.00 Dinner hosted by the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
09.30 – 10.30 Visit to Mr Emin Abdullayev and Mr Adnan Hajizade at Baku pre-trial detention centre
11.00 – 11.50 Meeting with Mr Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
12.00 – 12.50 Meeting with Mr Ramiz Mehdiyev, Head of the Presidential Administration
14.30 – 15.30 Meeting with Mr Fikrat Mammadov, Minister of Justice
15.45 – 16.45 Meeting with Mr Ogtay Asadov, Speaker of Parliament
17.00 – 18.00 Meeting with Mr Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.
Note 2 See document CM(2008)58.
Note 3 It was impossible to establish the exact number involved, some interlocutors having quoted the figure of 15, while others mentioned 17. Written clarifications on this matter were requested from the persons who raised this issue. These clarifications are still expected.
Note 4 See document DSP(2009)6 rev 2 and corrigendum.
Note 5 According to data provided by the Minister of the Interior, during the period from April 2007 to 2009, 543 people have been sanctioned, of which 15 have been tried, 82 dismissed from the Ministry, 65 relieved from their position, 5 downgraded and 376 subjected to other disciplinary measures.
Note 6 These are draft amendments to the law on the status of the municipalities, a draft law on « obtaining information on the activities of the courts » and a draft law on normative legal acts.
Note 7 See document DSP(2009)7rev.