Press release - 866(2010)
Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Azerbaijan
Strasbourg, 18.11.2010 - The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Azerbaijan, which concludes that there are major shortcomings concerning the legislation on corruption and transparency in party funding.
Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [theme I], the country’s legal framework contains several important deficiencies in relation to the requirements established under the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. For example, the concept of “official” used by the relevant bribery provisions does not cover all civil servants and public employees. The offer and the promise of a bribe as well as the acceptance of an offer or a promise do not constitute completed crimes.
Moreover, bribery of foreign and international officials, domestic and foreign jurors and arbitrators as well as bribery in the private sector and trading in influence are not fully addressed by the country’s legislation. GRECO regrets that Azerbaijan is one of the member States to have entered nearly the maximum number of reservations allowed under the Convention. It furthermore calls upon Azerbaijan to become a Party to the Additional Protocol to the Convention. Above all, Azerbaijan should be more proactive in detecting, investigating and prosecuting corruption cases.
Concerning transparency of party funding [theme II], GRECO stresses that the transparency standards established by Recommendation Rec(2003)4 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Common Rules against Corruption in the Funding of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns are difficult to apply to a country which lacks a truly pluralistic party landscape, where most political parties are not active between elections and no political party except for the ruling party has significant resources.
Against this background, GRECO focuses on a limited number of major shortcomings, in particular, the insufficient transparency provisions in the Law on Political Parties, the lack of supervision over party accounts, the insufficient monitoring of election campaign funding as well as the fragmentary regime of sanctions available in this area. It must be ensured that political parties in Azerbaijan are provided with adequate support to comply with further transparency requirements. GRECO also welcomes the idea of introducing state aid for the regular financing of political parties that is currently being discussed.
The report addresses 17 recommendations to Azerbaijan. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in the first half of 2012 through its specific compliance procedure.
GRECO was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor states’ compliance with the organisation’s anti-corruption standards. Currently it comprises all 47 member states and the United States of America.
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