Responses of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan on the questionnaire for the Opinion No.11 of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE)
1. Does the prosecution service in your country work strategically with ensuring quality in the work of prosecutors? If yes, how is that done?
In Azerbaijan, improvement of the activities of the prosecution authorities, ensuring the quality of the work of prosecutors are carried out in accordance with relevant state documents defining the prospects for the country's development. Thus, numerous activities carried out in connection with the execution of the "State Program on improvement of activity of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2009-2011" approved by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated September 27, 2008:
· has increased the role of prosecutors in the development of the legal system and the civil society;
· facilitated the widespread use of modern scientific and technological achievements in the work of the prosecutor's office, and in creation of a centralized information and communication system;
· improved the professional level of ensuring the protection of the public prosecution;
· strengthened social protection and improved logistics of employees of the prosecutor's office; and
· upgraded the quality of activities of the prosecution authorities to a new level, which meets modern requirements and the highest international standards.
Under the Presidential Decree No.800 dated December 29, 2012 the Concept of Development "Azerbaijan 2020: future vision" was approved. The main strategic goal of the Concept considering existing capabilities and resources is to provide in Azerbaijan sutainable economic growth and high social welfare, good governance and the rule of law, ensuring human rights and freedoms, as well as to achieve the level of development characterized by an active civil society status in the social life of the country. This Concept, which encompasses a major strategic development policy in public institutions, including the Prosecutor's Office, is of special significance in determining the directions of improvement of work of the prosecution bodies. In line with the strategic objectives of the development policy established under the Concept of Development the following has been ensured:
§ implementation of measures to ensure compliance of prosecutors’ activity to modern requirements;
§ guiding by the principles of transparency and clarity in their activities;
§ strengthening measures to combat corruption;
§ ensuring the application of information and communication technologies,
§ implementation of secure exchange of information with the relevant state bodies based on a unified infrastructure,
§ expanding the competence of the population to contact the prosecutor's office using electronic means.
While ensuring the quality of prosecutors’ activity, prosecutor's offices in accordance with the principles of the rule of law implemented in the country, are guided by a strategy aimed at:
Ø preserving and enforcement of the rule of law;
Ø strengthening the fight against crime;
Ø effective protection of human rights and freedoms;
Ø timely implementation of the necessary measures to prevent violations of human rights and freedoms; and
Ø restoration of violated rights and freedoms.
This strategy in accordance with the Constitution and other laws of the country is carried out in the following way:
ü through initiation of criminal cases and investigation by prosecutors;
ü taking charge of procedural aspects of the investigation and compliance with laws;
ü supervision over the execution and enforcement of laws in inquiry and operational-search activity;
ü bringing an action before the courts;
ü participation as a plaintiff in civil and economic proceedings;
ü participation as a party in the criminal proceedings before the courts and protection of public prosecution;
ü bringing a protest against court decisions;
ü facilitating the achievement of the purposes of punishment appointed by the courts.
Ensuring the quality of work of prosecutors is enshrined in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Prosecutor's Office". Thus, the Law, under which the basic principles of activity of the prosecutor's office are determined, has laid the foundation for the qualitative work. These principles are:
- equality before the law;
- respect and observance of the rights and freedoms of natural persons and legal entities;
- objectivity, impartiality and the basis on facts;
- unity and centralization;
- subordination of territorial and specialized prosecutors to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan; and
- the political neutrality.
In addition, the above-mentioned law covers the system of the prosecutor's office, its organization and scope of activities.
2. Which criteria are considered crucial in your country for securing the highest quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors: their independence, impartiality, human and material resources, conditions of work etc.? Please, briefly describe.
High quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors along with the criteria of equality before the law, observance and respect of the rights and freedoms of natural persons and legal entities, objectivity, impartiality and basis on the facts, unity and centralization, subordination of territorial and specialized prosecutors to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the political neutrality is ensured though inadmissibility of impact, threats, unlawful interference, disrespect, and either direct or indirect restrictions by any person to the legitimate activities of prosecutors, as well as through financing the prosecutor’s offices, implementation of capital repairs and other maintenance issues out of the state budget.
At the same time in connection with this issue the appropriate legal framework has been created, and activities for employment on the basis of the principles of transparency and training of young and professional staff are carried out. Prosecutors in their activities are guided only by the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan and international agreements, which the state is a party to. High material support, stipulated in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Service in the Prosecutor's Office", is worth to be noted as the warranty of the independence of prosecutors,
In order to ensure high quality and efficiency in the work of prosecutors, along with the appropriate measures comprehensive warranties are provided. Particular attention is given to criteria such as independence, impartiality, human resource development, economic security and working conditions, which play a significant role in ensuring high quality and efficiency in the activities of prosecutors.
According to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Prosecutor's Office" dated December 7, 1999, prosecution authorities act as a new public institution, which serves to ensuring human rights and freedoms. Prosecution authorities guided by the rule of law, political neutrality, objectivity, impartiality, basis on facts and other democratic principles, embrace properties inherent of such bodies in developed countries, as well as meet the contemporary high international standards. Today, as a result of modern reforms carried out at the state level, Prosecutor's Office of Azerbaijan has turned into a civilian public institution, having the advanced legal framework, and operating on the basis of democratic principles and practices. Prosecution authorities in their activities are guided by the principles of equality of rights before the law, observance and respect of the rights and freedoms of natural persons and legal entities, objectivity, impartiality and bases on the facts, unity and centralization, subordination of territorial and specialized prosecutors to the Prosecutor General of the Republic Azerbaijan, and the political neutrality.
3. Are there any indicators, formal or informal, used in your country in order to assess the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors, for example, the number of cases considered, the length of the consideration, the complexity of the cases considered, etc.? Please, briefly describe.
With the purpose of assessing the activity of prosecutors the following official indicators are used: work done in the field of performing their duties assigned by the law, including the number and reasonableness of the criminal cases, compliance with the terms of the preliminary investigation, the number of cases referred to the courts with the indictment, presence of acquitted persons among those brought to justice, ensuring the rights of participants in a criminal case during the investigation, as well as ensuring the rights of defense, measures undertaken to redress infringed rights and reimburse material damages, etc.
4. Is there a formal or informal procedure for evaluation of the work of prosecutors, how often it is evaluated, by whom, and with what consequences? Do the prosecutors have the right to raise formal or informal objections to the results of the evaluation and to its consequences?
There is a relevant formal procedure for evaluation of the work of prosecutors. Evaluation is carried out by a senior prosecutor at the beginning of the next year, considering the activities carried out during the year, in accordance with the "Rules for evaluation of activity of prosecutors" approved by the relevant order of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Prosecutors for the protection of their rights and freedoms are entitled to appeal to the court, and have the right to a formal protest against the results of the evaluation as well.
Heads of structural divisions of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Director of the Anti-Corruption General Directorate with the Prosecutor General, Military Prosecutor of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Prosecutor of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Military Prosecutor of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Baku city Prosecutor, district (city) and territorial military prosecutors carry out evaluation of the work of the relevant prosecutors. In accordance with these rules, the assessed employees may officially report about their opinions in connection with the evaluation (its results).
According to article 2.3 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On public service", citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan have right to be admitted to the public service through transparent competition, based on evaluation of public servants, as well as other principles. Public service of employees of prosecution authorities is regulated by other laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Service in these bodies is a special kind of public service. This provision is also envisaged in Article 2.2 of the Law "On service in the Prosecutor's Office" in the part relating to the prosecution authorities.
According to Article 2.3 of the Law "On public service", as well as Articles 2.2 and 14.1 of the Law "On service in the prosecutor's office", evaluation of the work of prosecutors is carried out in the manner prescribed by the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On public service". In accordance with Article 30-1 of this Law "Rules for evaluation of the work of prosecutors" were approved by the order of the Prosecutor General dated 6 May 2015. According to the part "Organization of the evaluation", at the end of the year the period of activity of a prosecutor from January 1 to December 31 of the calendar year is evaluated by the head, who he is subordinated to. Evaluation of the service activity of employees is carried out by his direct supervisor subject to respective subordination. Annual evaluation of employees’ activity begins no later than December 1 of the current year and finishes on January 10 of the next year.
Paragraph 28.4 of the "Rights and responsibilities on the evaluationof a service activity" of the "Rules for evaluation of the work of prosecutors" is dedicated to the rights and obligations of employees. According to subparagraph 28.4.5 of this paragraph, if anemployee does not agree with the result of the evaluation, he shall applyin writing in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 27 of these rules. In paragraph 27 it is established that in case of differences of opinion between the employee and the head, the employee in this regard may refer to the responsible person in charge of the supervision of the head or the HR Department. The employee,who does not agree with the results of the evaluation, mayoffer re-evaluation, on the basis of what a repeated evaluation may be conducted. The employee, in case of disagreement with the final decision, may submit a complaint to the Prosecutor General within 5 days. The complaint shall be considered within 7 days. The Prosecutor General on the basis of the examinationof the complaint shall take a decision either to maintain it in force or to annul the results of the evaluationand carry out a re-evaluation. The employee in the manner prescribed by law may appeal the decision of the ProsecutorGeneral.
5. As regards the fight against organized crime and terrorism, are there any specific conditions, criteria, procedures or indicators created for prosecutors in your country in order to:
- facilitate their work?
- evaluate their work?
In Azerbaijan separate units of the Prosecutor General's Office have specialized in the field of fighting organized crime and terrorism, which in turn facilitates the work of prosecutors on the mentioned fields. While evaluating the work of prosecutors specialized in the fight against organized crime and terrorism, this fact is being particularly considered.
6. Are there in your country recent legislative reforms to fight more effectively against organized crime and terrorism and how are these reforms seen in relation to the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors? Please, briefly describe.
In order to increase the efficiency of the fight against organized crime and terrorism legislative reforms are regularly carried out. These reforms have a positive impact on the quality and efficiency of the activities of prosecutors. Advanced legislative acts in this area are as follows:
§ Law on "On the Prevention of the Legalization of Criminally Obtained Funds or Other Property and the Financing of Terrorism" dated 10.02.2009;
§ Law on “On Combating Terrorism" dated 18.06.1999.
At the same time, terrorism, financing of terrorism, including all forms of organized crime have been reflected and have been criminalized in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
7. Do you consider that current international conventions, as well as international organizations, like Eurojust, Europol and Interpol, are sufficient to effectively fight against organized crime and terrorism?
The current international conventions, as well as international organizations like Eurojust and Interpol are considered sufficient.
8. What are the major challenges in your country as regards the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors and, in particular, their fight against organized crime and terrorism?
One of the main directions of the activity of the Prosecutor's Office is to take charge of procedural aspects of the preliminary investigation. The major issue in ensuring the efficiency and quality of prosecutors’ activity in fighting against crime and terrorism is to provide a comprehensive, complete and objective investigation of the criminal cases, based on international experience and cooperation, as well as to ensure peace and security of mankind, human rights and freedoms.
Under the Presidential Decree "On measures to strengthen the fight against crime, enforce the rule of law and public order" dated August 9, 1994, main responsibilities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other governmental bodies on the implementation of the operational-search activity for the prevention of cases of bribery and corruption, as well as crimes against the security of the economic and political basics of the state, including life, health and civil rights of citizens, primarily committed by organized criminal groups, illegal armed groups, have been determined. With the establishment of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime within the Ministry, the fight against the most dangerous forms of crime is conducted based on the new organizational principles.
PROSECUTOR GERERAL’S OFFICE
THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN