Money laundering and corrupt activities by Azerbaijan as ‘top’ topic of PACE autumn session

Money laundering and corrupt activities by Azerbaijan as ‘top’ topic of PACE autumn session

PACE Monitoring Committee’s report outlines ‘Money laundering processes by Azerbaijan’

One of the main topics of the fall session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be launched in Strasbourg on October 9, will be the report on Azerbaijan’s obligations.

Recently the PACE Monitoring Committee has confirmed that report in Paris. During the discussion at the Commission meeting, some formulations in the document were toughened.

“Aravot” asked Hermine Naghdalyan, a member of the Armenian delegation to the PACE Monitoring Committee, whether what toughening and new provisions are included in the report in particular, Mrs. Naghdalyan said: “The commitments undertaken by Azerbaijan, as a country under monitoring, are spoken about in the report presented by co-rapporteurs Austrian Stefan Schennach and Romanian Cezar-Florin Preda. There were also controversial opinions. Perhaps the most important thing is as Dutch delegate Tony Cox said that these are the obligations and commitments that every country voluntarily assumes when joining the Council of Europe. However, their fulfilment, according to the delegate, remained in the form of a dream in case of Azerbaijan”.

According to Hermine Naghdalyan, the report is quite critical, although there were also opinions that the ideas are quite softly and diplomatically expressed in the report.

The report touches upon the problems in Azerbaijan in almost all spheres: the problem of separating power wings, Parliament’s role, accountability of the executive power, which is at a fairly low level, the justice system, which is far from being independent and impartial, independence of judicial bodies, implementation of European Court judgments, arbitrary use of criminal law as a means of limiting the disagreement of opinions. All the pressures that exist in the mass media are presented in detail.

Let us also note that in one week the co-rapporteurs will again visit Azerbaijan, after which the report will be supplemented, which will be put to a vote in the October session.

Mrs. Naghdalyan stated that the memorandum of the report, the documentary materials received by the rapporteurs, has been prepared much more comprehensively this time, it is full of serious documentary materials. But there were also claims to include the names of human rights defenders and journalists who were subjected to pressure in the resolution.

Let us also inform that before the PACE autumn session, another criticizing report against Azerbaijan is presented in the Legal Affairs Committee. It is titled “Presidency of Azerbaijan. What are the consequences?”. According to Mrs. Naghdalyan, dissatisfaction with Azerbaijan was still in the year of its presidency – 2.5 years ago, when a question arose, whether how such a country could take over the presidency. But, according to the order, Azerbaijan was given that opportunity, and also a timely decision was made to give Azerbaijan one year after its presidency to make all those changes. At that time, there was an initiative to prepare another report on Azerbaijan. Mrs. Naghdalyan said that the discussion of this report was deliberately delayed, and now two reports are presented simultaneously. This report also points out the corrupt practices in Azerbaijan.

At the end of the conversation Mrs. Naghdalyan also mentioned that in both reports there is a provision on money laundering in Azerbaijan, approximately worded as follows: “Large-scale money laundering processes have taken place in Azerbaijan over the last few years, which aim to influence the PACE delegates and reporters in order to prevent the criticism against Azerbaijan”.

Tatev HARUTYUNYAN

 

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