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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN

On the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman)
of the Republic of Azerbaijan


Chapter I

Grounds for the Activities and Appointment
of the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman)

Article 1. Grounds of the activities of the Human Rights Commissioner
1.1. The position of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Republic of Azerbaijan (hereinafter referred to as "the Commissioner") shall be set up to restore the human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the international treaties to which the Republic of Azerbaijan is a party, that are violated by governmental and local self-governed bodies and officials of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
1.2. The activity of the Commissioner shall not restrict and substitute the competence of other governmental bodies ensuring the protection and restoration of violated human rights and freedoms.
1.3. Revision of the activities of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, members of the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the judges of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall not be in the scope of competence of the Commissioner.
1.4. The Commissioner may submit proposals to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with regard to granting pardon, citizenship and political asylum.
1.5. The Commissioner may submit proposals to the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan with regard to the adoption or review of laws with a view of ensuring human rights and freedoms. The Commissioner may submit a proposal to the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan with regard to declaring amnesty. 
1.6. The Commissioner shall have the right to examine complaints on violations of human rights relating to red tape, loss of or delayed delivery of documents in courts as well as delays in the execution of court decisions.
1.7. The activities of the Commissioner shall be based on the principles of publicity, transparency, lawfulness, justice, and impartiality.
Article 2. Election of the Commissioner
2.1. The Commissioner shall be elected with the majority of 83 votes in the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan among three candidates nominated by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
2.2. If the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan fails to come to a decision with regard to the election of the Commissioner, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall, within 15 days, submit a new list of three candidates to the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Article 3. Requirements concerning the candidacy of the Commissioner

3.1. Any citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan of high moral character and at the age of not less than 30 years who has a higher education and experience in the field of human rights protection may be elected as a Commissioner.
3.2. A person who possesses a dual citizenship, or has obligations before other states, or works in legislative, executive and judicial bodies, or is engaged in any remunerated activity, excluding research, teaching and creative activities, or the legal incapacity of whom has been judicially established, or who has been convicted of a serious and particularly serious crime may not become a Commissioner.
3.3. The Commissioner may not be engaged in any political activity and may not be a member of any political party. The Commissioner may not be represented in the leadership of any non-governmental organization.
3.4. The Commissioner shall, within five days of his or her election, waive any activity incompatible with his or her status.
3.5. On the day of his or her election, the Commissioner shall take an oath at the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan as follows: "I swear to faithfully and honestly fulfil my powers as the Human Rights Commissioner of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to observe the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and to act independently and impartially".
Article 4. Term of office of the Commissioner
4.1. The Commissioner shall be elected for a period of 7 years.
4.2. The same person may hold the post of a Commissioner only once.
4.3. 30 days prior to the expiry of the term of office of a Commissioner, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall submit to the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan a new list of three candidates for the election of a new Commissioner. The Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall, within 15 days, adopt an appropriate decision on the election of the Commissioner.
Article 5. Safeguards of the independence of the Commissioner
5.1. The Commissioner shall be independent and obey only the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
5.2. The independence of the Commissioner shall be ensured by the following:
5.2.1. s/he shall not be replaced, while in office;
5.2.2. s/he shall enjoy immunities;
5.2.3. it shall be inadmissible to interfere with his or her activities by any governmental or municipal body or official; 
5.2.4. s/he shall be provided with financial and social guarantees.
5.3. Declaration of a state of emergency or martial law shall not cease or restrict the activities of the Commissioner.

Article 6. Immunities of the Commissioner
6.1. The Commissioner shall be inviolable while in office.
6.2. The Commissioner, while in office, shall not be subjected to criminal proceedings, shall not be arrested or detained, shall not be subjected to administrative reproof by court, shall not be subjected to search and examination save in cases where s/he was caught red-handed. In a case, where the Commissioner is caught red-handed, the body that has arrested the Commissioner, shall, within 24 hours, inform the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Prosecutor-General of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
6.3. The inviolability of the Commissioner may be terminated only by a decision of the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan taken by 83 votes’ majority following a motion of the Prosecutor-General of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
6.4. The inviolability of the Commissioner shall be extended also to his or her home, official premises, means of transport and communication, correspondence, private property and documents.
6.5. Any former Commissioner shall remain inviolable for the activities conducted and the opinions expressed while performing the powers of Commissioner. Criminal or administrative proceedings with regard to offences committed by the Commissioner in that period shall be carried out as provided for in article 6.3 of the present Law.
Article 7. Termination of powers of the Commissioner before expiry of his or her term of office
7.1. Powers of the Commissioner shall be terminated before expiry of his or her term of office by a decision of the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan taken by 83 votes’ majority on its own initiative or following a recommendation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in cases, when:
7.1.1. the requirements relating to the Commissioner have been violated;
7.1.2. the Commissioner has completely lost his or her capacity to perform his or her duties.
7.2. In cases, where the following circumstances are declared at the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Chairperson of the Milli Mejlis by his or her decree shall terminate powers of the Commissioner before expiry of term of office of the latter:
7.2.1. death of the Commissioner;
7.2.2. a judgment of conviction in respect of the Commissioner entered into force;
7.2.3. a written voluntary request of the Commissioner for resignation.
7.3. When powers of the Commissioner are terminated before expiry of his or her term of office, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall, within 30 days, submit to the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan a new list of three candidates for the election of a new Commissioner. The Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall, within 15 days, adopt an appropriate decision on the election of the Commissioner.
CHAPTER II
CONSIDERATION OF COMPLAINTS ON VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Article 8. Submission of complaints on human rights violations
8.1. The Commissioner shall examine complaints on violations of human rights from citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan, aliens and stateless persons, as well as legal entities (hereinafter referred to as "Applicant").
8.2. A complaint may also be lodged by a third person, including non-governmental organizations with consent of the victim of the human rights violations. If it is impossible to obtain consent of the victim of human rights violations (if that person died, lost his or her legal capacity etc.), a complaint may be lodged by a third person or a non-governmental organization without consent.
8.3. The Commissioner shall not receive complaints from governmental bodies.
8.4. A complaint may be lodged with the Commissioner within a period of one year from the date on which an alleged violation of rights of the applicant occurred or s/he became aware of that violation.
8.5. Complaints sent by persons held in penitentiary establishments, investigation isolators and temporary detention centres shall be delivered to the Commissioner within 24 hours without being subjected to any kind of censorship.
Article 9. Content of a complaint on human rights violation
9.1. A complaint on human rights violation shall set out: name, surname, patronymic name and address of the applicant; the essence of a decision or an act (or inaction) that violated applicant’s rights; the place and date of writing the complaint and the signature of the applicant. Any other materials or judicial decisions relating to the complaint may be added to that complaint.
9.2. If name, surname, patronymic name and address of an applicant are not indicated in a complaint, the latter shall be considered to be anonymous and shall not be pursued, save in cases referred to in article 9.3 of the present Law.
9.3. If the circumstances indicated in an anonymous complaint are attested by sufficiently evidential and substantiated facts, the Commissioner may admit such complaint for examination.
9.4. If a complaint is submitted verbally, a staff member of Commissioner’s Apparatus shall take notes of the contents of the complaint on a special letterhead, which shall be signed by the applicant.
9.5. Upon a request of the applicant, the Commissioner shall keep the data concerning that person confidentially.
Article 10. Taking a decision in respect to a complaint on human rights violations
10.1. In respect to a complaint on violation of human rights lodged with the Commissioner, s/he may take one of the following decisions:
10.1.1. accept the complaint for investigation;
10.1.2. refuse to pursue the complaint.
10.2. In case of refusing to pursue the complaint, the Commissioner shall, within 10 days, submit a grounded written reply to the applicant.
Article 11. Grounds for refusing a complaint on human rights violation
11.1. The Commissioner shall not examine complaints in the following cases:
11.1.1. when the requirements of article 8.4 of the present Law have been violated;
11.1.2. when the complaint is beyond the competence of the Commissioner;
11.1.3. when a complaint is anonymous save in cases referred to in article 9.3 of the present Law;
11.1.4. when a complaint is being examined within court proceedings;
11.1.5. when there is no new information, facts and evidences in a re-submitted petition.
Article 12. Procedure of examining a complaint on human rights violation
12.1. While investigating the circumstances indicated in a complaint on violations of human rights, the Commissioner shall receive observations from the body or official which is complained of. Within 10 days the observations shall be submitted to the Commissioner.
12.2. While investigating the circumstances indicated in a complaint, the Commissioner shall have the following rights:
12.2.1. to have access, without hindrance and prior notification, to any governmental and local self-governed bodies, military units, penitentiary establishments, investigative isolators and temporary detention centres; to meet and interview in private persons held in penitentiary establishments, investigation isolators and temporary detention centres; to obtain the documents confirming the lawfulness of their detention;
12.2.2. to receive necessary information, documents and materials, within 10 days, from any governmental and local self-governed bodies and officials;
12.2.3. to obtain court decisions in force concerning criminal, civil and administrative cases, as well as cases, the criminal proceedings in respect of which were terminated;
12.2.4. during investigation of a complaint, to receive written explanations from officials;
12.2.5. to give fact-finding tasks to relevant bodies for examination of the circumstances reflected in the complaint (examination can not be entrusted to a body or person against which the complaint is submitted);
12.2.6. to charge relevant state bodies and organizations with a task of preparing an expert opinion;
12.2.7. to be received without delay by heads and other officials of government and local self-governed bodies, commanders of military units, by officials of penitentiary institutions, investigation isolators and temporary detention centres.
12.3. With consent of the person whose human rights have been violated, the Commissioner may carry out investigations on his or her own initiative in cases of special public importance, or in cases, where the interests of persons who are not capable to vindicate their rights themselves are affected.
12.4. If during an investigation any violations other than those mentioned in the complaint are revealed, the Commissioner shall carry out relevant investigation provided that this is within his or her competence; if not, s/he shall refer the materials to a relevant authority.
12.5. Complaints shall be examined within 30 days. If additional investigation or materials are required for examination of the complaint, this term may be extended to another 30 days. With consent of an applicant, if it is necessary to conduct additional investigation, this term may be prolonged again.
Article 13. Results of examination of complaint on human rights violation
13.1. The Commissioner shall, within 5 days, submit written information to an applicant of the measures taken in respect of his or her complaint, and results of the examination.
13.2. If, as a result of an examination, the Commissioner finds a violation of the human rights of an applicant, s/he may take the following measures:
13.2.1. to demand from the governmental or local self-governed body, whose decision or action (inaction) violated the human rights, to remedy those violations (the appropriate bodies and officials shall, within ten days, submit to the Commissioner a written information of the measures taken in respect of those violations. Where such information is not submitted or the appropriate body fails to comply with the demands of the Commissioner, the latter may apply to the superior authorities or other state bodies).
13.2.2. in cases where criminal elements are revealed, to apply to relevant bodies with request to initiate criminal proceedings;
13.2.3. to apply to the subjects entitled to file additional cassation complaints;
13.2.4. to submit proposals to relevant bodies on instituting disciplinary proceedings against the officials whose decision or act (inaction) violated human rights and freedoms;
13.2.5. to inform mass media of the results of the examination conducted in respect of human rights violations; 
13.2.6. in cases, where violations of human rights have a special public importance, if the means available at the disposal of the Commissioner are not sufficient for remedying those violations, to apply to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, or to report to the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
13.2.7. to apply to a court with a view to protect the rights and freedoms violated by decision or action (inaction) of a state or local self-governed body, or an official;
13.2.8. to apply to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan with a inquiry in cases where the rights of a person are violated by legislative acts in force.

Article 14. Annual report of the Commissioner
14.1. Not later than 2 months after the end of each year, the Commissioner shall submit to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan an annual report on the protection of human rights in the country and deliver that report verbally before the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
14.2. The annual report shall indicate the governmental and local self-governed bodies or officials having violated human rights, and failed to comply with the demands of the Commissioner, and of the measures taken in this regard. 
14.3. The annual report of the Commissioner shall also contain general views, opinions and recommendations concerning the protection of human rights.
14.4. The annual report shall be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Prosecutor-General of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
14.5. The Report shall be published in the newspaper "Azerbaijan" and "Compilation of legislative acts of the Republic of Azerbaijan".
Article 15. The duty of the Commissioner to observe confidentiality of some information
15.1. The protection of information constituting state secrets, which became known to the Commissioner while performing his or her activities, shall be carried out in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On State Secrets".
15.2. The data concerning personal and family life of applicants, which became known to the Commissioner while examining the circumstances indicated in a complaint, shall not be made public without consent of those persons.
CHAPTER III
ORGANISATION OF THE WORK OF THE COMMISSIONER AND ITS GUARANTEES
Article 16. Social, financial and other guarantees of the Commissioner
16.1. The Commissioner shall receive a monthly salary equal to 1200 conventional financial units.
16.2. The Commissioner shall be exempted from military draft and periodical military trainings.
16.3. The Commissioner shall be given a diplomatic passport during his or her term of office.
16.4. The Commissioner shall be given leave as provided for in the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
16.5. The term of office of the Commissioner shall be included in his or her general, special and uninterrupted record of service.
16.6. On taking a leave, the Commissioner shall be given an allowance in the amount of his or her 2 months" salary for the purposes of medical treatment and recreation.
16.7. A former Commissioner reached the pension age shall receive a pension in the amount of 80 per cent of the salary determined for an existent Commissioner.
Article 17. Apparatus of the Commissioner and its regional offices
17.1. An Apparatus shall be set up for providing the Commissioner with legal, organizational, research-analytical, informational, material, technical and financial services. Regional centres of the Commissioner can be established in the fields.
17.2. The Apparatus of the Commissioner shall have a seal and letterheads with the State Emblem of the Republic of Azerbaijan imprinted on them.
17.3. The Apparatus and regional centres of the Commissioner shall act in accordance with the "Regulation on the apparatus and regional centres of the Commissioner on human rights" which shall be affirmed by the Commissioner.
17.4. The structure, staff listing and expenditure estimates of the Apparatus and regional centres of the Commissioner shall be determined by the Commissioner.
Article 18. Rights and duties of the staff of the Apparatus and regional centres of the Commissioner
18.1. The staff of the Apparatus and regional centres of the Commissioner shall be appointed and dismissed by the Commissioner. Rights, duties and responsibilities of the staff of the Apparatus and regional centres of the Commissioner shall be determined in accordance with the Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Law "On State Service" of the Republic of Azerbaijan and other legislative acts of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Article 19. Financing of the work of the Commissioner /
19.1. The activity of the Commissioner, his/her Apparatus and regional centres shall be financed from the State budget of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
19.2. The annual expenditure allocated for financing the work of the Commissioner may not be reduced in comparison with the previous financial year.


Heydar Aliyev
President
of the Republic of Azerbaijan


Baku, 28 December 2001
No 246 -II KQ