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[Excerpts]

Code of Criminal Procedure

of the Azerbaijan Republic

Adopted on 14 July 2000

Article 4. Temporal scope of legislation on criminal procedure

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4.2. There shall be no retroactive effect of the provisions of the legislation on criminal procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic which limit the rights of parties to criminal proceedings.

4.3. During the trial, evidence shall be ruled admissible in accordance with the provisions of the legislation on criminal procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic which is in force at the time. If newly adopted provisions of the legislation on criminal procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic substantially change the conditions under which evidence is ruled admissible, evidence which is not in accordance with the new provisions may not be used in support of the charge.

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Article 11. Equality before the law and the courts

11.1. Criminal proceedings in the Azerbaijan Republic shall be carried out on the basis of the equality of all persons before the law and the courts.

11.2. The judicial authorities may accord no advantage to any participant in the criminal proceedings regardless of citizenship, social status, gender, race, ethnicity, political and religious affiliation, language, origin, property situation, work situation, beliefs, dwelling place, place of origin or of any other reasons which are not based on law.

11.3. The characteristics of criminal prosecution of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan Republic and the judges of the Azerbaijan Republic are determined by the constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, this Code and other laws of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 12. Guarantee of the human and civil rights and liberties established by the Constitution

12.1. The judicial authorities shall observe the human and civil rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution to all participants in criminal proceedings.

12.2. The victim of a criminal act shall have the right to demand criminal prosecution, to take part in it as a victim or as a victim bringing a private prosecution and to obtain compensation for non-material, physical and material damage as required by this Code.

12.3. During criminal proceedings everyone shall have the right to defend their rights and liberties as set down by the Constitution in any manner not prohibited by law.

12.4. Decisions on the temporary limitation of the rights and liberties provided for in the Constitution in connection with the application of coercive procedural measures may be taken only in case of necessity, in accordance with this Code.

12.5. It shall be prohibited to use methods and means that may threaten life and health or the environment during criminal prosecution.

12.6. The judicial authorities shall not conceal facts that threaten life, health or the environment.

Article 13. Respect for the honour and dignity of the person

13.1. It shall be prohibited to take decisions or allow acts during the criminal prosecution which debase the honour and dignity of the person or may threaten the life and health of the participants in the proceedings.

13.2. During a criminal prosecution nobody shall:

Article 14. Guarantee of the right to liberty

14.1. The right to liberty may be limited only in cases of detention, detention on remand or imprisonment in accordance with the law.

14.2. Nobody may be detained or arrested other than on the grounds provided for in the Code and other laws of the Azerbaijan Republic. 

14.3. Only a court decision shall permit the detention on remand of a person or placement in a medical or care institution by force.

14.4. The person detained or arrested shall be immediately informed of the reasons for detention or arrest, the nature of the suspicion or charge and his right not to give a statement and to seek legal aid from defence counsel.

14.5. The preliminary investigator, investigator, prosecutor or judge shall immediately release any person illegally taken into custody or arrested.

Article 15. Guarantee of the right to inviolability of the person

15.1. Search and personal examination and other procedures which breach the right to inviolability of the person may not be carried out against the will of the person concerned or his legal representative without a court decision except in cases of detention and arrest.

15.2. During the criminal prosecution the following shall be prohibited:

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Article 19. Guarantee of the right to legal aid and the right to conduct one’s defence

19.1. During the criminal prosecution the preliminary investigator, investigator, prosecutor and court shall take measures to guarantee the right of the victim, the suspect and the accused to proper legal aid. 

19.2. During the criminal proceedings the prosecuting authority shall secure the right of the victim (victim bringing a private prosecution), the civil party or his legal representative, the legal representative of the suspect or accused and the defendant to the civil claim to use the legal aid of the representatives invited by them.

19.3. During the questioning of the victim or witnesses, the prosecuting authority may not prevent the lawyer invited by them as their representative from accompanying them.

19.4. The prosecuting authority shall secure the following rights of the suspect or accused:

19.5. The prosecuting authority shall involve the legal representative of the suspect or the accused in the manner provided for in this Code.

19.6. The presence of counsel for the defence or the legal representative of the suspect or the accused at the criminal proceedings may not limit the rights of the suspect or the accused.

19.7. The suspect or the accused may not be forced to give evidence, to give the prosecuting authority any documents or to assist them in any way.

Article 20. Incrimination of the suspect and his relatives

20.1. Nobody may be forced to testify against himself or his close relatives, or be prosecuted on this basis.

20.2.. During the investigation or court hearing, a  person  asked to give information which may incriminate him and his close relatives in respect of an offence shall have the right to refuse to incriminate them without  fear of negative legal consequences for himself.

Article 21. Presumption of innocence

21.1. Any person suspected of committing an offence shall be found innocent if his guilt is not proven in accordance with this Code and if the court has not delivered a final judgment to that effect.

21.2. Even if there are reasonable suspicions as to the guilt of the person, this shall not cause the latter to be found guilty. The accused (the suspect) shall receive the benefit of any doubts which cannot be removed in the process of proving the charge in accordance with the provisions of this Code, within the appropriate legal proceedings. He shall likewise receive the benefit of any doubts which are not removed in the application of criminal law and criminal procedure legislation;

21.3 The accused shall not be obliged to prove his innocence. It shall be for the prosecution to prove the charge or to refute the evidence given in defence of the suspect or the accused.

Article 22. Guarantee of the right to a court hearing

The judicial authorities shall secure the right of everyone to a fair and open court hearing in connection with the charges against them or the coercive procedural measures applied. The right to a court hearing may not be refused for any reason.

Article 23. Criminal trial only by a court

23.1. The criminal trial shall be carried out only by the competent court as part of the court system of the Azerbaijan Republic.  No one may be held guilty of an offence or be convicted in the absence of a court judgment.

23.2. The creation of special courts and the appropriation of court powers shall be prohibited and shall entail liability under the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

23.3. Judgments and other decisions by special or other illegally created courts shall not be valid and shall not be implemented.

Article 24. Criminal trial with the participation of representatives of the people

24.1. The accused shall have the right to demand  that justice be administered by a jury trial as provided for in Article 359 of this Code.

24.2. To secure the right provided for in Article 24.1 of this Code, the court of first instance shall summon citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic to serve as jurors to administer justice in criminal cases.

Article 25. Independence of judges and jurors

25.1. Judges and jurors shall be independent and shall obey only the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

25.2. Judges and jurors shall not be bound by the conclusions reached the prosecuting authorities during the investigation.

25.3. Judges and jurors shall decide criminal cases and other prosecution matters in accordance with their conscience and legal opinions, on the basis of their examination of the evidence adduced by the parties to the criminal proceedings.

25.4. The courts of the Azerbaijan Republic shall administer justice under conditions that exclude unlawful influence on the independence and will of judges and jurors.

25.5. Nobody shall have the right to interfere in administering justice or to ask judges or jurors to give explanations of the criminal cases or other prosecution material before them.

25.6. No one may, for any reason, place restrictions on court proceedings in a direct or indirect way, illegally influence, threaten or interfere with them, or show disrespect or act carelessly towards the court. Persons behaving in such manner shall be liable under the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 26. The language used in criminal proceedings

26.1. Criminal proceedings in the courts of the Azerbaijan Republic shall be conducted in the official language of the Azerbaijan Republic or in the language of the majority of the population in the relevant area.    

26.2. In the event that the parties do not know the language used in court, the judicial authority shall guarantee the following rights to them:

26.3. The rights of parties who do not know the language used in criminal proceedings, as provided for under Article 26.2.2 of this Code, shall be secured at the expense of the budget of the Azerbaijan Republic.

26.4. The judicial authority shall provide the relevant persons with the necessary documents in the language used during the trial.

Article 27. Public nature of criminal proceedings

27.1. While safeguarding state, professional, commercial, personal and family secrets in accordance with this Code, court hearings in criminal cases and on other prosecution material shall be held publicly in all courts of the Azerbaijan Republic.

27.2. Court hearings in criminal cases and on other prosecution material may not be held in absentia, except in the circumstances provided for by this Code.

27.3. In all cases court decisions given during the proceedings shall be made public.

Article 28. The objectivity, impartiality and justice of criminal proceedings

28.1. Courts shall hear criminal cases and other prosecution matters in accordance with the legal procedures established by this Code, on the basis of the facts and of impartiality and justice.

28.2. In the course of the proceedings, judges may not express interests other than those of the law.

28.3. If a judge or juror is personally interested in the results of the criminal proceedings in a direct or indirect way, he shall not be permitted to take part in the hearing of a criminal case or examination of other prosecution material.

28.4. During the criminal proceedings, courts shall perform the following functions:

28.5. The court decision regarding the guilt of the person charged may not be based on  opinion but shall be supported by all the reliable evidence  concerning the case.

28.6. The rules concerning the administration of justice may not be unilaterally altered for different cases and persons or in particular circumstances or at given times.

Article 29. Examination by the appropriate court

29.1. Nobody may be deprived of the right to have his case examined by the court with statutory jurisdiction in the matter.  The case may not be heard in another court without the permission of the person concerned.

29.2. It shall be prohibited to change the jurisdiction of the court as provided for in this Code or to groundlessly withdraw the case from the judge designated by law. 

Article 30. Restriction on the judge’s participation in the criminal proceedings

30.1. A judge who has taken part in the criminal proceedings in a court of first instance or appeal or in the Supreme Court may not take part in a further court hearing.

30.2. In cases provided for in Article 109 of this Code, the judge shall withdraw, or be debarred from, examining criminal cases and other prosecution material.

Article 31. Inadmissibility of non-procedural ties in criminal proceedings

Non-procedural ties other than those provided for by this Code shall not be allowed between members of the court and participants in criminal proceedings or between courts of first instance, appeal courts or the Supreme Court in connection with the examination of criminal cases and other prosecution material.

Article 32.  Participation of both sides in criminal proceedings

32.1. In the Azerbaijan Republic the conduct of criminal proceedings shall be based on the adversarial principle.

32.2. In order to guarantee participation of both sides in criminal proceedings in accordance with this Code:

Article 33. Assessment of evidence in criminal proceedings

33.1. During the proceedings the judges and jurors shall assess the evidence collected on the criminal case in accordance with the requirements of this Code.

33.2. In the course of the proceedings the provisions of Articles 125,144 and 145 of this Code may not be violated.

33.3. No advance decision shall be taken on any evidence or other material in the criminal proceedings.

33.4. Judges and jurors may not regard evidence or other materials unfavourably, or attach more importance to one piece of evidence or other item than to another, until they are examined under the statutory procedure.

Article 34. Nobody may be convicted for the same offence twice

34.1. Nobody may be convicted for the same offence twice.

34.2. If the public prosecutor or the victim bringing a private prosecution, as the case may be, voluntarily drops the criminal charges in court in the circumstances envisaged by Article 41 of this Code, the same person may not be charged again with the same offence (except where new facts are discovered).

34.3. If a final judgment has been given on the commission of an offence, it shall be prohibited to bring the same criminal prosecution twice for the same offence, to change the charge to a more serious one or to increase the penalty.

Article 35. Guarantee of the right to re-apply to a court

35.1. A party to criminal proceedings shall have the right to complain to a higher court, in accordance with this Code, against the procedural decisions and acts of the court dealing with the criminal case or other prosecution material.

35.2. Any person convicted shall enjoy the following rights when complaining to a higher court:

35.3. The rights of the person convicted as provided for in Articles 35.1 and 35.2 of this Code may not be restricted.

Article 36. Guarantee of the restoration of the violated rights of an acquitted person

36.1. During criminal proceedings, the prosecuting authority shall guarantee the right of persons covered by Articles 55 and 56 of this Code to have their violated rights and liberties restored and to claim damages.

36.2. The rights of persons who have suffered injury as a result of misuse of official powers or a criminal offence and persons convicted without grounds, unlawfully arrested or whose rights were otherwise limited during criminal proceedings shall be restored in accordance with this Code and other laws of the Azerbaijan Republic.

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Article 90. The suspect

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90.2. The prosecuting authority shall be empowered to detain a suspect for the following periods:

90.2.1. persons detained: no more than 48 hours;

90.2.2. a suspect about whom a choice of restrictive measure has been made, excluding arrest, bail and house arrest: no more than 10 days after the announcement of the decision.

90.3. Before the end of the period provided for in Article 90.2. of this Code, the prosecuting authority shall release the suspect and end the restrictive measure or take a decision to charge him.

90.4. If there are not sufficient grounds for suspicion, the prosecuting authority or the court shall release the suspect and end the restrictive measure before expiry of the periods laid down in Article 90.2 of this Code.

90.5. From the time of release, ending of the restrictive measure or when the decision is taken to bring charges, the person concerned shall cease to be considered as the suspect.

90.6. The preliminary investigator, investigator or prosecutor in charge of the criminal prosecution shall guarantee the suspect's rights, and shall not prevent him from using all lawful means of exercising his defence rights.

90.7. From the outset of detention or the decision on the choice of restrictive measure, the suspect shall exercise the following rights in accordance with this Code:

90.8. If the suspect independently conducts his own defence, he shall exercise all the rights of defence counsel as provided for in this Code, as far as is possible in his position.

90.9. Whether the suspect exercises his rights or declines to do so, he shall not thereby suffer prejudice or detriment.  Except where he intentionally names a person in the knowledge that he was unconnected with the offence, no liability shall accrue to the suspect on account of his statements and explanations.

90.10. The rights of the suspect shall be exercised by his legal representative in accordance with this Code if the suspect is under age or lacks legal capacity.

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Article 91. The accused

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91.4. The investigator, prosecutor or court shall guarantee the rights of the accused, shall not prevent him from exercising his right of defence by all lawful means and methods and, if he so requests, shall allow him sufficient time for the preparation of his defence.

91.5. The accused shall exercise the following rights in accordance with this Code:

91.6. When independently conducting his own defence, the accused shall exercise all the rights of his defence counsel as provided for in this Code, as far as is possible in his position.

91.7. The accused’s exercise of or refusal to exercise his rights shall not cause him to suffer prejudice or detriment.  Except where he intentionally names a person in the knowledge that he was unconnected with the offence, no liability shall accrue to the accused on account of his statements and submissions.