Azerbaijan has had a flurry of arrests and subsequent releases of bloggers and journalists recently, with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) playing a pivotal role in the resolution of some of the cases. As the ECHR serves as an important vehicle for Azerbaijani lawyers to seek justice for their clients once all domestic remedies have been exhausted, it is imperative that those lawyers be familiar with ECHR protocol. To help prepare Azerbaijani lawyers to discharge this task effectively, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) trained 32 individuals in a seven-week program in April and May. The training builds participants’ capacity to properly submit applications to the ECHR and to respond to the most common human rights violations in Azerbaijan.
Selected out of a pool of 55 applicants, training participants included non-governmental organization lawyers, human rights defenders and LL.M. students. Discussions addressed specific ECHR laws, such as article two on the right to life and article 10 on the right to freedom of expression.
Following discussions on substantive laws, trainers and participants discussed the applicability of the laws to mock cases. A Baku State University LL.M. student said because of its hands-on approach, the ABA ROLI training was“the most helpful training in Azerbaijan.” The student added that the knowledge and skills participants gained from the training will be helpful in their future careers.
To supplement the trainings, the Legal Education Society a local ABA ROLI partner organization is developing a handbook on ECHR practice and procedures. The handbook will enumerate specific ECHR requirements and provide legal professionals a step-by-step guide of the procedures to litigate ECHR cases.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Human Rights and Labor.
To learn more about our work in Azerbaijan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.