Appellate Court Dismisses Opposition Party’s Complaint against Ministry of Justice

May 5th, 2016

Hearing 1 (May 5)

Baku Court of Appeal, chaired by judge Sarvat Huseynov, held a hearing on the appellate complaint by the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP; one of Azerbaijan’s main opposition parties) and Ali Karimli (party chairman) against the Ministry of Justice. At the APFP’s party congress on September 27, 2015, Ali Karimli was elected as party chairman, following which they submitted the necessary documents for the registration of these results to the Ministry of Justice. The results of the APFP’s Trust Congress established by Razi Nurullayev were also submitted to the Ministry for registration. On November 14, 2015, the Ministry of Justice refused to register the documents submitted by both applicants, stating that the matter would have to be resolved in court at as there were two applicants claiming the name “APFP”. The Party appealed to the court. However, Baku Administrative Economic Court #1 deemed the lawsuit inadmissible based on its decision of March 30, 2016. The Party appealed the decision.

APFP representative’s speech:05/05/16

APFP’s representative Samad Rahimli gave a speech at today’s hearing:

“The Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (hereafter “plaintiff” or “APFP”) was registered by the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan Republic on September 1, 1995 with the identification code “3139619” and in the organizational and legal form of a political party with political activity as its primary activity. It was issued the state registration certificate No.30. On September 27 2015, APFP held its VI Congress. At this congress, in accordance with the Regulations, the governing bodies of the Party were formed and the plaintiff, Ali Karimli, was elected as the chairman of APFP. To ensure that this fact would be recorded in the state registry, on November 4 2015, APFP’s authorized representative presented the congressional documents to the Department for Legal Entities and Civil Status of the General Department of Registration and Notary of the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan. On November 10 2015, R. Rahimov, the chief of the defendant organization Department for Legal Entities and Civil Status, responded to the application by returning the documents and refusing the register the chairmanship.”

Rahimli emphasized that the decision on the inadmissibility of their complaint was unwarranted and illegal. “According to Article 125.1 of the Administrative Procedural Code (APC), appellate courts shall hear disputes regarding state registration of political parties. According to Article 125.2 of APC, a claim can be filed by the appropriate political party regarding the state’s refusal to register the political party or amendments to its Regulations or name. Based on the application of the aforementioned legal norms to the circumstances of the present case, it is evident that the plaintiffs (APFP and Ali Karimli) have appealed to the court not with regard to the dispute concerning the state registration of the political party or the amendments made to the Regulations or the name of the political party. The plaintiffs have appealed to the court with regard to the dispute concerning inclusion into the state registry of the election of the party chairman and formation of governing bodies at the regular party congress. According to Articles 2.0.7 and 2.0.8 of the Law on State Registration and State Registry of Legal Entities of Azerbaijan Republic, the notions of state registration and state registry are distinct. The notion of state registration denotes, inter alia, approval of the legal capacity and determination of the legal status of entities seeking legal entity status and inclusion of their information and records in the state registry. The notion of state registry in turn means the totality of information (records) about registered legal entities. As APFP is a registered legal entity within the meaning of Article 125.1 of APC, it cannot be viewed as having filed a lawsuit regarding state registration. Similarly, Article 125.2 of APC cannot be applied to the present lawsuit, as the subject matter of the plaintiff’s lawsuit is not related to amendments to the Regulations or to the party’s name.”

In conclusion, Samad Rahimli declared that the lawsuit should be deemed admissible and be sent to Baku Administrative Economic Court #1 for consideration on merits.

Justice Ministry representative Nasimi Guliyev said that the decision should be taken at the discretion of the court.

The Baku Court of Appeal ruled to uphold the March 30 2016 decision by Baku Administrative Economic Court #1 on the inadmissibility of the claim.