On 2 December the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) announced its ruling in the case “Election Monitoring Center (EMC) and others v. Azerbaijan”.
Lawyer Khalid Aghaliyev, who monitors decisions on Azerbaijan, told Turan that the ECHR found the cancellation of EMC registration as illegal.
The ECHR found the applicants in this case – Anar Mammadli and Bashir Suleymanli right.
The ECHR found a violation of Article 11 (right of association) of the European Convention in the procedure of delaying the registration of EMC and then canceling it.
The ECHR obliged the government to pay the applicants 4,500 euros for moral damages, 1,500 euros for court costs and 600 euros for other expenses.
It should be reminded that in 2006-2008 the founders of the EMC applied six times to the Ministry of Justice for registration. However, they were refused under the pretext of inadequate documents.
Finally, in February 2008, the EMC was registered; however, in April the Ministry of Justice filed a suit to cancel its registration. The reason was the absence of the organization’s official address, changes in the list of founders, and information about the opening of representative offices.
The higher courts upheld the decision.
The EMC and its successor, the Election Monitoring and Democracy Training Center, monitored all elections and referendums nationwide from 2001 to 2013, publishing final reports.
“Today’s decision may welcomed given the country’s continued restrictions on freedom of association. This will help set a new precedent.
It is unfortunate that in more than 13 years the situation around the freedom of association and political freedoms in the country has steadily worsened. The government evades from executing the rulings of the European Court and pays no compensation. Among other things, it takes no measures on the decisions made – it does not punish the violators, nor change the legislation,” said one of the applicants, Bashir Suleymanly, commenting on the ECHR’s decision.