Comparative Human Rights Jurisprudence in Azerbaijan: Theory, Practice and Prospects


The Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan makes international human rights agreements equal in authority to constitutional articles. Azerbaijan is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Azerbaijan Constitutional Court has referred to European Court of Human Rights decisions in its interpretations of constitutional requirements.

Current domestic criminal defamation laws are used to restrict criticism of the performance of government officials. In future requests for interpretation of constitutional freedom of expression guaranties, the Constitutional Court should follow the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

It should require any government restrictions on freedom of expression to satisfy the evolving tests of "necessary in a democratic society for the protection of reputation of others", and "proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued". These tests protect expression of opinion, require proof of falsehood by criminal defamation complainants, permit reasonable reliance on official government reports, and discourage use of criminal defamation prosecutions by government entities and officials.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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