The Independent External Investigation Body of PACE: Azerbaijan Is Also Targeted
The Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) appointed the three members of the independent external investigation body to look into allegations of corruption within PACE, namely:
- Sir Nicolas Bratza (United Kingdom), former judge and former President of the European Court of Human Rights (it should be noted that during the chairmanship of Bratza the ECHR has accepted "Chiragov and others vs. Armenia" case, which concerned the complaints by six Azerbaijani refugees that they were unable to return to their homes and property in the district of Lachin in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic),
- Jean-Louis Bruguière (France), former judge in charge of investigations in particular on cases related to terrorism, expert with international organizations and states on anti-terrorism issues
- Elisabet Fura (Sweden), former judge at the European Court of Human Rights and former chief parliamentary Ombudsman of Sweden, legal adviser.
As PACE official page reports, this decision is to be ratified by the Assembly in the framework of the Progress report, which is due to be debated on 26 June by the Assembly during its next plenary session (26-30 June 2017). It shall begin its duties with effect from the appointment of its members and its duties shall terminate on the submission of its final report, or at the latest on December 31, 2017. The Bureau of the Assembly may extend the investigation body’s terms of reference, if needed.
On April 28, the Assembly ratified the terms of reference of the investigation body, which purpose is to carry out an external independent inquiry into the allegations of corruption and fostering of interests made against certain members or former members of the Assembly.
The purpose of the investigation body is to carry out a detailed independent inquiry into the allegations of corruption and fostering of interests made against certain members or former members of the Assembly. The investigation body shall have no jurisdictional competence. It may decide to transmit the information it has gathered to any national judicial authorities, on official request, in the context of ongoing criminal investigations or proceedings, in keeping with the legal and regulatory framework of the Council of Europe.
The work of the investigation body shall enjoy the utmost confidentiality. The investigation body shall report back to the Bureau of the Assembly, presenting a final report. This report shall be made public. The investigation body may decide that parts of this report shall remain confidential. In the light of these findings, the Bureau will decide whether there is sufficient proof to take action against members or former members of the Assembly.
Baku has also appeared in the target of the independent external investigation body. The Council of Europe has launched an investigation into alleged corruption at the council involving Azerbaijan. In particular, there are suspicions that in 2013 Azerbaijan paid $ 2.5 million to a member of the PACE for refusing the report on human rights violations and political prisoners in Azerbaijan by Assembly.
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