The abolition of the jury system is undemocratic step

The Milli Majlis amended the law “On Courts and Judges” by withdrawing from it the rules on the establishment the institute on jury in courts. The document was presented to Parliament as a legislative initiative of the Supreme Court and the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Institution of the jury was established in Azerbaijan in 2000, with the proviso that this institution will be introduced after the completion of judicial reforms.

According to the head of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Ali Huseynli, prosecutors, examining the experience of several countries, concluded that the activities of the jurors did not give the desired effect.

Thus, according to Huseynli judges do not participate in decision-making by the jury, which leads to unreasonable decisions on establishing guilt. So, the jury not having a generally legal education, cannot put forward legal judgments that leads to violations of the principles of criminal law.

Therefore, the General Prosecutor Office found appropriate the abolition of the jury.

An experienced lawyer Namizad Safarov criticized the decision on cancellation of the jury and called it undemocratic step.

“At one time under the positive influence of international organizations Azerbaijan adopted this rule. The Institute of Jury is a form of social control over the courts. Participation in the 12-member jury appointed by lot, eliminates the adoption of ordered decisions. Thus, if the jury concluded that the defendant is not guilty, the judge must release him. Such a practice would have prevented the prosecution of citizens for political reasons on the basis of trumped-up charges.

Authorities for log time did not agree to the establishment of the Institute of Jury under the pretext of the absence of conditions for this, and now completely abolished it. This is another step in the deterioration of law and anti-democratization,” Safarov said in an interview with Turan.

Board member of the REAL Movement, legal expert Erkin Gadirli, commenting Turan parliament’s decision, pointed out the invalidity of a legislative initiative the Attorney General, one of the litigants.

The Institute is Jury is a tradition of Anglo-Saxon legal culture, and provides for the philosophy of separation of powers. That is, the jury establish the fact, and the judges pass the necessary legal norm.

Twelve jurors are appointed on an equal basis – by the prosecution and the defense. Each party can put veto on candidates if they doubt objectivity.

Jurors give an estimate of fact, and if they decide that a defendant is not guilty, the court should release him. If the jury decides that he is guilty, the judge shall pronounce a sentence.

“Saying that the jury did not have a legal background, are groundless. They should not possess it. They establish the fact of involvement or complicity of the accused in the crime. The Jury is not simply choose; they should be people with a reputation for honest, independent, impartial citizens with knowledge and experience in various fields,” said Gadirli.

The establishment of the Jury Institute was delayed due to the unpreparedness of Azerbaijan, but no training was carried out. Gadirli believes that the institution of the jury can be established only when inviolability of private property has been provided, citizens receive a decent salary, and correctly pay taxes. Otherwise, the jurors become vulnerable in terms of providing pressure on them.

Instead of consequent work on creating the conditions for the introduction of the jury, the government decided to abolish it altogether, what is not conducive to fair justice.

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