Azerbaijan announces tougher ban on death penalty

5 February 2023

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has tightened the ban on the death penalty, Azernews reports.

The Azerbaijani president has authorized the relevant agency to ratify Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which calls for the complete abolishment of the death penalty.

According to Fuad Alasgarov, an assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, the decision to sign Protocol No. 13 is timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in Azerbaijan, although in 1993 Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev introduced a moratorium on the execution of death sentences.

In his historic speech to the parliament on February 3, 1998, national leader Heydar Aliyev emphasized that everyone has an unalienable right to life and that the death penalty is an unjust punishment that violates human dignity. He also expressed his confidence that the abolishment of the death penalty would not only be a historic event but also a key step in the humanization of criminal law policy and the reform of capital punishment.

Azerbaijan was the first nation in the East to abolish the death penalty as a result of this initiative, which was founded on humanism, justice, and freedom.

Along with passing the key pieces of national legislation ending the death penalty, the great leader also spearheaded the nation’s ratification of Protocol No. 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which seeks to end the death penalty.

Despite the fact that the death penalty was prohibited by these 1980 international agreements, war crimes still carried the death penalty. To abolish the death penalty in all circumstances, however, international human rights law continued to advance, leading to the adoption of Protocol No. 13 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Azerbaijan never intended to use the death penalty because of the humanistic policies of the government, and no crimes are covered by national legislation. On the contrary, deliberate and ongoing efforts are being made to further liberalize the criminal justice system.

President Ilham Aliyev’s action demonstrated once more his commitment to upholding the highest standard of human rights, he concluded.

Fatima Hasanova