The ICJ conducted a research mission to Azerbaijan on 20-23 June, to assess the situation of lawyers in the country, in light of concerns about recent criminal and disciplinary proceedings against lawyers.
During the mission the ICJ met with lawyers and legal experts to discuss the governance of the legal profession, including questions of access to the profession, the need for sufficient numbers of qualified lawyers to provide effective access to justice, and the role of the bar association in protecting lawyers against harassment or interference in their work.
In the course of the mission the ICJ met with several lawyers against whom disciplinary proceedings had been initiated, or who had faced criminal or other sanctions. Many of these lawyers have been prominent in bringing human rights cases before the national and international courts.
On 23 June, ICJ representatives observed a hearing in the case of lawyer Alaif Ghasanov before the Baku Administrative Economic Court no.1, in which he is challenging his disbarment.
The ICJ will publish a report of the mission with recommendations to address harassment of lawyers and for reform of the governance of the legal profession.