News 22 november — 16:09

Azerbaijan's Minister of Justice answers Eynulla Fatullayev's questions: Why are there problems in the execution of court decisions? (Eynulla Fatullayev's cycle of conversations)

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On the eve of the professional holiday of the employees of the Azerbaijani justice, I turned to the Minister of Justice of Azerbaijan with a request for an interview. Although I was more than sure that in order to avoid unpleasant questions, Fikret Mammadov, most likely, would prefer talking about the situation in the Azerbaijani courts and justice with official publications than with informals. But the unexpected consent of F. Mammadov made me wrong. Later it turned out that, moreover, the Minister of Justice is our attentive reader.

Of course, I did not begin my conversation with the Minister of Justice on the eve of the professional holiday with unpleasant and problematic questions. In recent years, an information and technological breakthrough has been observed in the activities of the department. Nevertheless, I managed to talk with F. Mamedov about the fundamental problems of national legal proceedings.

So, today's guest of the column 'Conversations with Eynulla Fatullayev' is the Minister of Justice of Azerbaijan, Head of the Judicial-Legal Council Fikret Mammadov.

Fikret Mammadov

- Let me congratulate you and the employees of your ministry on the professional holiday of the employees of justice in Azerbaijan. Given the festive mood, I want to start on a positive note. We have heard a lot about innovations in the day-to-day work of the Ministry of Justice. What prompted the ministry to actively introduce technological innovations in such a conservative area as justice?

- First of all, I would like to thank your site for the initiative shown on the eve of our professional holiday. This year we celebrate it with a sense of special pride, because it coincided with the first anniversary of the great Victory in the Patriotic War, won under the leadership of our victorious Commander-in-Chief, President Ilham Aliyev.

And now about innovation. It should be noted that the sphere of electronic services, which is one of the priorities in our country, has become significantly topical in the context of the pandemic and has become a challenge, to which the Ministry of Justice responded with maximum responsibility. Suffice it to say that today we provide the population of Azerbaijan with up to 35 electronic services, and the number of users has exceeded 15 million people over the past five years.

The efficiency of services provided to the population became possible thanks to the registers created by the Ministry, which contain the necessary data on the population, integrated with the electronic resources of other government agencies. This ultimately ensured the successful results of our joint work.

Integration and data exchange virtually eliminated the need to submit any documents when receiving services. For example, they have significantly simplified the very procedure for citizens to apply to labour and social protection authorities on such issues as the payment of one-time benefits, targeted social assistance, adoption, and in the Ministry of Economy -- obtaining licenses, permits and much more.

Today, by connecting to our electronic databases, representatives of the local executive authorities can also provide a number of notarial actions, and similar technological resources created for the consulates of Azerbaijan enable citizens to use them even abroad.

- In addition, the institution of a private notary was created. What caused the decision to create this institute?

- The creation of the institution of private notaries, taking into account international practice, was due to the need for effective legal services for the population. It also created new jobs outside of government funding.

The process of formation of the institution of private notaries on the principles of self-financing began in 2008, when the information system 'Electronic Notary' was introduced, which now makes it possible to provide remote services regardless of the location of the client.

As this form proved its relevance, a private notary was entrusted with the functions of collecting taxes on real estate transactions, which provides the state budget with over 40 million manats annually.

Separately, it is worth dwelling on electronic notary services at the DOST social services, created at the initiative of the head of state and playing an important role in supporting socially vulnerable segments of the population. The notary offices formed at these services allow citizens, without leaving the walls of the building, to establish video communication with a notary and, within a few minutes, issue applications, powers of attorney or certify copies of documents.

It should also be noted that our notaries, most of whom are private, have responded with due understanding to the call of President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for the most caring attitude to the families of martyrs, and serve them at their own expense.

Eynulla Fatullayev

- But please do agree that in the age of information technology, one cannot do without mobile applications. Here's what I'm interested in -- are mobile technologies used to serve the population?

- They are, and very active. We can say that the introduction of mobile technologies has become a new stage in the digitalisation of all legal services in the country. Today, with the help of a mobile application created by the Ministry of Justice, you can remotely, without visiting a notary, even while on a business trip or on vacation abroad, receive a wide range of services for paperwork, concluding various transactions, formalising inheritance, etc.

Despite its relatively recent use, our mobile application has proven to be in great demand, with about 200,000 citizens already taking advantage of its capabilities. In addition, this application successfully functions in the Azerbaijani territories liberated from occupation.

In order to develop the business environment, similar services were organised directly in banking institutions. Institutions of civil society were not ignored either.

The platform 'Individual electronic window' created at our ministry makes NGOs much more effective in such matters as information support, corporate correspondence, electronic office work, etc.

- Now let me talk about the most unpleasant thing. Problems in the execution of court decisions. Lawyers and attorneys unanimously complain about non-enforcement of court decisions. Why? What prevents the implementation and realisation of the issued verdicts? And how do you, as the Minister of Justice, assess the state of affairs in this area?

- You touched upon a very important issue related to the efficiency of judicial activity, and therefore arousing particular close attention of the society. In recent years, there have been up to 900,000 cases per year in court proceedings, and in the first half of this year there were already 850,000 cases, of which about 50 per cent were executed, which corresponds to the average European statistics. At the same time, over the past year and a half, 950 million manats were collected from the debtors in favour of the plaintiffs.

Of course, as in any area, there are many problems, for the solution of which appropriate measures are being taken. In particular, amendments are being made to the legislation providing for more effective enforcement mechanisms, an electronic enforcement system is being introduced, which opens up opportunities for faster, more efficient and transparent activities, analytical work is improved, and control over enforcement is enhanced. The information system 'Electronic enforcement' today covers only 40 per cent of our executive structures, but by next year we plan to cover the entire country.

In addition, with the aim of more perfect legislative regulation of the execution process, for the first time, a draft comprehensive normative act -- the 'Code of the Execution of Sentences' was prepared, which is under consideration.

In the context of institutional measures, it is necessary to note the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan 'On measures to deepen reforms in the judicial and legal sphere,' according to which the Ministry of Justice should propose alternative forms of execution.

We analysed the international experience and considered it expedient to introduce in Azerbaijan on an alternative basis the Private Execution Institution, which has justified itself in many European countries. In this connection, a package of relevant bills was developed and submitted for consideration.

To be continued...

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