Friday wrap-up: Customs arrests, increased food prices and ECHR admissions
The week of 17-21 May saw detained officers, an increase in food prices, and ECHR's admission of legal complaints related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Azerbaijan's failure in fighting corruption.
At the beginning of this week, the Prosecutor General`s office conducted an operation at the state customs committee in Baku. A number of officials were reportedly detained.
The spokesman of the Prosecutor General's Office told Meydan TV that officials were caught accepting bribes. While this cannot be further verified, many corruption-related arrests have been taking place in lower-level state agencies. While corruption is rampant in the country, whether or not these arrests are indeed due to bribery or are political in nature is unclear.
Increase in food prices
In the first quarter of 2021, the Producer Price Index (PPI) in Azerbaijan increased the most among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. According to the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan (SSC), inflation between January and April 2021 was 4% higher than between January and April 2020, and food prices rose by 4.7% percent.
Economist Gubad Ibadoglu links the increase to the price rise for gasoline and water at the beginning of the year. He also believes that a hike in prices of imported goods, transportation costs and custom duties also played a big role in the situation. According to Ibadoglu, this means that prices will continue to rise.
ECHR's admits legal complaints on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia is now moving to the legal level. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that complaints submitted by Azerbaijan and Armenia against each other are admissible.
Azerbaijan appealed to the ECHR in January, charging Armenia for its human rights violations during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Azerbaijan submitted its complaints in three different sections. On the other hand, the Armenian government also filed a complaint against Azerbaijan in February, claiming that Azerbaijan violated the right to life, the right to freedom, as well as a number of other conventional rights. After mutual complaints, the ECHR reviewed them and decided to pursue further proceedings.
The ECHR believes that the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh has led to serious violations of the The European Convention on Human Rights. The court called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to refrain from taking any action, including military operations that violate the rights of civilians. The court also called on the countries involved in the conflict, including Turkey, to fulfill their obligations under the Convention.
It is expected that the ECHR will not make any decisions on territorial issues in order to prevent the court from becoming an arena for ideological struggles between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In general, the ECHR's actions should be seen as a reminder to both parties to honor their international human rights obligations, even in times of conflict.
According to the report published by Council of Europe's anti-corruption body GRECO this week on Wednesday, Azerbaijan failed to fulfill recommendations to fight corruption.
The report stated that, “only a modest progress can be noted in the implementation of the recommendations addressed to Azerbaijan within the Fourth Evaluation Round. Fourteen out of twenty-one recommendations have been implemented satisfactorily, four recommendations have been partly implemented and three recommendations remain not implemented".
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