From the conversation of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev with Nigel Rodley, Special Rapporteur on tortures of United Nations Commission for Human Rights - May 15, 2000

Heydar Aliyev: Dear guests, I am greeting you. Welcome to Azerbaijan. I know ‎that you are here for some days. I am glad for it. Because long stay of guests in ‎Azerbaijan is very important for us. One or two days are not enough for ‎acquaintance with the country. In this sense, you differ from other people visiting ‎our country. You held many meetings. I consider that you got acquainted with our ‎society, city. Please. ‎

Nigel Rodley: Mister President, thank you for receiving me. Really, our time and ‎our visit here were very interesting. My colleagues, with whom I communicated, ‎did their best that we were not limited only with holding intensive meetings, ‎acquaintance with offices, visiting prisons, but also could see beautiful places of ‎the city. They have practically shown us sights of the city. They made their best ‎efforts that I had even a little information about the culture of Azerbaijan. ‎

Heydar Aliyev: It is fine, because only you among all guests coming to Azerbaijan ‎visited prisons, jails. Anybody from them does not see prison. Therefore, it is ‎necessary for you to see as well as other places to create some balance. ‎

Nigel Rodley: First of all, I wish to express my gratitude to my colleagues from ‎official public sector for the cooperation. I know that mister Fuad Aleskerov has ‎done huge work for preparation of the visit schedule, arrival and working of ‎representatives here according to plans. The official representative of the Ministry ‎for Foreign Affairs, who is responsible for human rights, has also closely ‎cooperated with us during the visit. During my stay here, meetings practically with ‎all ministers, in whom I was interested, were organized. I could visit all planned ‎isolators. These conditions were created for me and we carried out all our tasks. ‎

During our stay in your country we visited all necessary places and were convinced ‎that certain changes happened here, as well as everywhere in the former USSR. I ‎express my gratitude for everything to my colleagues that I communicated. They ‎did their best to make our visit rational. ‎

Now I would not like to come to any conclusions yet, I don’t intend to give any ‎comments or advice. Our program was so rich, the information that we received ‎was so multilateral, and we should consider again the information received from ‎various sources - both formal and informal - to draw conclusion from it. However, ‎I want to note that the general development in the country has already concerned ‎the sphere in which we are engaged, and it is extremely important. ‎
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Though, it does not directly concern my duty, but with great satisfaction I wish to ‎emphasize that the death penalty has been abolished in your country and it is ‎completely observed. I know that you have accepted some decisions on protection ‎of human rights, and also recommendations of a society against tortures are being ‎carried out. Now you and your office work on main legal reforms and its ‎culmination will become the acceptance of Criminal Procedural Code. Certainly, I ‎would like to visit your country a little bit later to see results of all these. However, ‎now I am already sure that they will have extremely big influence. ‎

Mister President, you spoke about visited places where criminals are kept. With ‎feeling of big satisfaction I want to note that you have agreed with the international ‎organizations, International Committee of the Red Cross that they could come and ‎see the people kept in prisons. ‎

As a whole, I basically estimate a situation so. But, if you wish to touch upon any ‎specific questions I am ready to discuss it in a little bit narrow frameworks. ‎

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you. The information given by you, naturally, creates a ‎feeling of the deep satisfaction. ‎

You already noted that we had accepted many decisions and carried out many ‎measures in this field. But now, carrying out the work in this field, as well as in ‎other fields, according to the rules of international law, according to documents of ‎the United Nations Organization is new for us. Naturally, I do not consider that we ‎have reached all planned purposes in this field at all. But, at the same time, I am ‎very glad - as you noted - that significant work has done, and now we are in a right ‎direction. ‎

Your current visit is very important for us as your sphere, in which you are ‎engaged, is such a sphere which we have no opportunity to analyze it deeply. ‎

As the President when we implement economic reforms, I see their results, get ‎acquainted with everything and I know about all. Agriculture, industry, financial ‎system - all these are branches which are familiar to us. However, as the President ‎personally I or other employees of my office can not go to prisons and familiarize ‎with their condition as you do. ‎

I make decisions and demand corresponding executive bodies to carry out these ‎decisions. I know that they try to carry out. They inform on it. How much it ‎answers a desirable level or requirements of rules of international law, - we define ‎it, but not like you. Therefore, your visit is very important. ‎

I can openly tell you that we are ready to eliminate all lacks observed by you. You ‎did not tell but I know that you have observed lacks. You already noted that as a ‎result of decisions accepted by you certain works were carried out recently and ‎there were certain achievements and that fact gives me the basis to speak about it. ‎Therefore, your visit is very important. I express my gratitude to you. You have ‎done a big work. ‎

As to your desire to see the acceptance of Criminal Procedural Code - I invite you ‎to come once again and to look it after its acceptance. Then everything will be ‎completed. Thank you. May be, you wish to tell me some issues. ‎