The EU should establish a real Intelligence Service

Since several years, the European diplomatic service (European Extermal Action Service, EEAS) disposes of a small intelligence service unit, where less tan 100 people work, called INTCEN. It is jealously „supervised“ by national governments. These are not the „European spies“, and there is no James Bond smell in the air, anyway. The studies made are sometimes questioned, and there is a lot work done on the basis of open sources (which is indispensable for intelligence Services, too). The work of INTCEN is hardly discussed, and the work which could be done by them not either.

However, the terrorist events since mid-November 2015 in Paris, and elsewhere, brought a new push to these discussions. The ALDE chairman in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, pleaded in the meantime for a European Intelligence Service, and some Member States‘ ministers of interior pleaded, for evident reasons, for a closer cooperation between the EU intelligence services. This is indeed necessary – only a minority of services has effectuated a necessary information exchange about possible terrorists by the end of the year, which had been approved on governments‘ level.

What we need in the European Union, is a real military and extremist-oriented Intelligence Service, in addition – and in cooperation with – all the national services. A permanent informaton exchange, in the sense of a two-way traffic, has to be anchored legally, in order to have it at all. The same also for a parliamentary supervision, for which a special committee of the European Parliament should be created, based on the experience of some Member States. Art. 42-47 Treaty of the European Union(TEU) allow this, in my provisional legal opinion, even without treaty changes; art. 42 (6) allowing also activities of a part of Member States. It would just need the courage of some of them to launch an activity. We do do not need a new EU agency or similar, we just need to upgrade INTCEN, give them a reasonable legal framework, give them reasonable tasks which may consist of the coordination and compulsory information exchange between Member States‘ agencies. Whoever observes the external policy analytics capacity of the EU should not say „forget it“ and be allowed for closure of activities – just in contrary. We need also here „more Europe“ – an intelligence centre at least for coordination, with significantly more staff than now (could be also seconded from Member States‘ agencies), and with reasonable competences, and a permanent finetuning of own and Member States‘ activities, of own and other personnel, of own analyses and those of the EU Member States.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal

http://www.eufaj.eu

 

 

 

Frankreich beantragt den „EU-Bündnisfall“ gemäß Art. 42 (7) EU-Vertrag – Was sind die Folgen?

Nach den Attentaten von Paris vom 13.11.2015 hat die französische Regierung an die EU den Antrag nach Art. 42 (7) EU-Vertrag gestellt, die Beistandsklausel in Kraft zu setzen. Art. 42 ist die allgemeine Bestimmung über die EU-Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik. Der Absatz 7 des Art 42 ist insoweit neu, als er bisher nur die EU-Staaten band, die NATO-Mitglieder oder solche der Westeuropäischen Union (WEU) waren. Seit dem Vertrag von Lissabon bindet er jedoch alle EU-Mitgliedstaaten. Er wurde jetzt zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte der EU angerufen.

Der Artikel sagt schlicht und einfach: Im Falle eines bewaffneten Angriffs auf das Hoheitsgebiet eines Mitgliedstaats schulden die anderen Mitgliedstaaten ihm alle in ihrer Macht stehende Hilfe und Unterstützung. Wie weit diese Hilfe gehen kann, ist nicht definiert; in Zweifel ist es bewaffneter Beistand. <wie erwähnt, handelt es sich um die erste Anrufung überhaupt gemäß Art. 42 (7) EUV und somit um einen bedeutenden Schritt in Richtung einer EU-Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik. Es ist demnach völlig gleichgültig, ob die EU als solche von Terroristen angegriffen wird, die ihre Pläne im Ausland oder wo auch immer geschmiedet haben, oder von einem Land. Die Worte „ein bewaffneter Angriff“ im EU-Vertragstext sind auf beide Alternativen anwendbar.

Somit ist eine Art „Doppelgleisigkeit“ des EU-Vertrags zu Art. 222 (1) AEUV (Vertrag über die Arbeitsweise der Europäischen Union) gegeben, die nach diesem Artikel sogar innerhalb eines Mitgliedstaats nach terroristischen Akten tätig werden kann.

Auf das Ersuchen der Franzosen haben alle 27 anderen EU-Länder sofort mit ihrer Solidarität reagiert. Dennoch dürfte diese Aktion wahrscheinlich nur symbolischen Charakter haben, wenn man von einer weiteren Koordinierung der Geheimdienste absieht (in diesem Zusammenhang sollte man in der EU dringend arbeiten an einem EU-eigenem Geheimdienst mit zumindest teilweiser Koordinierungskompetenz, wie schon in der Vergangenheit mehrfach angedacht – wer als die EU sollte z.B. nationale Geheimdienste in Sachen Da’esh/IS koordinieren?). Bei allem darf man sich jetzt aber nicht allzu viel erwarten: Ausgerechnet das deutsche Bundesverfassungsgericht schrieb in seinem Urteil zum Lissabon-Vertrag, die Beistandspflicht mit militärischen Mitteln sei eine politische und keine rechtliche Schuld (BVerfGE 123, 267, Rn. 365 et al.).

Diese Attacke, wenn es eine Krise ist, wird so aussehen wie alle zuvor: Die EU wird gestärkt aus ihr herausgehen. Nicht so, wie ich von einem Journalisten am Tag nach dem Attentat las: „Der europäische Traum ist zu Ende …“. Eine solche Attacke braucht eine klare, europäische Antwort. Diese braut sich soeben zusammen.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chefredakteur, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ), http://www.eufaj.eu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neues Observatorium für Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion

Die Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion (Eurasian Economic Union; EEU) ist ein neues, zum 1. Januar 2015 gestartetes Gebilde, das unter der Führung von Russland zu stehen scheint und aus Belarus, Kasachstan und Russland besteht, ebenso aus Armenien, das zunächst einen Assoziationsvertrag mit der EU unterschreiben wollte, und auch dem zentralasiatischen Kirgistan, das im Verlauf des Sommers 2015 dazu stoßen soll. Was dahinter steht, wer die dortige „Kommission“ ausmacht (die der EU-Kommission nachempfunden wurde), was die offiziellen Politikbereiche und die faktischen Einschränkungen betrifft, das wird seit einigen Wochen in einem neuen Observatorium, einer Beobachtungsstelle, festgehalten. Dieses Observatorium ist untergebracht bei m „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ), einer derzeit nicht-kommerziellen, von LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH gesponserter Vierteljahresschrift, die nur auf Englisch erscheint und von einem multinationalen Herausgeberbeirat unter Leitung von Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, ehemaliger Europaabgeordneter und langjähriger Regierungsberater für die EU, UNDP usw., ediert wird. Das EEU-Observatorium steht unter der Leitung der in Deutschland lebenden Armenierin Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., die diesen Teil ihrer Tätigkeit in fließendem Russisch absolviert, in Yerevan/Armenien und Flensburg politikwissenschaftliche Master-Abschlüsse erlangt hat und als Redakteurin bei EUFAJ sowie als Analystin bei LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH tätig ist.

In dem neuen Observatorium werden nicht nur Stimmen aus den Mitgliedstaaten der EEU, die sich oft mit der Europäischen Union vergleicht, was aber sehr mit Vorsicht zu genießen ist, gesammelt, sondern auch Quellen zum sog. „Eurasianismus“. Dieser ist eine imperiale Ideologie, wenn auch nicht am Zarismus orientiert, und drückt eine streng antiwestliche Haltung aus. Einer ihrer Hauptvertreter ist heute der Philosoph Alexander Dugin, ein Mann von schillernder Vergangenheit, der dafür plädiert, dass die gesamte Ukraine wieder Russland einverleibt werden soll. Auch der „Eurasianismus“ lehnt sich an der Eurasischen Wirtschaftsunion an, die z. B. in Kasachstan eine ganz andere Zielrichtung kennt.

Das EEU-Observatorium hat jetzt den ersten Teil des EEU-Vertrages auf Englisch übersetzt (siehe http://www.eufaj.eu, Ausgabe 2/2015); Schritt für Schritt werden die anderen Teile des Vertragswerks übersetzt und kurz kommentiert und – aus Sicht der EU – bewertet werden. Dabei kommen auch Unternehmen zu Wort, die gebeten werden, ihre eigenen Erfahrungen dem Observatorium mitzuteilen – es gibt noch sehr wenig Erfahrungen mit der EEU. Das Observatorium will auch Publikationen zum Thema herausgeben – insoweit ist jede Kooperation oder Erfahrung willkommen (eufaj@libertas-institut.com).

New EUFAJ 2/2015 – with articles from South Pacific via Ukraine to the Caribbean

The new issue of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ) is out; the link is http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/EUFAJ-2-2015.pdf.

Among the articles:

– plurinational states in the EU and third countries (Ofelya Sargsyan),

– interview with Niels Jorgen Thogersen, president of 80 million Europeans („Europeans throughout the world“),

– Turkey – with several articles after the Armenian Genocide, and on the stalling EU process,

– Lilit Mkhitaryan on Armenian local elections (shortcomings and perspectives),

– Marek Dabrowski on the reality of Ukraine’s fiscal arithmetic,

– a short interview with Henri Malosse, EESC President, on his visa ban to Russia – one of the 89, by Carmen Aguilera García,

– short contributions on Russia’s new language minorities, Bosnia’s new SAA, EP targeting tax evasion in developing countries,

– EU – South Pacific: When comes CEPA?, EU – Dominican Republic relations could be intensified (Matthias Major),

– as documentation: the English text of part 1 of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU),

– social inclusion strategy of labour migrants in Russia (Tatyana Bezborodova),

– human development indicators for innovation management in Russia (Sergey Elkin), and many others ,,,

 

The Boris Nemtsov Report on Russia/Ukraine – Now in English

Some days ago only, the Russian-Troops-in-Ukraine Report by Boris Nemtsov – or better, after his death on 27th February, 2015, this report finished by his friends and colleagues – has been released. Its subject is is the Russian direct participation in the Ukraine conflict, both on Crimea and in East Ukraine (this was, by the way confirmed by OSCE investigators only yesterday).

European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ) is happy to present only some days after its release in Russian language this report now in an unofficial English translation. This is the very first Special Issue of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal.  It can be downloaded under http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/EUFAJ-Special-NemtsovReport-150521.pdf:

The special issue also contains the original Russian text.

The Report covers the Crimea annektation, the „vacationing“ Russian troops in Ukraine and their status, interviews with soldiers, the „Load-200“ issue, i.e. the coffins with dead Russian soldiers, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing MH17 shot down over Ukraine, and the economic crisis to which Russia is „striving for“.

Boris Nemtsov should have presented this report a day after he was shot. The person(s) who did this have not yet been found.

EUFAJ 1 – 2 / 2013 is online: Here is the content

Please find here the link of  another issue  of the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ),  1/2-2013, which is now online:

http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/EUFAJ/no1_2_2013.pdf

With

– an article on the Macedonian party system (compared to Slovakia),

– a breathtaking article about child marriages among the Roma,

– an article about the Elders of the Indian tribes in Canada (First Nations),

and contributions on

– migration and security issues,

– the LLDC character, and conflict prevention in South Sudan,

– the 24 official languages of the EU

– an EU study on protectionism

The Homepage of the Journal is http://www.eufaj.eu.

National Minorities in Europe and Their Protection: Two Events in Flensburg and Budapest

Flensburg, European Center for Minority Issues:
Monitoring the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

On July 5, 2013 the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) organized a high-level experts‘ conference on „Shaping the Frame Across the Cycles“, on Monitoring the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM), in Flensborghus, Flensburg, Germany.

The conference sought to present the experts’ views in the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention  (ACFC) for the first 15 years of its existence. In the frame of the conference the ECMI staff as well as the invited professionals provided the chronicles of the ACFC; its launch, activities, actions,  achievements as well as impediments it faces.  It is to be mentioned that the ECMI managed to gather the most outstanding experts in regards to the ACFC, among them being the first president of the ACFC, Prof. Rainer Hofmann.  The conference was divided into three sections. To begin with the mandate of the ACFC was described, afterwards the enforcement mechanisms were discussed and lastly, the monitoring systems were under discourse.

The conference was also a tribute to Rainer Hofmann. Moreover, the outcomes of the conference are to be published in a „Festschrift“ in honor to Hofmann for his dedicated excellent experience in the Advisory Committee.

In the end it is to be mentioned that the conference, full of scholastic  and pragmatic analyses regarding the minority issues, their protection and the protection structures, strengths and weaknesses (among which the „monitoring fatigue“ of the Council of Europe Member States) was also spiced with warm opening  and closing words as well as pleasant coffee breaks which provided an excellent floor for further discussions and debates.

The European Centre for Minority Issues, see also under www.ecmi.de, is funded by the Danish and German governments as well as by the one of Schleswig-Holstein state in North Germany. It has also very efficient outlets in the Caucasus (Georgia) and Kosovo and has an excellent record in any European minority issue, running also an outstanding standing and electronic library.

Tom Lantos Institute, Budapest: Norms and Practices of Minority Rights in Central and South-Eastern Europe

In the same token, acknowledging the primacy of ensuring non-discriminatory and tolerant environment for the diverse national minorities as the basis for the societal development and secure atmosphere, the National University of Public Service and the Tom Lantos Institute organized International Summer School on Minority Rights: Norms and Practices in Central and South-Eastern Europe in Budapest, Hungary, from August 4-10, 2013. To the point, the Summer School was organized very painstakingly and meticulously, taking into account the interests and priorities of all and each of the participants. The Budapest-based Tom Lantos Institute is under the direction of Anna-Maria Bíro.

During the widely comprehensive, academic and at the same time interactive lectures it was highlighted that inclusion and participation are the forces contributing to raising the national minorities’ awareness of their duties, responsibilities as well as rights and privileges. Additionally, it was argued that solidarity is an inseparable component for having civic society as well as encouraging pluralistic democratic systems. The whole programme of the Summer School could be divided into two parts. Firstly, the international norms, practices and mechanisms in managing the ethno-cultural diversity in Europe were presented. In the second part of the programme the implementation of minority rights were analyzed. To fulfill the objective various case studies were deployed, among them being Muslim Turks of Western Thrace in Greece, Jewish life and Anti-Semitism, the Hungarian minority protection system, the Serbian system, the Romanian practice as well as the situation in Kosovo. Additionally, the implementation of the Roma rights was discussed.

The Tom Lantos Institute was launched in the context with the long-time US Congressman Tom Lantos, who as Hungarian had survived the Holocaust and was among those American Congressmen who knew perfectly what was going on in different European countries, what led him also to chair the US Delegation for the inter-parliamentary talks with the European Parliament. So it was logical that in the frame of the Summer School, the participants paid a visit to the Jewish Community House in Budapest, where they received the hospitability of the Hungarian Jews, enjoyed an interesting and also entertaining presentation on “Jewish Communities in Central Europe: Revival and Inter-Ethnic Relations Viewed Through Jokes” as well as walked to see the two Synagogues in Budapest. It is to be mentioned that this was not the only occasion to have a meeting with the national minorities’ communities in Hungary.

There was also a field trip to Szentendre, a small town not far from Budapest. Here, an informative and exciting meeting was waiting for the participants. The representatives of the Serbian community presented the history, activities and life of the Serbs in Hungary. Moreover, a Serbian museum and two Orthodox churches were visited.

What is to be added is that the Summer School provided an excellent ground for the experts in the field to have very comprehensive and all-inclusive discussions and debates on various issues related to the minorities, their rights, implementation structures, fatigues as well as successes. The programme was a unique occasion to enrich academic knowledge and skills with the help of the scholars as well as the participants who were all open-minded and sensible specialists of the field, as post graduates or Ph.D. candidates, or in public administration, NGOs or journalism. It was interesting to have discussions with them both in the realm of the lectures as well as during informal meetings.

All in all, the Summer School provided wonderful memories to all of the parties. It enabled to enlarge the scope of knowledge on national minorities, establish new contacts as well as have a nice time and sightseeing in the wonderful capital-city of Hungary, Budapest.

OS_2_130817_at_Serb_Museum_BUD

Both the conferences „Shaping the Frame Across the Cycles“ held by ECMI and the Summer School on Minority Rights organized by the National University of Public Service and the Tom Lantos Institute were covered by Ofelya Sargsyan, M.A.,  Junior Editor at the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ).

This article is also – with several other photos – published on the EUFAJ Website: www.eufaj.eu

A Remark pro domo: EUFAJ Is Now on Facebook

These days EUFAJ has entered Facebook. With this step, we want first to accelerate the communication with our readers and second to enlarge our outreach. At the same time, the recent events in many countries have confirmed that being on Facebook is no mistake for a paper.

It is interesting, how our community of „Likers“ is and will be composed. Just go on your Facebook page, if you have one, and then in the search box („Search for people, places and things“) write „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal„. Then you will be on the page, where in the next time all couple of days an issue of EUFAJ will be mentioned with its content and the links. We also publish our new blog entries, which in the last days had an increase in views of almost 600%

So if you have Facebook, you can be immediately and automatically alerted about our activities – including this blog (however, for this blog one can order easily alerts if a new entry has been made)

This Facebook Innovation for a journal, which for an organisation is totally different compared to an individual, is under the wings of our Junior Editor, Ofelya Sargsyan, who is now also the Social Media Coordinator with EUFAJ.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, EUFAJ

Azerbaijan and Its Political Prisoners

There is now some movement in the Azerbaijani opposition. „Meydan TV“ broadcasts from Berlin via satellite directly to many viewers in the country, the Council of European Azerbaijani has been created some weeks ago, and only on 25th May, 2013, the new coordinating Council has been set up in Azerbaijan itself. There are now working more people for another Azerbaijan than ever, a country which has not yet the standards of Rule of Law as it should be the case in Council of Europe Member States, or in recipient states of EU taxpayers‘ money in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and in the Eastern Partnership. One thing is very clear: The people behind all this know Europe very well, and they all appreciate that they can move here freely, that they can say and read what they want. This is why they are all in favour of what is not yet achieved by Azerbaijan..namely Euro-Atlantic Integration and a strongly felt step in the direction of the European Union and the Council of Europe. And they are in favour of ending the autocratic system, corruption and a state-run replacement of the Rule of Law.

More than 3000 people from all European countries have signed recently a petition, an appeal, on political prisoners in the country. We publish here this petition, which went to Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign and Secutiy Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission, as well as some relevant staff of the EEAS (European External Action Service) including her cabinet, as well as to around 130  members of the European Parliament – those from the EURONEST Delegation (covering the Eastern Partnership between the EU and the European CIS countries, inclujding Azerbaijan) and from the Delegation for the South Caucasus, not to forget the OSCE, ODIHR and some Council of Europe addressees. We know that this is only the beginning. The people behind this Council want a stronger anchoring in Europe and its institutions, and they want to anchor the country for „the time after“ the present regime. Because  Council of Europe member state, an ENP recipient and a member of the Eastern Partnership can – and must – be viewed and reviewed permanently, and there is no domestic policy any longer when this degree of involvement (and also trade) is achieved.

So, maybe a bit longer as usual, please read here the full text of this Petition. Its importance lies also towards the Council of Erope which has recently rejected a motion of the Rapporteur, Mr. Christoph Strässer, Member of the German Bundestag where he is the Human Rights spokesman for Human Rights of the Social Democratic Party. Mr. Strässer should investigate on behalf of the Council of Europe, but he was refused to enter Azerbaijan. So far a „transparent system“ which should be applicable for this country. And this report clearly was defeated with the massive help of Baku’s „caviar diplomacy“. All this is unique in Europe – and goes perfectly with Belarus‘ Lukashenka or Ukraine’s Yanukovich and his selecive justice towards former ministers and the prime minister of his country.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal
www.eufaj.eu
—————————————————————————————–
AAMBS – Avropa Azerbaycanlilari Milli Birlik Shurasi
NUEA – National Union of the European Azerbaijani
 
Avropa Azerbaycanlilari Milli Birlik Shurasi
National Union of the European Azerbaijani
 
Basel / Switzerland, May 17, 2013

Petition of the National Unity Council of European Azerbaijanis to International Organizations concerning political prisoners and political pressure in Azerbaijan

[The remarks in brackets […] are inserted by the editor,]

Very shortly after Azerbaijan gained political independence in the beginning of the 1990’s, Heydar Aliyev – a general of the former soviet State Security Committee [KGB] – seized power by resorting to countless very cunning moves. It is now 20 years that the Aliyevs (Heydar and his son Ilham – each for 10 years) have been ruling Azerbaijan as their own personal company (if we take into account also the soviet period, they are in power since 44 years). Based on the wealth of Azerbaijan in natural resources – which by constitution belongs to the population, not to the rulers – the Aliyev clan established an authoritarian system and managed to create a lobby in the countries considered as the centers of democracy in the world. Thanks to this system, this clan has achieved to strangle the voice of the Azerbaijani people not only inside Azerbaijan, but also abroad, including in the international organizations, which are supposed to be the defenders of social and historical values, such as democracy and human rights.The president of our country is like Don Caroline in the film “Godfather”, and the bodies of state power are his personal organizations. The forms and methods of our president’s activity do not differ in any way from the plots in “Godfather”.As a result, in Azerbaijan the fundamental human liberties – freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of suffrage [voting], freedom of religion and other fundamental rights – are severely being persecuted. Azerbaijan is a “hell” in today’s world, based on authoritarianism. It would be naive to hope for an improvement of anything in this hell. In this sense, declarations of the international organizations about “Azerbaijan moving one step forward or one step back, but in the direction of democracy”, as presented after every election in the last 20 years, are only cheating the public. A hell is just a hell. In this one there is no such idea as one step forward or one step back, slowly towards democracy. The present regime does not allow any event to occur beyond its control, and it allows itself all means for reaching its goals. It establishes criminal gangs for deceiving the international public, and then pretends to arrest them. It also arranges terror, coups d’état, hotbeds of separatism, and pretends to expose them. It puts different regions and peoples against one another for keeping the population under fear. Mass persecutions and telephone interception are everyday events. Facts about interference into personal lives, such as putting up candid cameras in bedrooms, are evident. Bodies of state power do not deal with their official responsibility, they are mobilized for maintaining this regime with all their resources. People live in constant fear; the activity of the real opposition has been brought to an unbearable condition. Nevertheless, thousands of people can sacrifice their welfare, health, and sometimes their own lives for democratic principles and human rights, even in such a situation.

The broadest prosecution method in Aliyevs’ Azerbaijan is to test people by depriving them of making their bread. There is a system of the Aliyevs, named “employment card” like the Bolsheviks’ “bread cards”, which were made for being distributed only to their own people. The people who act against authoritarianism are, first of all, limited in what they can do for a living. Such protestors, and their family members and relatives, are immediately dismissed and become jobless. Their financial resources are confiscated or otherwise taken under control. There is only one path left for such people: to emigrate from the country. Those who do not leave the country and continue protesting, are imprisoned. In Azerbaijan the jails are full of such prisoners. Today there is an army of prisoners, consisting of journalists, demonstration participants, election and religious prisoners etc., arrested in accordance with laws that are applicable at will. The report issued by Mr. Strässer MP, the Deputy of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the January 2013 session of this Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, related to political prisoners, stated the names of 85 political prisoners. As an effect of the abovementioned lobbyism and the activity of Ilham Aliyevs’ regime, which is also admitted by theParliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and temporarily called “Caviar Diplomacy”, the report was not approved and this caused a great happiness of authoritarian regime officials. This, at the same time, created opportunities for the authoritarian forces in Azerbaijan in the direction of strangling human rights. In a very short period of time (within the last 3 months) the list of political prisoners has been increased considerably. Their number is increasing fast due to participants of Guba and Ismayilli events, Bine trade rebels, members of the youth organization“Nidacilar”, and so on. Some of the social-political activists who were imprisoned and persecuted during the last 3 months are well-known not only in Azerbaijan, but also abroad. It is worthwhile to mention the names of some of them, as follows:

1) Elnur Seyidov, who was detained by officers of the National Security Ministry (NSM) of the Azerbaijan Republic, worked as a deputy head of the region branch “Tekhnica bank”. At the same time, he is a close relative of Ali Kerimli, from one of the country’s popular opposition parties,the Azerbaijan Nation Front Party. On March 29, 2012, investigation by the Ministry of NationalSecurity of the Azerbaijan Republic charged Elnur Seyidov with 178.3.1, 178.3.2 of the Criminal Code (fraud by an organized group involving seizure of a large quantity of another’s property). On the same day, the court made a decision to arrest Elnur for 3 months.Then, the detention period was extended three times, up to one year. However, the period of detention of the accused in criminal cases, in this category, as a rule cannot be more than 9 months, and – according to the requirements of the law – only if there is a criminal investigation. In exceptional cases, this period could be extended up to 12 months. An exceptional case must  exhibit a duty of investigation and judicial authority. E. Seyidov‘s case does not reflect this exception. There was no investigation, and judicial authority was absent. Thus, the court illegally extended the detention without preliminary evidence. Additionally, the National legislation and International conventions requires that the verdict reflect preliminary evidence. The court’s decision did not reflect the preliminary evidence needed for a criminal act. Two times documents were sent concerning E. Seyidov’s case via the post-office of theEuropean Court for Human Rights, but were removed by the special service bodies of the country in an attempt of preventing the case to be examined at this international court, for confirming violations of law committed against E. Seyidov.

2) Ilgar Mammadov. He is the chairman of the Republican Alternative Movement (ReAL) organization. The organization has put forward his candidacy for the presidential elections to take place this year. Ilgar Mammadov was arrested illegally during the activities that occurred on 23-24 January [2013], by being accused of violating public order and instigating citizens to be rebels. A while ago he was severely submitted to threats of parliamentary deputies, since he compared the parliament with a “zoo” based on video material that shows how mandates are “traded” in the Parliament of the Republic (National Assembly). Human rights organizations and ReAL consider his imprisonment as the result of a political command.

3) Tofig Yagublu. He is a deputy chairman of Musavat [party], an author of the newspaper “Yeni Musavat”. The Musavat party is one of the leading opposition parties of the country and acts against the existing authoritarian regime from an uncompromising position. Tofig Yagublu was also imprisoned illegally during the actions on 23-24 January [2013] in Ismayilli for violation of public order and instigating citizens to riots. A while ago Tofiq Yaqublu’s daughter Nigar Yaqublu was subjected to an inadequate punishment for her father’s activity, and she was released only after her father was arrested. Human rights organizations and the Musavat Party consider his imprisonment as the result of a political command.

4) Rashad Hassanov. He is a member of the “Nida” Youth organization. Rashad Hassanov has been imprisoned illegally by being accused of keeping an illegal firearm in an organized way. A while ago before his arrest, on 9 March, three activists of “Nida” – Shahin Novruzlu, Bakhtiyar Guliyev and Mahammad Azizov – were imprisoned illegally with the accusation of  possessing narcotics and explosive substances for 3 months as per the court decision. They were arrested one day before the action that took place on 10 March as a protest against deaths of soldiers in non-fighting circumstances. “Nida” has declared that the arrests of civil movement members are political commands.

5) Rustam Ibrahimbeyov. He is a scenarist, film director, and a playwright. He is also the Azerbaijan national writer, Honoured Art worker of both Azerbaijan and Russia, the chief of Azerbaijan Cinematographers’ Union, and an Oscar prize-winner. It is already several years that Rustam Ibrahimbeyov has been criticizing – as one of the most famous intellectuals of Azerbaijan – the policy of the current government and the activities of the high officials; his criticism has deepened and increased recently. Just because of the increasing criticism and especially his point-of-view related to the forthcoming presidential elections, aggressions against him and the civil society around him were expanded. After repeated inspections conducted in the office of the Cinematographers’ Union on 20 November 2012, the primary investigation department of tax evasion of the Ministry of Taxes opened a criminal case as per Article 213.1 of the Criminal Code on 27 December 2012 – although there is no true evidence. Lala Efendiyeva, a member of Azerbaijan Cinematographers’ Union, who was an accredited representative in conducting the Baku International Film Festival “East-West” (“Sherg-Gerb”) in 2009, has been accused in accordance with Article 179.3.2 of the Criminal Code. On 18 January, 10 officials from the department of Primary Investigation of Tax Evasions conducted a search in the Cinematographers’ Union office and collected documents, copies of which had already been provided to the Ministry of Taxes. On 23 January, the Union was thrown out of its office located in the government house by the representatives of Baku City Executive Authority, without showing any official document and submittal of any notification in this respect.

During Rustam Ibrahimbeyov’s arrival from Moscow to Baku on 30 December 2012, his diplomatic passport and foreign passport were taken by the passport control officers in the airport under the pretext of inspection. In more than two hours after Ibrahimbeyov was allowed to pass the border, he was notified that, since he did not respect the Supreme Commander-in-Chief [the president Ilham Aliev], they did not have respect for him either. On 21 January 2013, when Ibrahimbeyov was leaving Baku, he faced again such problems in the airport. He was told at the frontier post that he had to wait due to a technical problem, and he was allowed to leave the post only half an hour before take-off. Besides, denigrating actions have been launched against Rustam Ibrahimbeyov in most of Azerbaijan TV channels and newspapers, under the supervision of Ali Hassanov, the chief of the social and political relations department of the President’s Executive body. Rustam Ibrahimbeyov has been blamed during the last weeks for various misappropriations, mentioning names of places, offices and companies that are claimed to be his, without any substantiation or proof.

There are reports about pressure and threats on the members of the Cinematographers’ Union. At the moment, Rustam Ibrahimbeyov is abroad and any return to his native land may result in his imprisonment. According to official reports, 10 people for the action in “Bine”Trade Center (on 19 January), 12 people for Ismayilli events (23 January) were arrested and condemned. And there are lots of official prisoners too. Currently, two chief editors have been imprisoned by means of false accusations: EvezZeynally (“Khurat” newspaper) and Hilal Mammadov (“Tolishi Seda” newspaper), as well as Movsum Samadov, the chairman of Azerbaijan Islam Party, and many of functionaries of the same party (Ruhulla Akhundov, Firdovsi Mammadrzayev, Deyanet Samedov, etc.), and two ex-ministers (Farhad Aliyev and Ali Insanov). Based on these recent experiences, it can be ascertained that the authoritarian regime has a preference for calumniation (e.g. by secretly putting narcotics into pockets, placing arms in apartments and personal vehicles, using false witnesses / perjurers, counterfeiting corruption and   tax evasions, blaming for hooliganism, etc.) for dealing with the people whom it dislikes orconsiders undesirable. By using these methods, the inhuman and illegal procedures are made to look very civilized. We do not accept these and the addition of more and new ways and forms of denigration and calumniation, moreover for maintaining an inhuman situation – which are currently escalating due to the approach of the presidential elections.Taking into consideration the above, we would like to prompt the appropriate structures of the Council of Europe, the European Union, the NATO, and the UNO, not to abandon their principles on human rights and democratic values in their attitudes towards Azerbaijan, and to call all the international human rights organizations for giving more attention to the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan as a symptom of a much deeper problem, and to accomplish their freedom as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,

Rzayev Gabil – President, National Union of the European Azerbaijani, Abilov Atakhan (Netherlands) – Chairman of the Executive Council,
Abdullayev Elshad (France) – Vice President, National Union of the European Azerbaijani, Abbasov Nadir (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Abbasova Mina (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Abdullayev Umid (Ukraine) – Member of the Executive Council,  Alibayli Elkhan (Netherlands) – Member of the Auditing Agency, Aliev Mehman (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Alirzayev İlkin (Netherlands) – Member of the Executive Council, Aliyev Bahruz (Netherlands) – Member, Amiraslanova Yegane (Germany) – Member, Bunyatov Yalchin (Ukraine) – Member, Calabi Huseyn (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Can Ansar (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Damirov Ehtiram (Germany) – Member of the Executive Council, Feyzullazade Afag (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Feyzullazade Coshgun (Switzerland) – Member, Garashova Ulviyye (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Guduyevİlgar (Germany) – Member of the Executive Council, Guliyev Adalet (Belgium) – Member, Guliyev Sabir (Sweden) – Member, Gurbanov Reshad (Switzerland) – Member, Gurbanova Nargile (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Hacili Ali (Netherlands) – Member, Huseynov Galib (Russia) – Member, İsmayilova Kemale (Switzerland) – Member, Koca Yusif (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Latifov Surkhan (Switzerland) – Chairman of the Auditing Agency, former President of the European Movement of Azerbaijan, Maharramov Elchin (Germany) – Member of the Executive Council, Mecidli Elnur (France) – Member, Mecidoglu Telman (Netherlands) – Member, Mehraliyev Gehreman (Russia) – Member of the Executive Council, Nuriyev Elkhan (Ukraine) – Member of the Executive Council, Pashayev Musallim (Germany) – Member of the Executive Council, Polat Seyfetdin (Switzerland) – Member, Rizvanov Sarvan (Germany) – Member of the Executive Council, Saftarov Hasan (Canada) – Member, Schaerer Alec (Switzerland) – Member of the Auditing Agency, Operative Advisor, Tagiyeva Sevan (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Tagıyev Huseyn (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Yavuz Nahid (Switzerland) – Member of the Executive Council, Zeynalov Adalet (Russia) – Member of the Executive Council, Zeynalov Sadiyar (Luxemburg) – Member.
 
Total: 3034 signatures, of which 43 are shown here
 
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European Micro States – Call for Research Cooperation

Within the Editorial Board of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ there shall be an open research project, with not yet defined life span, on the subject (preliminary wording): „European Micro States – What has to be changed if they want to access the European Union“.

Outside of the EU there are in Europe countries like Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, Liechtenstein and the Vatican (who however plays a different role than the others), as well as the Faroe Islands (which have the biggest population of all of those, with approx. 45.000 people). While all of these countries are at present not likely to join the EU, in each of them (except the Vatican, which should be excluded from doing so) there were voices in favour of an EU accession. If this case became true, what has to be changed in the EU Treaties, in secondary law and in certain policies of the EU, and perhaps also in these countries, if one or several of these Micro States would want to join the European Union?

EUFAJ wants also to test an open procedure of research and connected research, in the sense that everyone can take part in this project, and it is not bound to any further project leadership. Universities, students. professors, their assistants, think tanks, NGOs, public administrations etc. We will look also later for an external financing, if possible respectively necessary.

Anyone interested in such a kind of project of which the concrete results are not yet defined as well should contact: European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ), LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH, attn: Hans-Juergen Zahorka, Lindenweg 37, D – 72414 Rangendingen (near Tübingen / Hechingen), Tel. +49 – 7471 – 984996-13 (direct), Fax +49 – 7471 – 984996-19, zahorka@libertas-institut.com, http://www.eufaj.eu.

We will inform the readers of our Blog http://libertasblogs.wordpress.com, like those of EUFAJ, regularly about this project.