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Growing importance of cybersecurity for Azerbaijan

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Only twenty years ago, the cybersecurity matters were of any concern only to people in Hollywood developing movies like “Hackers” that pictured the cybercrimes and cyberwarfare as science fiction. Today, we can safely say that we are living this science fiction.
Growing numbers of cyberattacks on the data and infrastructural systems underlines the importance of the comprehensive cybersecurity for states as well as individuals or corporations. World is experiencing the stage when wealth is digitized and that includes money, personal data and intellectual property. And if you locate your wealth in the digitized form, you have to be ready that cybercriminals may target it.
All that is just one part of the story. On the other hand, for the states like Azerbaijan, that are engaged in the protracted armed conflict for more than twenty years now, the nature of warfare is as changing as rapidly developing information and military technologies. Moreover, when there is an absence of active hostilities and only occasional skirmishes on the frontline, with years the warfare only naturally starts to shift its domains. Right now the shift became apparent. From classic domains of land and air, the warfare for Azerbaijan shifts towards so-called “5th domain” or cyberspace.
The rapid development of information technologies both globally as well as regionally prompts the countries in the region to keep up with the cyberarms race. Cybersecurity is becoming more crucial for the comprehensive defense of not only digitalized wealth or data, but also quite physical infrastructure and communication systems. Free flow of information by itself constitutes a blessing as well as challenge to sustain and maintain it free.
In such situation Azerbaijan can soon face variety of cyberweapons directed against it. Such weapons were already used in several cases to disrupt, deny and deceive an adversary’s strategic intentions. Though such weapons have not proved to be yet coercive by themselves, they might become just that in the course of future development. Moreover, if used with more conventional instruments of power a coercive effect might build up. The danger of cyberweapons at the same time is in their contemporary indiscriminate character. Computer viruses such as Stuxnet or Flame that have been used as cyberweapons, for example, did not feature the proper level of targeting and became indiscriminate in the process of their use. Effective cyberattack is usually a complex operation with large burden of intelligence. Precisely because of that, for now, the resources and ability to carry out an effective cyberattack lie in the hands of states. However, due to the rapid development of technology, that might well change in the course of next years and provide the groups or even individuals with the same abilities to be engaged in cyberwarfare.
What is more is that for now there is no clear opinion in the international law itself on the matters of cyberwarfare. Many questions relate to if the laws of war apply to cyberwarfare? Can the state exercise its right to self-defense if attacked by the cyberattack? Can it retaliate with physical force?
In the situation of uncertainty even on the theoretical level, cybersecurity of Azerbaijan becomes of growing importance. In light of variety of threats that starts to be even more apparent. First and main threat in cyberwarfare is simple espionage. While it becomes more manageable, the danger to the security of your data, strategic plans or any other classified information increases dramatically as it becomes digitalized and networked. Cyberthreats directed toward obtaining such information should be then countered by the comprehensive security measures.
Another area is so-called “information war”. Being a victim of aggression and even having international law on your side does not by itself safeguard Azerbaijan from the flow of false information and propaganda. As our territories still occupied, so is our country still on the defensive in the “information war”, countering negative flow of the information as well as propaganda from Armenia. In such situation you want to maintain both free flow of information for yourself as well as to protect your “information hubs” from being compromised or misused by the enemy.
Third level of danger might bring even more severe consequences if reached. Cyberattacks proved to be able to bring physical and kinetic effects that become much more an alarming threat as the cyber-weapons progress. In the situation like that it is crucial for Azerbaijan to maintain an appropriate level of cybersecurity to protect its critical infrastructure such as energy grids, financial networks and defense industrial base. The rapid digitalization in these areas brought both positive results for overall infrastructure as well as new security concerns. 
For Azerbaijan the development of cybersecurity strategy becomes increasingly important. Comprehensive strategy in this area would provide for the implementation of effective centralized cybersecurity for the whole country to be able to answer any modern challenges of cyberwarfare, explore potential of cyberspace, protect its networks and systems, add to technological innovations in the area and strengthen collective cybersecurity with its international partners.


 Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
03.10.2012

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Ukrainian Gambit

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ukrainian parliamentary elections are getting closer and closer. On October 28, 2012 Ukraine will have to elect its new “Verkhovna Rada” that consists of 450 members, through new combined proportional and majoritarian (also called “First Past the Post”) systems. Under the new electoral legislation half of the seats in Rada will be elected through the former system (party lists), while the rest of them will be filled through the latter system of elections.
Moreover, the new legislation provides that the voting barrier to be reached by the party to be able to get any seats in parliament was raised to 5%, while political blocks are not able to participate in elections at all anymore – political parties only.
Considering all that, when we look at the pre-election situation it seems quite different from what was to see in 2007. No more there are political forces led by the Vladimir Litvin or Alexander Moroz with leftist and socialist ideas and at the same time there are changes in the opposition to the ruling Party of Regions too. Both most charismatic leaders of the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko are serving their sentences in jail due to criminal charges pressed against them almost a year ago. Hence, the opposition went with the policy of unification and gathered under the banners of All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland". While the nominal leader of this Union is still Tymoshenko, it is becoming more obvious that the real leadership already belongs to Arseniy Yatsenyuk whose party Front of Changes became a part of the Fatherland in February this year.
Furthermore, there are new players in the game. Famous Ukrainian boxer Vitaliy Klychko is going to the elections as the leader of his newly developed party UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform). Almost no one expected such a pre-election success of that party and it has to be noted that its currents polls shows 12% of possible votes under the proportional system. Some experts forecast even 15% as the elections result for this party. Interesting situation is with another newcomer to the political battleground in Ukraine – the Party of Natalia Korolevska “Ukraine – Forward!” Though it is still unknown if this party will be able to reach 5% barrier (current polls less than 4%), it is still impressive how such a fast-runner could prove so well on the pre-election stage.
Last but not least is the participation in the elections of All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" led by Oleh Tyahnybok. The Union unites the nationalistic ideologies of Ukraine and currently believed to be able to pass the voting barrier and get its seats in parliament. Svoboda is in strong opposition to the Communist Party of Ukraine that has been steady in its decrease in popularity, however still able to get enough votes to secure seats in parliament.
From the general outlook to the situation one can see the progress in the political development in Ukraine in the sense that there are new political forces on the ground, new coalitions and balances on the table and there seems to be no stagnation in the ideological matters. However, when analyzing the situation on the practical level, everything seems quite different.
United opposition Fatherland on the current polls is a little bit stronger that the Party of Regions on proportional system and they have already negotiated the representation of the candidates in majoritarian system with Svoboda. However, there are still hindrances to the opposition in terms of the unequal opportunities in the pre-election campaigning.
When it comes to UDAR of Klychko and the party of Natalia Korolevska they tend to position themselves as an opposition to the current government, however there are some specifics that may indicate that the situation is less clear. For example, the main financial sources of “Ukraine – Forward!” come from the circles that are close to the Party of Regions, whereas the party of Klychko is still unable to reach some kind of agreement with the united opposition and their allies.
That leaves us with the Party of Regions that has a very interesting strategy. Apart from their customary coalition with the Communist Party, they seem to direct attention more to the first past the post candidates rather than to their party lists. The strategy then will be in form of “Ukrainian Gambit”, by sacrificing the victory on proportional system to the opposition, while gaining more seats in parliament through majoritarian system and securing the dominancy when attracting the possible “swinging parties” like “Ukraine – Forward!” or even UDAR of Klychko (if unable to reach an agreement with opposition) to their coalition in the parliament. 

Will the ruling Party of Regions be able to get its ultimate goal of 300 seats in parliament, thus securing an absolute constitutional majority, remains to be seen. Much will depend on if the new parties will be willing to make their own gambit and sacrifice the democracy for the representation in the parliament.

Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
03.10.2012
New Europe, Issue 1002, 14-20 October.
 

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Environment is Meant to Gain More Space in International Law

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

There are certain things that sometimes escape international lawyer’s mind. Important things that sometimes are lost in the shadows of conflicts and crisis situations, treaties and customary regulations of war and peace. I am talking about environmental concerns of the modern world and how international law is in attempt to regulate them.
To start discussing the regulations in themselves it is important to first remind ourselves about the reasoning behind the environmental challenges. I was reminded by one particular panel on Crans Montana Forum that was held in Baku in the very end of June, called “The Impact of Globalization on the World Environment”. When panel’s keynote-speaker Vice-President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, IDEA Campaign founder Leyla Aliyeva was delivering her speech it was striking to me that though I knew that our country was left with major environmental concerns just after the Soviet past, I practically never stopped to think that it is I who will be one of those responsible for future cleanup, as every other citizen of my generation will be. When Ms. Aliyeva was talking about the role of younger generation in the prevention of negative effects to the environment – it became clear to me that everyone of us will be responsible to the answer the environmental challenges in his/her own capacity. If I am an international lawyer – then it is quite obvious where I should raise awareness.
However it is not enough just to spread the word and conduct your efforts accordingly. You need to relay them into the future. Just as Ms. Aliyeva pointed out – education on environment is essential to address the future environmental challenges. Our generation when growing up lacked that kind of education due to the period of change and struggle to the basic development, however now we owe it to our children to provide them with the knowledge they need to continue what we will start in preserving our nature, taking care of environment and striving for sustainable development. Because just like Ms. Aliyeva said – the young people are the forth front for environmental developments.
If there will be no action now we might one day find ourselves in the situation described by the other speaker on the panel Mr. Subramaniam Eassuwaren, New Leader 2012 from Sri Lanka who told his very said however educational story of how Sri Lanka lost almost 90% of its rainforests to the development without heed to the environmental protection. If we don’t want to face such situation sometime in the future, we need to answer the call of Ms. Aliyeva that there is a need for urgent actions and commitments on the part of younger generations.
So what does the international law do right now to protect environment? Mostly sought topics of regulation in international law concerning environment are climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity, transfrontier pollution, marine pollution, endangered species, hazardous materials and activities, cultural preservation, desertification and the uses of seas. All of these topics in one or another matter have found themselves in the scope of international environmental law. It is worth mentioning that United Nations has its own Environmental Programme.
However the main question still remains on how to enforce the international environmental law. Of course there are forums that provide the arbitration to environmental disputes between states. There are several international arbitration panels, including International Court of Justice itself. The major problem is that such arbitrations require states to voluntarily submit to their jurisdictions. In addition even if there is a decision made in the international arbitration, it heavily depends on national governments to enforce such decisions. Problems arise when the implementations of ruling is withheld or suspended due to the political or economic reasons.
Another hindrance in the implementation of international environmental law is the lack of the international body charged with the responsibility to enforce such law directly. Thus the responsibility lies on the national authorities to adopt and use implementing policies. That is why it is very important for the international bodies to at least conduct monitoring and diplomatic functions when it comes to the responsibility of the states to protect environment.
Nonetheless, it seems that there is an upcoming tendency of international community to get more involved in the matters concerning international environmental regulations. Though a lot still depends on the good will of the states it is everybody’s responsibility to raise awareness of the situation and demand the effective implementation of the norms that will help us save our future. And it is the responsibility of international lawyers everywhere to take action in the lobbying and promoting the efforts to enforce international environmental law. With that it can truly be said that environment is meant to gain its proper space in international law.

Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
17.07.2012



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Neighborhood Challenge: Outlook to Caspian Security from Azerbaijan

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Monday, July 16, 2012

            Caspian Basin can best be described as a strategic natural border linking five states: Russia on the north, Iran on the south, two Central-Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on the east and South-Caucasian Azerbaijan on the west. Caspian Basin rich with natural resources and at the same time situated in geopolitically important region has long since become their collective concern of the neighboring states both in matters of delimitation of the basin as well as with security issues.
            Most of the conflicts of interest on the Caspian arise due to the fact that neighboring states have yet to decide on its legal status and establish recognized borders. Azerbaijan in its turn has always maintained the view that Caspian Sea has to be divided into five sectors. Thus in the limits of its own sector each state would be able to exercise its sovereignty.
            Such a position has a strong merit due to the fact that though Caspian is usually referred to as “sea” in reality is a very big lake as it is inland and does not constitute a part of the ocean. Thus, international law that can be applied to the seas does not apply to the Caspian, making the legal status of Caspian negotiable between the neighboring countries. However, it should be kept in mind that the customary practice of states in cases with bordering lakes is usually sector-based approach.
            Another matter is the environmental security of the basin. Here the approach changes due to the fact that any environmental damage to the Caspian Sea in localized sector would inevitably cause damage to all of the neighboring states. Hence, the situation calls for the approach based on the collective responsibility to protect environment.
            As opposed to the environment there are also military concerns. Recent years have shown steady growth of naval forces of all five neighboring states with Russia and Iran conducting modernization of their Caspian-based vessels and equipment, while Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan made considerable purchases of their own. Such situation was inevitably stimulating for Azerbaijan to start developing its naval military presence to be able to maintain its own naval security. Though such a military growth created a lot of speculations on why there is a need for Azerbaijan to develop naval presence so rapidly and against which country such a trend can be directed, these speculations are quite baseless due to the fact that the equipment Azerbaijan have purchased, was defensive in nature and thus cannot be directed against anybody. Plus it is only natural that Azerbaijan would build up on its naval security considering the overall geopolitical situation in the region.
            In May 2012 in line with such strategy Azerbaijan has conducted its naval military exercises called “Protection of Oil and Gas Fields, Platforms, and Export Pipelines” using ships, speedboats and helicopters. The main focus of the exercises was on protection and defense against terrorist attacks with no offensive objectives.
            However, the largest focus in Caspian still remains on energy security. Due to its geographic location Caspian is a very important link for energy transfers between rich with natural gas Turkmenistan and South Caucasus with opening corridors to Europe. For that same reason the idea of Transcaspian pipeline has dragged a lot of attention in both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan as well as in Europe. Construction of such a pipeline would allow for the access of Turkmenistan on the European market while supplying Europe with the natural gas it needs thus creating a steady and secure flow of the energy resources from Central Asia.
            Though the project in itself is purely financial, there is a clear picture that it might not be in full accord with political, financial and other interests of other Caspian states. Especially with the borders of Caspian Sea still under question, level of political pressure rises atop the idea of the new pipeline. However, for official Baku it seems the issue stays in the limits of pure practicality. While Azerbaijan expresses both its interest and readiness for the creating of Transcaspian pipeline it will pursue its financial interests and the final decision will be made surely on the grounds of financial feasibility rather than issue-based negotiations. In light of that, it seems only logical that the decision should be made by the two interested states in the limits of their sovereign sectors of the Caspian without need for politicizing the overall process.
           All in all the common security of the Caspian is a serious issue for Azerbaijan. There are still challenges with both legal status of the sea as well as in issues of energy and military security. All of these are possible to overcome with the constructive and pragmatic approach that Azerbaijan is trying to adopt and relay.


Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
11.07.2012

New Europe, Issue 995, 15-21 July.

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ICC vs. Libya: Taylor still in the middle

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

It is more than three weeks since Melinda Taylor was detained in Zintan as the result of the standoff between International Criminal Court (ICC) and Libyan interim authorities on who will put Saif Gaddafi on trial. Ms. Taylor was a part of ICC delegation that traveled June 6, 2012 to Zintan to meet with S.Gaddafi. Due to the indictment of Gaddafi by the ICC in crimes against humanity, Ms. Taylor was appointed as his lawyer to represent him in future trial in Hague. Militants that are responsible for the detention of the Saif Gaddafi, have reported that ICC team was in possession of several documents, one of which was a letter from one of the former accomplices of Gaddafi that is now residing in Egypt. That letter served as an official motive for the militants to detain Ms. Taylor and her team on June 7th.
The situation attracted concern and attention from international community and many experts in international criminal and humanitarian law as well as certain governments and their officials.
Australian Prime Minister J.Gillard called on Libyan authorities to expedite the end of Ms. Taylor’s (who is an Australian national) detention. Australian Foreign Minister B.Carr said that there seems to be no interest from Libyans in the early release of Taylor and she was denied communication with her family, however her detention conditions are quite good. International movement Coalition for International Criminal Court have also extended its support to Taylor and urged the Libya to release the lawyer as soon as possible.
Nonetheless, the most interesting reaction was from ICC itself that posted press release on June 22, 2012. Through it ICC states that: “… [it] takes seriously the information reported by Libyan authorities in relation to the ICC staff members’ visit. The ICC fully understands the importance of the matter for the Libyan authorities and the people of Libya” and that: “… [it] attaches great importance to the principle that its staff members, when carrying out their functions, should also respect national laws. The information reported by the Libyan authorities will be fully investigated in accordance with ICC procedures following the return of the four staff members. For this purpose, the Court will be seeking further background information from the Libyan authorities. The ICC will remain in close contact with the Libyan authorities to inform them of progress.” Basically, Court have only acknowledged the graveness of the situation as its staff members were accused of breaching the domestic laws in Libya and its readiness to work with Libyan authorities on the matter. At the same time it did not demand the immediate release of its staff, only hinted that according to the procedures of the Court there will be an inquiry after the return of its four staff members.
Moreover, Court “… deeply regrets any events that may have given rise to concerns on the part of the Libyan authorities. In carrying out its functions, the Court has no intention of doing anything that would undermine the national security of Libya. When the ICC has completed its investigation, the Court will ensure that anyone found responsible for any misconduct will be subject to appropriate sanctions”. It seems Court have tried to secure itself in case there was a legitimate breach of domestic law on account of its staff and ensures Libyan authorities there are no hostile intentions on its part.
However, the question is still standing on whether the Libyan authorities had a right to detain ICC staff in the first place. Right now in the international law there are two standing arguments both supporting the claim that ICC staff should possess diplomatic immunity abroad when engaged in the official Court business. One of them argues in favor of applying customary international law. Basically, it argues that even states that are actively at war in vast majority of cases honor the immunity of their respective officials and diplomats. International relations are in themselves bound to one of the oldest principles of international law that is immunity. When we are talking about diplomacy, negotiations of treaties and agreements, international organizations activity we have to keep in mind that all of that would have been impossible without the notion of immunity. Thus considering the practice of states – diplomatic immunity should also be covering ICC officials.
The other point of view refers us back to the law of the treaties. There is an Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ICC (APIC). Even though Libya has not ratified this agreement (as it hasn’t ratified Statute of ICC itself), the argument draws and analogy to the referral of the case of Gaddafi to the ICC by the UN Security Council. Thus if Libya is bound by the rules of ICC Statute through the referral, same goes to the immunities of its staff.
Whatever the stance of the international law is, however, it seems that ICC and UN Security Council are far from pushing its implementation, therefore putting Ms. Taylor in the middle. Nonetheless, diplomatic immunities have to be respected at all times.

Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
27.06.2012

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China vs. Philippines: What will the U.S. do?

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Monday, May 14, 2012

The dispute between Philippines and China around the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island in South China Sea has been getting worse for the past several weeks. The conflict is over at most the few meters of land, mostly under water, that the two states claim their sovereignty over. Of course the main bargain is going on over the fishing and mineral resources in the waters surrounding the area that such sovereignty gives right to exploit. It is worth mentioning that there is no common understanding on even the nature of the territory. Chinese regard these lands as island, while Philippines call it a shoal.
Last several days the heat of the conflict was mostly stirred up by the Chinese part of the dispute. There were statements on government’s main media outlet CCTV claiming (“mistakenly”) the “unquestionable sovereignty” of China over Philippines. The spokesman on CCTV probably meant the area in dispute, however the statement did it job in raising tensions over whole situation. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs have also warned Philippines that China is fully prepared to respond to any escalation in the dispute if its sovereignty is being threatened. It also seems that the Chinese travel agencies have temporarily stopped providing tours to Philippines. At the same time Chinese Embassy in Philippines made a warning statement to Chinese nationals in Philippines calling on them to be cautious and preferably refrain from going outdoors as the anti-Chinese protests are expected to occur. Chinese military have also made statements to the media that warned that attempts to claim the rightful sovereignty of China over Huangyan Island will be prevented by the armed forces.
This conflict has a parallel track of “cyber-warfare”. There are reports of mutual cyber-attacks on both sides. First at the end of April, Chinese hackers have reportedly attacked the website of the University of Philippines, while Filipino hackers have retaliated with their own breaches of the Chinese web resources. The row of mutual attacks has continued since with the recent “prank” of Chinese hackers to post a flag of China on the Philippines News Agency. It is worth noting that Philippines have called on both sides to stop these cyber-war, while Chinese authorities have not come forward with similar demands.
Overall it seems that situation is on the track of escalation and raises the fair question on what will be the U.S. actions if the situation will get much worse and we will see the political dispute turn to an armed standoff or even hostilities. The U.S. involvement in the matter will not be dictated by mere geopolitical presence in the region, but also by U.S. obligations under the international law.
As it happens a treaty exists between Philippines and the U.S. called Mutual Defense Treaty. This treaty was signed in August 30, 1951 and mainly dictates that both nations would support each other in case they are under attack by the third party. In its preamble the treaty reinforces the faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, expresses desire to strengthen the “fabric of peace in the Pacific Area”, while attempting to declare the unity and common determination of U.S. and Philippines to defend themselves from external armed attack. The most interesting are the articles IV and V of the aforementioned treaty. Article V of the treaty talks about the definition of such external armed attack: “…an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific”. Taking into account that South China Sea is considered to be Pacific, it looks like the Filipino vessels are largely covered by the treaty in the meaning of an armed attack subject.
However, what are the U.S. committed to should attack on Philippines occur from the third party? Article IV provides that: “[e]ach Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes. Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”
The need to involve the UN Security Council is quite understandable. However, it is worth noting that U.S. is obliged only to “act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes” (for example unilateral presidential action). Nonetheless, the overall meaning of the treaty is quite clear – the attack on either of the parties means the attack on both parties. And taking into account that U.S. reaffirmed its commitments under the treaty several times, if the armed conflict between China and Philippines should erupt there might be full-scale U.S. involvement.

Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
12.05.2012

News.az
                Phantom Report

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Humanitarian Access Dilemma in Syria

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Please read my new comment on problems of humanitarian access in Syria - here.


Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
12.04.2012

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Iran and Tensions Surrounding it in the Region

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

The international community is largely still transfixed with the situation surrounding Iran’s Nuclear Program. Officials from both U.S. and Europe believe that Tehran is trying to build nuclear weapons while Iran maintains that the Program’s goal is only to provide electricity to the country without using oil supplies that can be sold abroad as well as to procure the fuel for the medical reactors. And though the tensions surrounding the Iran’s Nuclear Program in one of the most volatile regions of the contemporary world have been there for years their recent escalation began in November 2011, due to the report of the international inspectors from IAEA and the heavier sanctions that immediately followed from the West.
Following the sanctions came Iran’s response in the form of threat to close the Strait of Hormuz disrupting around 20% of global oil traffic. Threats were answered by the U.S. that made it quite clear they prepared to take all necessary actions to maintain the oil flow crucial to the global economy. Strait of Hormuz is one of the most important straits for the international trade exchange and security. While traversing that strait, ships have to pass through the territorial waters of Iran and Oman and follow Traffic Separation Scheme throughout the strait to escape the risk of collision. Basically, that Scheme separates inbound and outbound traffic in the Hormuz through the establishment of two 3 km (1.9 mile) lanes and another 3 km (1.9 mile) in between to navigate the ships flow through Hormuz. Total traffic lane is now around 10 km (5.7 mile) wide.
Generally speaking Iran does not have any legal rights to block of suspend transit passage of ships through Hormuz. Such actions should be considered not only grave breach of international law, but due to the economic and trade nature of the strait, the threat to the international peace and security. That is why it is not surprising that U.S. are prepared to take action in such case even with the use of force. The fact that the presence of the U.S. warships continuously increases in the Gulf area only confirms the gravity of the situation.
Moreover, the tensions around Iran’s Nuclear Program boiled to the point when Israel made a clear message that it is ready to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Such statements from Israel are causing the oil prices to go up thus having an effect that surpasses regional level and goes straight to rattling the already unstable global economy that still can’t get back from sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
Recently global geopolitical players came to the consent to continue negotiations with Iran, after the authorities in Teheran made statements that they would allow international inspectors access to the classified military complex Parchin. Before that moment Iran refused such access. However, it is still unclear how limited and conditional such access would be.
The primary goal of the sanctions against Iran is usually described as an effort to disrupt its Nuclear Program by the means of distancing the country from international financial system, including both institutions and funds. The coordinated sanctions imposed by Europe and U.S. aim first at the banking system. Second target became companies that are related to the Iran’s nuclear industry as well as some petrochemical and oil industries. Common understanding is that such sanctions should weaken Iranian government through depravation from possibilities to develop and invest in the oil industry and gasoline refinement.
As sanctions came into the effect the response of Teheran was to further escalate the tensions by suspending the oil exports to U.K. and France and threatening to do the same in relation to other European states. Interesting fact is that these countries are least dependent on Iranian oil from all 27 European Union states. Thus the Teheran’s pressure so far seems more diplomatic in nature than real response to sanctions.
The intensification of tensions around the situation is on the rise since. Experts speculate about Israeli attack on Iran nuclear facilities, enforcement of sanctions grows stronger and Iran threatens with retaliation, while at the same time expresses its readiness to cooperate with IAEA to prove peaceful nature of its Nuclear Program.
Another situation that adds pressure on regional security is of course the atrocities in Syria. While the situation is of a grave concern to the international community UN Security Council is at the legal stalemate initiated by Russia and China. So far both Russia and the West agree only that the main role in negotiating peace in the country should belong to the Arab League. The problem is the fresh memory of the Libyan resolution in the Security Council. In the Libyan case, the U.S. and EU countries’ interpretation of the strict resolution on the situation was so wide it included participation on one side of the civil war, which led to the change of the regime in Libya and ultimately to the brutal death of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who (although an international criminal) should have been brought to justice. At the same time Russia and China see an intervention into Syria as an opportunity for U.S. to weaken Iran distancing the country from one of its allies.
Moreover, the rising tensions in the relations between Iran and Azerbaijan making the picture of a very tense and otherwise overloaded with security issues region quite complete. Fearing the possible presence of the U.S. forces close to Iranian northern borders coupled with concerns for the large Azerbaijani minority living on the northern part of Iran, made Teheran start a real information war against Azerbaijan in its media, following the attempts to assassinate famed Israelis on the Azerbaijani soil through specially trained armed groups.
Overall situation in the region has been tied into a very tense geopolitical knot. World powers are watching the situation that can spill over into the violent outbreak very closely, trying to allocate the possible scenarios for the future of Iran. Which at the moment doesn’t seem so bright.

Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)

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Speech at Netanya Academic College, Israel

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Watch my speech at the "The Israel-Azerbaijan Strategic Alliance. Marking twenty years since the Khojaly Massacre" conference on February 27 , 2012 in Netanya Academic College, Israel:

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Human Rights Friendly Public Administration

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

In XXI century public administration is something that has been through already centuries driven development process. In the realities of democratic building and development Azerbaijan have also set out certain goals and made certain achievements on the process of building effective public administration. Recent studies show that for the public administration to be effective, it needs to be human rights friendly.
To achieve that goal you have to take certain steps to ensure integration of human rights into the administration system. First you need to:
1.     work towards improvement of the human rights protection techniques and ensure compliance of the public and private sector with their human rights;
2.   adopt the program to counter measures that undermine the universal compliance with human rights standards;
3.    take appropriate steps to include the promotion and protection of human rights into all foreign and internal policy areas and activities;
4.    provide the conditions for the support of international human rights instruments as well as the national human rights initiatives;
5.     actively involve civil society into implementation of your human rights driven public administration;
6.      ensure the cooperation with human rights monitoring institutions;
7.      strive to provide equal opportunities for human rights defense.

This is a non-exhaustive list of initial measures to be taken to shape your public administration system into human rights friendly encasement. Since the UN Charter came into force in 1945, the process of integration of human rights into public administration has maintained its focus on ensuring the adoption and implementation of the international legal norms that apply to the state when they treat foreign citizens as well as own peoples. The process largely started with the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the two covenants that followed the Declaration in 1966 – the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. That process led to a large number of conventions being adopted in more specific areas of international human rights law. In this regards the states should consider themselves on a regular and ongoing routine whether there is a necessity for further regulation in that area. Azerbaijan as well is very active towards creating all necessary conditions to apply the international instruments on human rights. Even after you have established norms the challenge would be to turn the words on paper into action and concentrate on the efforts to implement effectively these human rights obligations in practice through your public administration.
Another matter that amounted to implementation was the establishment of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 1993 and reflected the understanding of the states the role human rights play in international community’s life. Same trend continued with the set-up of the International Criminal Court whose main job is prosecuting perpetrators of most grave violations of international law such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Usually it is a job of the states to commit resources and efforts towards the follow-up on international obligations that demand compliance with these standards of implementation, including efforts in public administration.
Civil society, including international organizations that work independently are playing an increasingly important role in a networked world where more and more issues, concerns and solutions are of a transnational nature and require an international cooperation. Independent institutions make a great effort on national as well as on international level playing a role of watchdogs and promoters of international human rights law. And at the national level in their respective areas they become a source of invaluable expert knowledge. Monitoring, reporting and advisory functions on human rights are also a large responsibility of national human rights institutions. These institutions should be base on the basic principles embedded into the UN system to ensure that they have a comprehensive mandate for the promotion and protection of human rights, thus making the public administration more open to human rights organizations. UN bestowed mandate would mean that contributions of the aforementioned organizations will be considered of importance to the universality of human rights.
Thus government’s approaches in public administration should include high priorities to effective cooperation with civil society as well as with international and local NGOs and human rights organizations. Such cooperation should be of a great value to all the parties. The process of such cooperation should be considered in the public administration efforts as continuous and developing. In the end understanding of the importance of such relations between government and human rights institutions comes with results of the effective public administration. In this regards the support of civil society in human rights work on an ongoing basis is very important and should involve relevant organizations. In that sense next step will be to further ensure the outlined framework of promotion of the efforts in that area. All such measures would amount to the effective human rights policy towards public administration.
Political parties and parliaments that are acting according to the democratic rules are the corner stones of human rights promotion in public administration. First of all there should not be a tendency to ignore the parliament’s decisions as they are an important democratic factor. There should be assistance to political parties to better manage their mandate on human rights protection. Thus the governments should take considerable steps to intensify their support for these areas. The goal and primary objective is to establish responsible, transparent and effective political system of parties and parliaments. These steps are crucial to the consolidation of a civil society through the course of promotion of human rights in public administration.
Governments should by themselves as well as jointly with other states work towards promotion and protection of human rights simultaneously in bilateral relations with other governments and correspondingly – in regional and international cooperation. Added value should be extracted from the building of the framework where various actions complement each other thus enabling the government to synchronize its foreign policy with public administration in the human rights sphere.
Summarizing aforementioned principles it is worth noting that through the course of making its public administration more human rights friendly Azerbaijan was able to:


1. Strengthen its efforts to develop effective human rights friendly institutions and well-functioning legal system;
2. Strengthen its efforts to comprehensively implement bilateral, multilateral and international initiatives in the human rights area;
3. Take considerable steps towards strengthening the effect of the UN human rights activities on regional and municipal level;
4. Contribute to protection of human rights in courts and legal system;
5. Work to strengthen freedom of expression;
6. Maintain the significance of principles of the rule of law to human rights promotion and protection;
7. Strengthen the institutions that are of great importance to a effectively functioning law-governed society;
8. Take other necessary steps towards ensuring more human rights friendly public administration.

Making your public administration framework more accessible to human rights area is not a non-recurrent one-time only case. It is a long and always developing process that needs to answer the challenges and demands of time every single day. Keeping in mind the universality of human rights law and its standards may contribute greatly to the goal of making your public administration human-oriented.

Kamal Makili-Aliyev
Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
15.03.2012

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