For the first time, the entire corps of candidate judges of Azerbaijan took part in an intensive training seminar on “Ensuring Women’s Access to Justice”. Two groups, comprising a total of 126 candidate judges, took part in the training seminar on 1-3 May 2017 in Baku, in the framework of the Council of Europe and European Union Project “Improving Women’s Access to Justice in the Six Eastern Partnership Countries”. Organised by the Justice Academy of Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe, the training had three main objectives:
- Strengthen the capacity of future judges to ensure a gender-responsive approach in their work and to promote an impartial, fair and just system that provides legal protection and remedies to all, including women experiencing human rights violations, in areas such as domestic violence, sexual violence, and family law.
- Increase the knowledge of candidate judges on relevant Council of Europe standards, including the European Convention on Human Rights and key cases of the European Court of Human Rights, and the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention), as well as universal standards such as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
- Pilot with the trainers of the Academy of Justice of Azerbaijan, the draft Training Manual for Judges and Prosecutors on Ensuring Women’s Access to Justice and receive feedback for the finalisation and publication of the Training Manual in the fall of 2017.
By implementing the Training Manual, the seminar covered the conceptual framework on women’s access to justice, including through issues of women’s human rights, non-discrimination and gender stereotyping in the judiciary; international and national standards including on domestic violence, sexual violence, and harmful practices; as well as other legal and procedural issues, including evidentiary questions, remedies, sentencing and enforcement of judgments, interactions with women victims and witnesses, and gender-sensitive courtroom management, among others.
Throughout the implementation of this Project in 2015-2017, the training of legal professionals, including judges and prosecutors, has been identified as a key goal in the removal of obstacles to women’s access to justice in the Eastern Partnership countries. The seminar achieved the important results of training 126 future judges and of adapting a training programme for the Azerbaijani national context on the basis of the draft Training Manual for Judges and Prosecutors on Ensuring Women’s Access to Justice. Another two-day training seminar will be organised for sitting judges and prosecutors, to be held in Baku in June 2017.