The Framework of Criminal Law
Legislation on Bias-motivated Violence
|Bias-motivated Violent Crimes as Specific Offenses||Bias as an Express General Aggravating Factor||Bias as an Aggravating Factor in Specific Common Crimes|
Bias Types Covered by Provisions on Aggravating Circumstances
|Race/National Origin/Ethnicity||Religion||Sexual Orientation||Gender||Disability||Other|
Bias as an Express General Aggravating Factor
The Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, which came into effect on September 1, 2000, includes general provisions that expressly enable racist and other bias motives of the offender to be taken into account by the courts as an aggravating circumstance for sentencing.
Article 61: “Circumstances Aggravating Punishment” gives rise to more serious penalties, including part (1)(f) “a motive of national, racial, or religious hatred” in the commission of crimes. It does not set out the scope of these enhanced penalties.
Bias as an Aggravating Factor in Specific Common Crimes
Specific penalty enhancements are also available in the case of murder committed with bias motives. Article 120 punishes murder with incarceration ranging from seven to twelve years. Article 120(2)(l) defines murder “with a motive of national, racial, or religious hatred” as punishable “by incarceration for twelve to fifteen years, or by life imprisonment.”
The legislation, while fairly complete, is apparently not applied. In its Second Report on Azerbaijan, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) reported that “there have been no cases of application of these provisions to date” and further suggested that “it is essential that specific training on the relevant provisions against racism and racial discrimination be provided to all actors involved in the criminal justice system, from the police to the prosecuting authorities and the judges.”
 Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, January 31, 2005, http://www.legislationline.org/legislations.php?jid=6<id=15.
 ECRI, “Report on Azerbaijan,” adopted on June 22, 2002 and made public on April 15, 2003, para. 15.