Garib Mammadov, (Chairman, State Committee for Land and Cartography, Baku)
The collapse of Soviet Union becoming the most significant event of XX century, has brought to former Soviet republics freedom and independence, but at the same time has involved them in a vice of political cataclysms and economic crisis’s. Destruction of economic, cultural, public - psychological relations built in decades resulted with big losses in Azerbaijan, as well as in other republics. Realizing the historical inevitability of the developed situation our people selected a correct political and economic rate on creation of new relations according to the conditions of the market economy. At the same time the numerous economic, political and other problems that arose in first three years (1991-1993), before the country became independent were not only not solved, but in fact were aggravated with attempts of revolution and political intrigues, and by the conflict with neighboring Armenia which resulted in putting almost one million our compatriots in the position of refugees and IDP’s. Because of the incompetence of leaders of the country production of an industrial output has fallen on 62 %, agricultural on 44 %, the standard of living of the population has considerably decreased. In such conditions the country needed in skilful, competent and great politician, known in the modern world, the competent and resolute leader, the head of the state who would deduce the country from heavy crisis.
It is necessary to emphasize a special role of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in achievement of stabilization in the country and creation of political and legal preconditions for carrying out the land reform. As a result of wise and far-sighted internal and foreign policy of Heydar Aliyev who has taken up the responsibility for destiny of the country since the summer of 1993 the Azerbaijan Republic gradually began to leave a crisis condition. Cease-fire with Armenia and restoration of political stability inside the country allowed Heydar Aliyev to direct all attention to peaceful, creative work.
One of the most important areas of the national economy, which is the focus of attention of the President of Azerbaijan from the date of becoming to power, is the agrarian sector. It is not by a chance. If to recollect 60th it is possible to see, that after Heydar Aliyev became to power of the republic, in agrarian sector, as well as in all other branches of economy of Azerbaijan, began an essential turn for the better.
Since the second half of 1993 under the instruction of President Heydar Aliyev serious steps have been made for carrying out reforms in agrarian sector of the country. With this purpose world practice, especially experience of the countries living a transition period, first of all, have been consistently investigated, experiments in various areas of the country were carried out. For implementation of reforms under the instruction of the president Heydar Aliyev in December, 1994 and March, 1995 the special commissions were created for preparation and realization of bills of reforms in agrarian sector, reform of collective and state farms. We shall note, that since that period carrying out of the land reform which is a part of agrarian reforms, creation of new patterns of ownership on the land, formation of new landowners' relations and rules of legal regulation of these relations are reflected more than in 20 decrees signed by President Heydar Aliyev, and other normative-legal acts.
As a result of a correct and precise agrarian policy of the president Heydar Aliyev since the second half of 90th, in agriculture of Azerbaijan began thorough and stable rise. Transfer of the lands to a private property resulted with basic changes people’s attitude to the land. The Azerbaijan peasant, who turned into the full owner of the land, has a desire effectively cultivate and properly care it. Direct result of the new attitude to the land is that in 1998 up to 80 % of agricultural production has been made in a private sector, and by the end of 1999 this parameter has made over 95 %. Growth of production due to the transfer of the lands to a private property has influenced on the import - export operations being the basic barometer of market economy. In other words, in comparison with the past years in 1998 the import has decreased in 2,6 times, and export has increased more than in 2 times and this tendency has proceeded the following years. From economical point of view the growth of production of agricultural products due to the land reform shows, that the new generation of farmers are people who are more efficient, their approach to all issues more creative and prudent in comparison with former collective farmers. The discontinuance of slump in production of agricultural and cattle-breeding production observed in the country in the beginning of 90th and achievements gained during short time have once again proved an agrarian policy carried out by the head of the state.
2. Principles of realization of the land reform in Azerbaijan. (Principles of issue solving on naming and establishment of borders of the land)
Results of the first stage of land reform in Azerbaijan became the strong base to preparation of scientific and practical bases of its further development.
The law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform", signed by the President of Republic Heydar Aliyev on June, 16, 1996, should be appreciated as an event of historical value in social, political and economic relations. Progressive in content and modern in form, the given Law in true sense of a word opened a new historical stage in land-proprietary relations in Azerbaijan. On the basis of the law having no analogue in the world, the land was transferred to each citizen free-of-charge and gratuitously having the right on reception of a land share according to its average norm. The law marks that the land fund of the country is subdivided into three patterns of ownership - state, municipal and private, thus at the first stage of land reform a part of the land fund of collective and state farms intended for transfer to a private property allocated between the citizens on the basis of the legal documents authorized by the state. The law also states that at the given stage the primary goal of the State Land Committee as an executive structure is to provide citizens with the corresponding document on the property right of the ground. Made calculations showed, in Azerbaijan was present 3 million 300 thousand subjects having the right on reception of a land share, in other words, 830 thousand families. From 2005 facilities existing in republic 41 were kept under the state ownership for those or other purposes (breeding, seed, etc.), other facilities were involved in reform process.
Institutional support of the land reform
The essential financial help in carrying out of land reform has also been rendered by the European Commission within the framework of the Program of food independence of the Azerbaijan Republic and the World Bank at realization of the project of privatization of facilities.
In preparation and realization of land reforms the important role belongs to the State Commission on agrarian reform created on the eve of reform by the special decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic.
This commission has played very important role especially at a previous stage to land reform, and now its versatile activity stimulates implementation of many aspects of land reforming. A lot of the normative-legal acts and regulations prepared by this commission have been authorized by the decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the approval of some normative-legal acts ensuring the implementation of agrarian reforms" January 10th, 1997 ¹ 534.
However for realization of such scale reforms developed from the whole complex of actions was necessary to create "headquarter", "the brain center" capable on scientific basis operatively solve the numerous issues inevitably arising during the implementation of the land reform. Such body became the State Land Committee of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Implementation of the land reform in Azerbaijan began on January 10th, 1997, from the date of signing the decree ¹ 534 by the President of the Azerbaijan Republic "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic" On the land reform". It is necessary to especially emphasize that this decree endorsed the performing responsibility of the State Land Committee of Azerbaijan for realization of reforms in the country.
The State Land Committee has started to carry out its activity since 1992. Together with executive structures, regional land departments, Azgiprozem and Center on the land cadastre, monitoring and information which are the parts of it, the SLC carries out the control over the use of uniform land fund, performs works on a land cadastre and monitoring, prepares annual balance of the lands of the country, executes works on transfer of collective, state farm lands to a private property according to requirements of the Law "On the land reform", prepares and gives out to citizens the State certificate on the property right of the land, determines groups of quality lands through researches of the land and simultaneously puts into a practice all other tasks following from authorized Regulation.
In spite of the fact that SLC has been carrying out its activity since 1992, as a real executive structure it started actively functioning only in 1993. In 1996, after the acceptance of important economic and political decisions by the head of the state President Heydar Aliyev, especially significant for realization of land reforms, and coming into force on June, 16, 1996 the Decree of the President "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic" On the land reform" the SLC started working on documenting and preparation of complex land construction projects for realization of reforms.
With a view of creation of legal base for successful realization of land reform more than 20 laws, decrees and other normative-legal acts were signed for a short period of time by the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev.
Land reforms carried out in the Republic have been met with the big interest in CIS countries. Delegations of such countries as Moldova, Ukraine, Tajikistan, etc., have visited the SLC and have comprehensively familiarized themselves with its activity with the purpose of studying the Azerbaijan experience and its possible application in their countries.
Thus, process and methods of realization of the land reforms included in a history of independent Azerbaijan as " Heydar Aliyev's agrarian reforms ", can be accepted in the future as an optimum model as well by CIS countries.
End of process of distribution of the lands to citizens under the official document (state certificate) indicated the end of the first stage of land reforms.
Currently the SLC has such important tasks as realization of the next stages of the reform including introduction into practice the sale and purchase, pledge of the lands, control over use of reserved, state and municipal lands, organization of rational use of winter and summer pastures, places for cattle pasture and other lands of the state fund, involving in reform personal plots, delivery of certificates on personal plots and country sites, creation of land balance by regions, creation and implementation of the mechanism of a land stock exchange, organization of works on a land cadastre in regions and cities, monitoring of lands etc. For these purposes the State Committee on Land and Cartography prepared the program on creation and application of information system allowing to conduct a uniform land cadastre in all territory of Azerbaijan on scientific basis. (In 2001 the State Committee on the Land and Cartography has been created on the basis of the SLC and the Committee on Geodesy and Cartography).
It should be noted, that during the last years, under the initiative of the head of the state, for creation of modern farms in 6 pilot organizations the soft loan of 30 million US dollars has been received from the International Bank, developed rehabilitation programs and received additional credit of 20 million US dollars for restoration of the war damaged facilities in Agdam, Fuzuli and Ter-Ter.
Now, the databank is created in the committee on the land, covering all the information concerning Uniform land fund of the Azerbaijan Republic. Besides, the committee carries out the functions on sale, purchase and tenancy of the lands, regulation relations of the state and citizens on the state, municipal and privatized lands assigned to it as to an executive body.
Legal issues of land reform in Azerbaijan (Legislative sphere of the rights on the land and real estate)
In the last years before the disintegration of the USSR the economy of Azerbaijan being the integral component of the economy of former Soviet Union has come to decline. Profitable work of collective and state farms, other agricultural enterprises making the forms of public management became impossible, in other words, the use of the lands used to be in public facilities appeared to be inefficient. Gradually with difficulties arisen in operation of meliorative, irrigational constructions and objects, as well as not implemented agrotechnical actions, valuable natural facility sites covered with irrigating networks began to come in an unusable condition.
Implementation of land reform in the country was only correct exit from such situation. Just this necessity induced the acceptance of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform" July 16th, 1996 ¹ 1551 IÃ which defined the bases for carrying out the land reform in the Azerbaijan Republic.
The purpose for implementation of the land reform according to the accepted Law was creation of qualitatively new relations of the land property on the basis of the principles of economic freedom and social justice, development of market economy and the enterprise initiative, achievement of economic independence of the country including food provision and increase thereof material well-being of Azerbaijan people. Tasks of the land reform also consist in definition of the state lands in the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic, transfer of the lands into municipal and private property, warranting the rights of proprietors on possession, use and order of the land.
According to the Law "On the land reform " object of the land reform is the uniform land fund of the Azerbaijan Republic. The uniform land funds of the Azerbaijan Republic are the lands remaining in a state ownership or transferred into municipal or private property (privatized) as a result of land reform.
By the law it is established, that the land is transferred into the private property of only physical and legal persons of the Azerbaijan Republic. For physical and legal persons of the foreign countries, as well as for persons who are not being citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic, the ground area can be transferred only for use or rent.
One of essential features of the given Law is that on its basis all kinds of the property (state, municipal, private) are equal in rights and protected by the state. The subject of the property right to the lands in state ownership is the Azerbaijan state, in municipal property - municipalities, and in private property - citizens and legal persons of the Azerbaijan Republic.
The state management in the field of use and protection of the lands in state ownership is run by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic within the framework of its powers based on the specified Law.
Lands transferred into the municipal property are the lands within the limits of corresponding administrative territory, minus the grounds left in state ownership and transferred into the private property.
The lands in legal use of citizens - individual apartments, personal plots, individual, collective and cooperative gardens, summer residences under the conduct of the state country facilities as well as the privatized lands of state, collective farms are transferred into the private property.
The specified Law establishes bases for privatization of the lands of the state and collective farms. The law "On the land reform" also identifies persons (subjects) having the right on reception of a share from the privatized lands of the state and collective farms; persons permanently working in the state and collective farms, constantly living in the territory of the state or collective farm till August 2nd, 1996, left on pension from state and collective farms and living in the territory of corresponding area (city), as well as others called on military service from this territory and temporarily absent. Besides, the Law gives the right on reception of a land share within the limits of its average norm also to founders of private forms of management created in the territory of the state or collective farm before the day the Law became effective and carry out activity according to the assignment, and to persons whose basic working place is the given enterprise.
The land is transferred in a private property of the persons having the right on reception of the land share according to the social justice on uniform norms, depending on the area, quality of the privatized lands and number of subjects having the right on reception of the land share. Validity of the Law is that additional land share is given to the families of victims of fights for territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, to veterans of war - to invalids and persons participated in the liquidation of Chernobyl failure.
In the land reform process appear land proprietors who in comparison with members of public forms of management get rights on possession and order of the land along with the right of land tenure. The land is transferred into the private property in the unprecedented form for the world: without payment (compensation) of the cost to the persons having the right on reception of a share from the lands privatized during the land reform in the Azerbaijan Republic on the basis of the Law "On the land reform".
Acceptance of the Law on land reform has marked a new stage not only in the field of land tenure and relations in Azerbaijan, but also was the first decisive step on a way of radical turn to market economy, to new values and reference points in whole system of management. Naturally, so radical undertaking could not be made in one stage and demanded serious efforts and support, including maintenance with solid legislative base. Therefore, right after the publication of the Law "About land reform" the presidential decree "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform " dated August 13th, 1996 ¹ 482 has been issued.
This decree says, the registration of the rights on the land ownership stipulated by the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform" is carried out by the SLC of the Azerbaijan Republic.
According to the Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform" dated August 13th, 1996 ¹ 482 and the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform" the Cabinet of Ministers developed Regulations on transfer of unsuitable or of little use lands for an agriculture in favorable terms authorized by the decision "On transfer of unsuitable or of little use lands for an agriculture in favorable terms" dated October 17th, 1996 ¹ 144.
The given Regulation fixes the order of transfer of unsuitable or of little use lands for agriculture of reserve fund of municipalities to rent for production of agriculture products carried out under the decision of municipal body. The following privileges are stipulated:
- The physical and legal persons willing to produce agriculture products by utilizing taken by them in use and rent of unusable or of little use of lands in a suitable condition by own sources are free of the land tax and rent for the period of six years;
- The 40 percent discount of a standard cost of these lands before utilization is given to the physical and legal persons of the Azerbaijan Republic utilized lands in a suitable condition by own sources and producing on these lands agriculture products willing to take these lands;
- The 60 percent discount of a standard cost of these lands before utilization is given to families of victims of fights for territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, invalids, persons living in a territory of the land and persons created farmer facilities willing to take additional unsuitable or of little use for agriculture lands of the reserved fond of municipality in a property by sale and purchase;
Various strata of the population, in particular families of victims of fights for territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, veterans of war and participants of liquidation of the Chernobyl failure, living in cities of republican submission, regional centers, settlements who did not received land shares taken for use and rent unsuitable or of little use of lands of reserved fund of municipality for production of agriculture products are free from the land tax and rent for the period of 10 years. Citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic of this category, willing to get in property the unsuitable or of little use for agriculture lands of the reserved fund of municipality are given the discount of 70 percent of a standard cost of these lands before their utilization in a suitable condition.
The rules of calculation and payment of the land tax are adjusted by the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land tax", accepted on December 24th, 1996 ¹ 215-1Ã.
Object of taxation by the land tax are the lands transferred into the property and use according to the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic. Collection of taxes for the lands used in territory of the Azerbaijan Republic for needs of other states or joint needs of the Azerbaijan Republic with other states is adjusted by interstate contracts. At absence of such contracts collection of the land tax is carried out in general order. The lands in common use, irrespective of a pattern of ownership, as well as being in state ownership, the lands of natural protection and reserve, recreational and resort, for cultural-historical purpose, the lands of territories protected by the law forbidden for economic activities and the lands of the state, wood, water funds involved in industrial activity and a number of other lands are free from the land tax.
Proprietors and users pay the land tax as stable payment irrespective of the results of economic activities no later than September 15th-November 15th of each year. After reception of the documents confirming their property rights and use on the lands physical and legal persons should be registered in tax body in the same territory. The land tax is raised based on the documents confirming the property right and use of the land. The land tax is calculated depending on the assignment, geographical location and quality of the land and set by multiplication stipulated on cadastre-cost areas of bon points of the land on 300 manats. Financial assets on collection of land tax are enlisted in the state budget, marked by separate line and spent for improvement of the lands based on the state programs. The tax is raised for the last two years from payers whose land tax has not been withheld on due time.
Based on the Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic "On application of laws of the Azerbaijan Republic accepted in connection with improvement of the tax laws of the Azerbaijan Republic" dated January 17th, 1997 ¹ 536 and the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the ground tax" dated December 24th, 1996, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic made the decision "On rates of the land tax" dated May 14th, 1997 ¹ 43.
The decision adopts the table of an estimation of the lands for calculation of the land tax where cadastral price is set by regions including their administrative areas, groups of quality of the lands and conditional points for calculation of the land tax for 1 hectare, separately on sow, fallow and plot lands, the lands under the long-term plantings, as well as the lands for haymaking, cattle pastures and pastures. Legal bases of regulation for conducting the state land cadastre, monitoring and organizational works for the use of the land in the Azerbaijan Republic are determined by the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the state land cadastre, monitoring of lands and organizational works for its use" (¹ 593), effective since December 22nd 1998; the Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic dated March 12th, 1999 (¹ 176) was issued about its application.
The state land cadastre is the set of data on the state registration of land tenure, the land quantity and quality, their bon and economic estimation. Monitoring of the lands is the organization of system of constant supervision over the condition of the land fund for duly revealing and estimation of changes in the separate parameters specifying fertile properties of the lands, prevention and elimination of negative consequences. Organizational work for land use is the system of corresponding actions on solving issues to settle the land relations and rational use of the land.
The law on the state land cadastre, monitoring of the lands and organizational works for land use is to regulate the organization and management in the field of carrying out of cadastral, monitoring and organizational works for land use in the uniform land fund of the Azerbaijan Republic. The primary goals of the legislation are creation of the legal base for carrying out cadastral, monitoring and organizational works for land use in the uniform land fund based on uniform normative and technical documents. The law also reflects main principles of work on the state land cadastre, monitoring and organizational works for land use and rules of conducting a cadastre.
Based on the given Law, in the Azerbaijan Republic is applied the uniform system of the land-cadastral documentation forming the state land cadastre and consisting of legal and technical cadastral documents. Legal cadastral document is the state act on the right of constant use of the land, certificate on transfer of the ground in a property, etc.
Books of registration of such legal documents and plan-cartographical materials, land-cadastral books and cartographical materials on villages, settlement, regions, cities of the Azerbaijan Republic, including the Nakhchevan Autonomous Republic reflecting sizes, categories, indicators of quantity and quality of the lands concern to technical cadastral documents. Other technical documentation, inquiries and the typical forms supplementing uniform system of the land-cadastral documentation are prepared and adopted the SLC of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Decrees of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the state land cadastre, monitoring and organizational works for land use" dated March 12th, 1999, "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On rent of the land " dated March 12th, 1999 and "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land market" dated July 8th, 1999 ¹ 150 were the important documents particularly defining functions of various authorities and government management during implementation of the land reform as a whole and its separate aspects.
In the Decree "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land market" assignments also have been given to the Cabinet of Ministers on various specifications, changes and additions in the land legislation for effective implementation of the land reform and utilization according the legislation on the land with the law "On the land market".
The law "On rent of the ground" on application of which was issued by the Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic dated March 12th, 1999 ¹ 116 established legal bases of transfer to rent of the lands of state, municipal and private property, as well as rent relations. The given Law determines the lands of state, municipal and private property by objects of rent relations on the land. Based on this Law the state and municipal lands are transferred for use to legal and physical persons carrying out activity for extraction of profit, as a rule, on the basis of rent.
Subjects of rent relations on the land are the Azerbaijan Republic, municipalities, legal persons and citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic, foreigners, persons without citizenship, international associations and organizations, the enterprises belonging to foreign investors, and the foreign states as well. Relations between the lessee and the tenant are adjusted by the contract of the land rent. The lease agreement reflects the names of rent holder and the tenant, their legal addresses, rights and duties, data on the size, category of quality, borders and assignment of the land, term of rent, payment and its order.
The decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On rent of the land", states that the contract of land rent has to be registered in the SLC of the Azerbaijan Republic thereof the certificate on the right of temporary use of the state and municipal lands is granted to tenants. The lease agreement not past the state registration is nullified. The land can be transferred in rent to legal and physical persons for long and short-term use. The law establishes the period of short-term rent in 15 years, and long-term rent - from 15 till 99 years. The tenant pays a rent to lessee for term use of the land. One of the most essential features of the Law is that it gives an opportunity of repayment of a rent in monetary and natural form or both. If lessee is the payer of the land tax, the land tax is included in structure of a rent; otherwise the land tax is not included in structure of a rent. The rent for the lands of a private property is set by an agreement of the both parties.
The tenant defines his economic activities according to the lease agreement and independently disposes own production and property.
The law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On write-off of dept taxes of state, collective farms and other legal and physical persons engaged in production of agricultural products (except for the processing enterprises)", authorized by the Order of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic dated April 19th, 1999 ¹ 141 is the important legal act providing successful realization of the first stage of an agrarian reform. The write-off fixed in the Law formed as of January 1st, 1999 and unpaid before coming into force of the of dept taxes of state, collective farms and other legal and physical persons engaged in production of agricultural products (except for the processing enterprises) before the above-stated Law became effective, financial sanctions applied to them and charged penny (except for the land tax charged on personal plots), is evident acknowledgement of realization of the Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic dated March 22nd, 1999 ¹ 118, the next stage of the land policy directed on the urgent decision of problems arising in new conditions in agrarian sector.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land market" (¹ 6651Ã) was accepted on May 7th, 1999. In this law have found reflection the questions concerning all aspects of land-market relations, the purposes and tasks of the legislation on the land market, the organization and regulations of the land market, registration of the rights arising in the land market, the responsibility for infringement of the legislation, the resolution of disputes, etc. According the Law legal persons and citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic can act in the land market as proprietors, users, tenants, depositors, pawnees, participants of transactions of sale and purchase and other transactions.
Foreigners, persons without citizenship, foreign legal persons, international associations, the organizations and the foreign states can also conclude transactions in the land market within the framework of the powers established by the legislation, except for transactions on purchase of the land in the property. Corresponding executive authorities and municipalities participate in the land market within the framework of the powers given them by the legislation.
The law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On fertility of the lands" dated December 30th, 1999 is one of the laws accepted for creation of legal base for rational use of uniform land fund of Azerbaijan. It defines legal bases for maintaining the fertility of the lands for agriculture in state, municipal and private property of the Azerbaijan Republic.
The legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic on maintaining of fertility of the lands for agriculture consists of the specified law, normative-legal acts, and also the land legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic accepted in this regard. Maintenance of fertility of the lands, on a special-purpose designation and a legal regime attributed to other categories is adjusted along with the specified law with the corresponding acts of the Azerbaijan Republic. The legislation on maintenance of fertility of the lands for agriculture is to define the general rules of the state regulation in the field of restoration, increases and preservations of natural properties of soil fertility in the Azerbaijan Republic irrespective of the form of their property.
The structure of the lands for agriculture on target use and a legal regime includes arable lands, the lands under wood strips, inter-farm roads, communications, bogs, reservoirs, structures and installations important for conducting agriculture. The system of management in the field of maintenance of land’s fertility for agriculture includes corresponding executive authorities of the Azerbaijan Republic, municipalities, land proprietors and users.
Essential feature of this law is that it also determines the state tasks in the field of maintenance of land’s fertility for agriculture. In the Law have found all-round reflection such important documents, as the national report on a condition of land’s fertility for agriculture, target programs in the field of maintenance of land’s fertility for agriculture, and also such questions, as the registration of property indicators, monitoring, certification of land’s fertility for agriculture, their agrochemical service.
Very important feature of the Law is that it comprehensively reflected ecological requirements in the field of maintenance of land’s fertility for agriculture. The most important document incorporated all saved up positive experience of scale work in the field of organizational works for the land use and land tenure, is the Land code of the Azerbaijan Republic the document of the lasting value that brought a result of huge creative and practical work on a land reorganization in Azerbaijan carried out under the initiative and leadership of nationally elected president Heydar Aliyev. Acceptance of this code, on one hand, summarized the work already done during the implementation of the land reform, and with another, - put in pawn the strong legal scientifically proved base to the further development and blossoming of agricultural production in Azerbaijan.
The land code of the Azerbaijan Republic was authorized by the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic dated June 25th, 1999 and became effective on August 8th, 1999. The land code of the Azerbaijan Republic is the fundamental document: it consists of 23 chapters of including 113 articles. With no exaggeration it is possible to say that the Land code of Azerbaijan has incorporated all the best, progressive, from similar documents of the world practice, and has successfully developed all this, introduced that original what was necessary to consider in modern conditions with reference to specificity of the land fund and legal land relations in Azerbaijan at the given stage of its development in conditions of post socialist system of management.
In Chapter I of the Code "General provisions" in the very first article where the circle of the statutory acts is determined, called to adjust legal land relations in Azerbaijan, it is specified: "the Land legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic consists of the present Code, the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic on the land reform and other normative-legal acts". Here the basic, priority acts are determined, special value of the Code, and also the law "On the land reform" is underlined.
Item 2 says, that the Land code of the Azerbaijan Republic is directed on settlement of the land relations in Azerbaijan arising on the basis of application of various kinds of the landed property, realization of the duties of owners connected to the land, users and tenants of the land and protection of their rights to the land, creation of conditions for rational use of the lands and their protection, restoration and increase of the land’s fertility, re-cultivation of the lands which have come in unsuitability as a result of pollution and destruction, preservation and improvement of the natural environment.
As we see, among the priority purposes designated in present article, there are also the positions obviously carrying ecological character, in other words, in the given Code their purposes are formulated considering the priorities worth at the present stage in the world community, and tendencies determining priorities of a world science and practice.
Article 3 of the Code is entirely devoted to the land relations. It is established, that "the land relations are the public relations between the state bodies, municipalities, legal and physical persons in the field of the issue of orders about possession of the land, land tenure and about the land, and also in the field of state management the use of natural resources". Following articles "Land area" (a4) and "the Property on the land and its kinds (a5) states literally the following: " The state, municipal and a private property on the land exists in the Azerbaijan Republic. Types of the property are equal in rights and protected by the state " (a5, i1). Further, the same article says: "Objects of the right on the property are: on the lands of the state ownership - the Azerbaijan state, on the lands of municipal property - municipalities, on the lands of the private property – the citizens and legal persons of the Azerbaijan Republic" (a2).
Simply, the corner question on the right of the proprietor to alienate the land in his possession is logically and truly solved. This right follows from the essence of the property right on the land and is formulated in the Code as follows: "the Right of the proprietor on the land consists of the proprietor’s rights to individual possession, use and order of the land " (a3). In other words that is already here, in one of the first articles of the Code fixed and affirmed the basic regulations on that the owner of the land has the right to have the order on the land; thus, he can sell, exchange, hand down, etc. In more detail the owner’s rights on the land are regulated in chapter XII "Rights of legal and physical persons on the land". In special article (49) fixed the right of a private property on the land and it says: " The right of a private property of legal and physical persons on the land is a right of possession, use and order of the lands with observance established by the law and the contract of restrictions and other conditions". The item 2 of same article explains, that the right of a private property of legal and physical persons on the land arises on the basis of privatization, sale and purchase, transition by right of succession, donations, exchange of the state and municipal lads and other transactions related to the land, and also transfer to authorized (share) fund of legal persons.
Basic positions are fixed in the second chapter "Uniform land fund of the Azerbaijan Republic", in fact says, "all lands located within the limits of borders of the Azerbaijan Republic, form its uniform land fund " (a1). Further specified, that the land of the Azerbaijan Republic with a specially purposed designation and a legal regime are subdivided into the following categories:
- The lands for agriculture; the lands of settlements (cities, districts and villages); the lands of industry, transport, defense, communication and other assignment; the lands of territories of special protection; the grounds of fund; the lands of wood, water and reserve funds (a2).
The next article (10) regulated the questions related to the lands of specially purposed designation and legal regime. In particularly it says, that " the legal regime of the lands is a set of rules established by the legislation on the land, town-planning, water, woods, bowels of the ground and wildlife management in the field of realization of use, protection, registration and monitoring of the lands and concerned to all lands attributed to a certain land category ".
The following chapters of the Land code describe the separate land categories. So, in chapter III the lands for agriculture and their structure are considered. In fact regulated such issues, as use of the lands of agriculture, the lands for production and processing of agricultural products, the lands for the research, scientific - educational, educational-practical and test works in the field of agriculture; features of use of the lands under pastures and meadow, and also issues of an establishment of suitability of the lands for agricultural needs.
It is established that suitability of the lands for agricultural needs is determined by public service of organizational works for the use of land based on the information of the State land cadastre. Similarly in chapters IV, V, VI, VII adjusted the issues related to the lands of settlements, the lands allocated for needs of transport, communication, the lands of defense and safety, the lands of territories of special protection attributed to the natural protection zones, reserves, the lands for improvement and recreation, the lands having cultural - historical values.
Substantive provisions on land’s protection are considered and formulated in special chapter (VIII). Here the first place takes ecological motives and emphasizes a problem of restoration of the lands, undergone to radioactive and chemical pollution, and also exogenous geological processes (landslips, have sat, collapses, aeration, erosion, bogging, etc.). One of the major chapters of the new Land code of Azerbaijan is chapter XI "State regulation of use and protection of the land fund ". Special interest represents the article41 "the State land cadastre". In item 1 of this article defines that the State land cadastre" - is the set of necessary and trustworthy information on the state registration of land tenure, the quantitative and qualitative registration, bon and economic estimation of the lands ".
Various aspects of the property right of the state on the land are considered in chapter XI (i 46-47). In chapter XII the rights of legal and physical persons on the land are regulated in detail. Here, besides a general characteristic of the rights of legal and physical persons on the land (i 48), in detail are considered such basic issues as the right of a private property on the land (i 49), the right of use of the land (i 50), the right of rent of the land (i 51), joint rights on the land (i 52), obligations and the restrictions related to the land (i 53), servitude on the land (i 54). Item 55 fixes bases of occurrence of the rights to the land, which are:
- Decisions of corresponding executive powers or municipalities and concluded with them contracts;
- The contracts made between legal and (or) physical persons, and other transactions related to the land;
- Decisions or verdicts of court on an establishment of the right on the land;
- The right of succession and other bases established in the law.
The principles and rules of withdrawal of the lands are established in chapter XIV. As the general rule the lands can be redeemed with the consent of their owners on the basis of the corresponding decision (contract) of executive authority or municipality (i2). The important regulations on compulsory withdrawal of the lands in the property, use and rent is carried out by the decision of court based on representation of corresponding executive power or municipality, and such order can take place only when the issue is accommodation of the important state, municipal and public objects. (i 2,3,4). This regulation is directed on protection of the rights of landowners and is the consecutive expression of the common line carried out by the legislator concerning land users: the maximal protection of the rights of the private proprietor, prevention of arbitrariness and looting in application of legislative acts. And the law specially stipulates, that even made decisions on withdrawal of the lands can be appealed against by their owners (tenants) in the judicial order (i 7).
The issues related to the restriction and termination of the rights of possession, use of the lands and their rent are in detail regulated in the Ground code of Azerbaijan (chapter XV, i 73,74,75,76,77). The important, basic positions are fixed in chapter XVI " the State registration of the rights on the lands ". The very first item of this chapter specifies, that the state registration of the land is conducted in the State land cadastre. This position emphasizes and fixes a determining role of a land cadastre in the system of the state registration of the lands. All data for the inclusion in the state land cadastre are listed in item 2 of same article, and the following items define the order of representation and consideration of the data for inclusion in the State register. The establishment of concrete (ten-day) term of the state registration is important too, since the moment of representation of necessary documents; that puts a barrier on a way of red tape and provides efficiency in implementation of the state registration. Drafting this article the legislator used the last years’ results of successful implementation of the land reform in Azerbaijan, stipulated possible problems that might arise at practical realization of the owners’ right on the lands during the inclusion in the State land cadastre.
Further, the all the rights and duties of owners, users and tenants of the lands are regulated in full details in chapter XVI (i 84). In the new Land code of the Azerbaijan Republic the significant attention is paid to the issues on introduction of the market relations, being an integral part of the market economy - economy of the new, more effective type. Introduction of market relations in sphere of sale and purchase of the land is necessary, extremely important element of the new economic system. Therefore in the special chapter of the new Code all questions concerning the concept of the land turnover, features of sale and purchase of the ground and reception of the rights on the lands, real estate, questions of pledge (mortgage) of the land, its exchange, donation, transition to other proprietor by inheritance, registration of transactions on the land, etc are formulated at the conclusion of transactions. (chapter XVIII, i 85-93). The major issue from the point of market economy and wide introduction into the practice of sale, purchase and pledge of the lands is the estimation of the land, the form of its payment (the land tax and rent), the amount of these payments, etc. In item 96 ("Bases of formation of the market cost on the land") are listed factors considered in cost estimation of the certain land (land area) depending on forms of land transactions, sale, assignment of the object of the sale, legal status, mode and standard cost of the lands, supply and demand.
Entirely proceeding from the market concepts and mutual relations the issue on the indemnification to owners, users and tenants of the land and losses of agricultural and wood production is solved in the new Land code (chapter XX). All these issues are solved in the Code basically proceeding from the interests of the private landowner (user). In this sense the Code has guarding character, protecting rights of the private proprietor in every possible way being the important subject of legal relations arising during a free land turnover within the framework of market economy.
From the chapter XXI it is possible to see that this orientation of the Code on protection of the rights and legitimate interests of the landowner has no declarative character where regulated all issues on land disputes. The next chapter XXII serves the same purpose "Responsibility for infringement of the land legislation ".
If the former Land code of the Azerbaijan Republic adjusted only the land relations concerning the uniform state ownership, the new Land code comprehensively covers such issues, as uniform land fund of the Azerbaijan Republic, agriculture lands, the lands of settlements, the lands of industrial, transport, communication, defensive and other purposes, the lands of territories specially protected, the wood lands, water and reserve funds, land protection, state regulation over the use and protection of the land fund; special attention is paid to the state control over the use and protection of the lands, the property rights of the state and municipalities on the land, the rights of physical and legal persons to the land, transfer of the lands into the property, use and rent, the bases of the lands alienation, restrictions and terminations of the property rights, use and rent on the lands, obligatory state registration of the rights on the lands, the rights and duties of proprietors, users and tenants of the land, considered legal relations arising on the land turnover, determined rules of the land’s estimation and the definition bases on the land payment, compensation of damage and trading losses of rural and wood facilities caused owners, users and tenant of the land, solution of the land disputes, responsibility for infringement of the land legislation and international contracts.
Thus, step-by-step analysis of the new Land code of the Azerbaijan Republic allows determining its priorities. There first of all are:
- The democratic character not admitting any exceptions and giving all citizens of Azerbaijan equal rights in possession and order on the lands;
- All-round protection of the rights of the person, in this case, the rights of the private proprietor, landowners;
- Market orientation of the Code regulating all nuances of the legal relation in detail, that might arise during the introduction of the market relations in the land sphere;
- An ecological orientation of the Code obliging any owner (user) to take all necessary measures to prevent deterioration of the land in his possession (use).
Of course, the acceptance of the Land code of the Azerbaijan Republic yet did not mean, that henceforth all issues of the land reform would automatically be solved correctly. The essence of the Code as the organic law regulating certain branch of public relations assumes that it fixes the main, base principles and regulations, however their presentation should be carried out during the further legally-creative activity. It is especially fair in the current period when during the implementation of the historical land reform gives birth and puts on the agenda every day the set of the issues first of all concerning application of the new land legislation.
Territories and borders of the lands transferred by the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform ",and other acts into the municipal property are adjusted by the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "About territories and the lands of municipalities", on application of which issued the Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic dated December 24th, 1999 ¹ 237 entrusted to bring working legislative acts into the accord with the specified Law.
This decree established gratuitous transfer of personal plots, apartment houses (buildings), which are in lawful, use to proprietors of these houses (buildings) and entrusted the SLC to give out the corresponding documents confirming the property right on personal plots. Management in the field of possession, use and orders of the lands in the municipal property is carried out by municipalities according to requirements of civil and land legislations and the charter of municipality.
During deep changes in economy and agriculture of the Azerbaijan Republic, radical restructuring in all spheres of the country facilities, systematic implementation of an agrarian reform, creation of new private forms of managing, presence and effectiveness of similar legislative documents are called to promote acceleration of carried out reforms and elimination of artificial obstacles in transition to market relations. This is their actuality and timeliness.
Therefore the norma-creative activity on maintenance of the land reform in Azerbaijan, undoubtedly, will go deep and extend. Thus, it is especially important that the new statutory acts to be created on strictly scientific basis considering last achievements of corresponding scientific disciplines, and also the best practices in the field of organizational works for the use of land and the land reforms, saved up by global practice.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform" July 16th, 1996.
The decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic "On application of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land reform", ¹ 534" January 10th, 1997.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land tax " December 24th, 1996.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "About the state land cadastre, monitoring of land and land management" March 16th, 1999.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land rent" March 12th, 1999.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land market " May 7th, 1999.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the land’s fertility" December 30th, 1999.
The Land Code of the Azerbaijan Republic June 25th, 1999.