Paris – ESI at debate in Paris city hall on Azerbaijan’s “caviar connection”

3 October 2023
Photo: ESI
Photo: ESI

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to participate in a debate on Azerbaijan’s “Caviar Connection” organised by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. The event started with a screening of the documentary “The Caviar Connection” by French film maker Benoît Bringer.

In his presentation, Gerald described Azerbaijan’s campaign of “caviar diplomacy” in the Council of Europe, i.e. the use of bribes, lavish gifts and expensive hospitality, such as offering caviar and other luxury items, to sway foreign diplomats, politicians, and influential figures.

Gerald Knaus with Paris major, Anne Hidalgo
Gerald Knaus with Paris Major, Anne Hidalgo. Photo: ESI

The purpose of caviar diplomacy was and is to soften criticism of Azerbaijan’s human rights record or to gain favourable votes and statements in international forums. This strategy aimed at undermining the integrity and impartiality of the Council of Europe.

Gerald therefore called for a reform of Council of Europe to prevent future authoritarian capture of human rights institutions.

The other panellists were Anne Hidalgo (Mayor of Paris), François Zimeray (French Ambassador to Denmark), Benoît Bringer (French journalist), Laurent Richard (French journalist), Mahammad Mirzali (Azerbaijani blogger), and Luis Moreno Ocampo (Argentine jurist, first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court).

Photo: ESI