Seminar on “Security Sector Governance and Oversight-The Role of Parliament”

On May 13 of 2019, a seminar on the topic “Governance and Oversight of the Security Sector: the Role of the Parliament” took place in Congress hotel, which was organized by the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF).

The event was attended by the member of the RA National Assembly Standing Assemblies on Defense and European Integration respectively, international experts, as well as civil society representatives.

Haykuhi Harutyunyan, the President of the “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO delivered a speech during the meeting.

The latter presented the activities directed to the control over the security sector carried out by the civil society in the Republic of Armenia.

As mentioned by Haykuhi Harutyunyan, that the civil society carried out human rights violations recordings, documentation and monitoring to conduct oversight over the security sector back in 2000. As stated by her, initially, the violations were more of a fractional character, then the latter became a part of the daily activities of the civil society organization and the documentation of the violation was one of their main problems.

During that period, the organizations took a huge burden and risk speaking about their violations.

In 2008, the record of the mentioned violations were of a more coordinated nature and the organizations started systematic monitoring related to the preliminary investigation of the human rights violations, that happened during the whole process of induction in the armed forces.

  1. Harutyunyan highlighted the changes regarding the criminal code, particularly to provisions on military crimes that took place in the outcomes of the conducted monitoring.

As mentioned by her, back in 2013, the Organization conducted a research on the disciplinary and criminal liability issues in the RA Armed Forces, the aim of which was to study the problems related to the disciplinary and criminal liability measured in armed forces. In the outcomes of the monitoring, a relevant report was elaborated.

Changed were also recorded related to the current legislations directed to the disciplinary violation in armed forces.

The circumstance, how the RA Ministry of Defense attempted to fill the gaps, through internal procedures, that were a ground for human rights violation, was also highlighted.

It was proposed to establish a public group adjunct to the RA Ministry of Defense to prevent the mentioned violations by the Ministry of Defense or by the state.

Works directed towards the awareness raising of the induction were carried out by the civil society organizations.

To ensure the protection for human rights violation in the Armed Forces, for the first time in Armenia, the Organization elaborated and conducted human rights training courses for the officers and commander staff of the armed forces, as well as for the representatives of the military police.

Since 2013, the Organization has elaborated and presented the training on the human rights and the fundamental freedoms, which included the students, senior and junior commanders, peacekeepers of the military institutions, investigation body involved in military cases, as well as the obligations for the members of the military staff.

The Organization elaborated the “Human Rights” training course and it has been taught at the Military Universities after Vazgen Sargsyan and Armenak Ghanperyants and the relevant professionals were trained.

The participation and the role of the civil society organizations in the process of elaborating and legislative and policy documents related to the security sector was highlighted by H. Harutyunyan.

Harutyunyan mentioned, that the establishment of the concrete activities related to the protection of human rights in armed forces was also implemented by the efforts of the current civil society organizations.

As mentioned by H. Harutyunyan, the activities carried out by the civil society organizations were constantly accompanied with strict criticizing qualifications about the civil society institutions. There is a need to change the current approaches not only through state agencies, but also through a more large civil dialogue.

We expect, that the civil society participation in the reforms directed towards the armed forced, national security service and other security institutions will have a more coordinated and effective dialogue.

Since May of 2019 Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany has been implementing a project directed towards the parliamentary oversight activities in the Republic of Armenia.

The partner organization for the implementation of the Project in Armenia is the Protection of Rights without Borders NGO.

Within the scope of the Project, the Organization will conduct a monitoring on parliamentary oversight over the security sector.