On June 7 of 2019, it was informed by “My Step” party, that Grigor Hovhannes Bekmezyan was nominated as a member of the Supreme Judicial Council.
It was later confirmed by the candidate, that he was suggested becoming a member of the Supreme Judicial Council.
According to the RA Constitution and RA Constitutional Law on Judicial Code, the five members from the 10 members are appointed by the RA National Assembly, the self-nomination procedures are strictly limited, moreover, there is no procedural rule related to transparency, participation for the nomination of the Supreme Judicial Council members.
Back in May of 2017, the RA Ministry of Justice filed a draft law on the RA Constitutional Law on Judicial Code (the draft law is available in e-draft website numbered 22․03․2017-06.04․2017), where in a line with the paragraph 7 of Article 79 of the draft law the RA Chamber of Advocated, higher educational institutions and specialized non-governmental organizations are vested with the authority to nominate 2 members for the Supreme Judicial Council.
According to the opinion of the Venice Commission (point 88-89), “specialized civil society organization” term should be clarified in the draft law not to limit the possibility of presenting the candidates and not to decrease the possibility of qualified candidates. Overall, the Venice Commission was urging to accept the similar procedure, by which different groups would be enabled to nominate their candidate in the National Assembly.
According to the opinion and the observations of the Venice Commission, the RA Constitutional Law Judicial Code was not amended by the RA Ministry of Justice. Moreover, a group of experts and civil society representatives recorded, that one version of the draft Judicial Code was presented to the Venice Commission for opinion and another version of the draft code was discussed in the National Assembly.
As a result, the possibility of nominating candidates of the Supreme Judicial Council and presenting the later in the National Assembly as prescribed by the RA Constitutional Law Judicial Code adopted on February 23 of 2018 and was vested by the National Assembly Constitutional Law to exclusively parliamentary party of the National Assembly.
Based on the law, without any explanation and justifications about the nomination of the Supreme Judicial Council candidates, the Republican Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation nominated five members of the Supreme Judicial Council.
“Yelq” party filed an appeal about the results of the voting of the nominated candidates, stating, that the election votes for the Supreme Judicial Council “were forged”. Moreover, Nikole Pashinyan, the member of “Yelq” announced, “closed regime is unacceptable and un-understandable”.
It turns out, that no change neither through law nor in practice related to the procedural election of the candidate for the Supreme Judicial Council was made by the political party and the judicial transformative reform concept is based on the previous practice. The nomination of the Supreme Judicial Council member candidate through the “Call” reproduced the previous scheme and is not in a line with the proclaimed concept of judicial reform’s surgical reforms.
It is obvious, that during this transitional period, the promotion of the Supreme Judicial Council member promotion is more convenient to carry out in a more participatory principal, vest the right to nomination of a candidate not only to the RA National Assembly, but also to extra-parliamentary forces and professional circles.
We recommend National Assembly to discontinue the promotion of the Supreme Judicial Council membership, make urgent amendments in the current legislation according to the above-mentioned observations and initiate the procedure related to the vacancies for the Supreme Judicial Council.
- “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO
- “Journalist’s Asparez Club” NGO
- “Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office” NGO
- “Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center”
- “Helsinki Association” Human Rights Protection NGO
- Karen Tumanyan, Advocate
- “Public Journalism Club” NGO
- “Informed Citizens Union” NGO
- “Peace Dialogue” NGO
- “Social Peace” NGO
- “Rule of Law” NGO
- “Law Development and protection Foundation”
- “Unison” NGO
- “Veles” NGO
- “For Equal Rights” NGO
- “Araza” NGO