As for the candidates proposed by the General Assembly of the Judges in the Supreme Judicial Council, different candidate names were discussed including: David Balayan, Yerevan Judge, the son of Kim Balayan, Mesrop Makyan, the President of the Yerevan Judge Ruben Vardazaryan and Suren Mnoyan from Aragatsotn region.
Haykuhi Harutyunyan, the President of the Protection of Rights without Borders NGO mentioned during the interview to the «1in.am» that the problem is both in legal and legislative levels. «If you are informed, when the election procedure of the Supreme Judicial Council members started, the relevant announcement was made, where it was mentioned, that back in 2017 the Venice Commission presented an opinion on the current legislative regulations which shall change the draft document. Particularly, the Venice Commission made a recommendation related to the election of the Supreme Judicial Council member so that the nomination procedure shall be more open and transparent. Besides, since such extended and inclusive procedure was not favorable within previous political context, the recommendations presented by Venice Commission were ignored» – mentioned Haykuhi Harutyunyan, adding that the proposal of the Supreme Judicial Council member candidacy by the National Assembly has a political aspect. Moreover, the demand of the votes are designed so that there is no need for the opposition votes. The party, which nominates the candidate also elects or rejects the later. «From this perspective, the procedure is very problematic and there was no reform in this regard by making amendment in the Judicial Code. The procedure does not ensure inclusiveness, competion, which could bring change for the Supreme Judicial Council» – highlighted the interviewer.
As for the members of the Supreme Judicial Council, which are nominted by the General Assembly of Judges, as stated by H. Harutyunyan, it is still concerning, since the composition of the General Assembly of Judges is not refreshed and the same representatives of the same problematic judicial system can become Supreme Judicial Council Member. «At the current moment, there is one vacancy in the General Assembly of Judges and only one candidate can be appointed. To exptect, that the Supreme Judicial Council can present qualatative results with that compostion and the current rules and to gain the public trust and servce a ground for the judicial system reforms are not realistic» – mentioned H. Harutyunyan.
To our observation, in that case how the authorities can vest the Supreme Judicial Council with the function of vetting, our interviewer responded, that if the authorities had such intention, the relevant changes in the law should have been made before the formation of the Supreme Judicial Council. «Now, it turns out, that the person agrees to be nominated as a member of Supreme Judicial Council and becoming a Member the latter will be vested with the authority to conduct vetting, but by carrying out the current changes, the persons are undertaking obligations upon which they did not agree initially and those obligations were not delegated to them. We are in the opposite situation: we elect people, then delegate the latter with the relevant authorities, meanwhile it should be the opposite. That is why, I repeat, we have concerning legislative regulations, in regard to which the Venice Commission gave an opinion, which was not changed. That means, the concern is conditioned by the legislative regulations, not by persons. There is a strong need to change the rules, but at the moment the authorities is more concentrated on the changing of the persons, which cannot ensure complete trust» – concluded Haykuhi Harutyunyan.