Concerning Failure of Effective Vetting in the Judiciary and Law-Enforcement

The analysis of the legislative amendments adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia with respect to vetting in the judiciary and the legal system supports the following conclusions:

  1. Two years after the revolution, driven predominantly by the strong desire to achieve justice and to overcome lack of equity in government and society, the expectations of the public with respect to fundamental reforms of the judiciary will now not be met, because the political majority in Armenia has adopted legislative amendments with which refuses to honor its publicly-stated commitment to implement sound vetting of the judiciary and law-enforcement authorities, and will carry out only formalistic or selective vetting.
  2. There has been an obvious retreat from the main public demands of the Velvet Revolution—the agenda of achieving justice and equity.

It is unacceptable that the conclusions of the Corruption Prevention Commission will not be published and will be advisory for the Supreme Judicial Council. The conclusions of the Corruption Prevention Commission and the decision-making of the Supreme Judicial Council on the basis of such conclusions will not be public. Thus, there can be no public or other oversight and accountability of the whole process.

We demand from the political power:

  1. To appreciate that success in restoring democracy, the rule of law, sovereignty, and a social state will depend critically upon comprehensive and in-depth vetting in all parts of the judiciary and law-enforcement bodies, notwithstanding the conservative systemic resistance.
  2. To reconsider its inadequate, extremely moderate, and ineffective approaches to justice reform, and to revise the vetting legislation immediately and in line with the international best practices and the requirements and demands of New Armenia with respect to the judiciary and law-enforcement bodies, before commencing upon the vetting process.
  3. To conduct primary vetting of the Supreme Judicial Council’s members, as it is the ultimate body responsible for vetting of judges.

The statement is open for joining:

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor office NGO
Open Society Foundations-Armenia
“Asparez” Journalists’ Club
Protection of Rights Without Border NGO
Law Protection and Development Foundation
Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
Robert Revazyan, attorney
Karen Tumanyan, attorney