Discussion on the Topic “Visible Efforts, Invisible Outcomes: What will the Specialized Judges Change?”

Hasmik Harutyunyan, the legal expert of the “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO participated in the discussion on the topic “Visible Efforts, Invisible Outcomes: What will the Specialized Judges Change?” at the Factor TV.

During the discussion, H. Harutyunyan emphasised, that the voice of the civil society should be heard, stating that there is a big gap between civil society and authorities’ dialogue.  

As stated by H. Harutyunyan, the participation of civil society in the reform programs discussions has drastically decreased and in case of participation in the reform programs, the feedback, to what extent the voice of civil society is heard is not accepted and is not sufficient.

Hasmik Harutyunyan presented the current problems and gaps in the legal and judicial reforms implemented in the Republic of Armenia so far.

Problems

1․ Legislative and practical incompliance in the implementation process of the reform programs.  

2․ Problems related to the repetition of reform programs action plan and resources spent on it, for example, insurance of the independence of courts, court building conditions, appointment order of the judges, etc

3․ Problems related to accountability and public engagement.

Hasmik Harutyunyan highlighted, that the same problems have repetitive nature after the adoption of the strategy after 2018.

During the implementation of the reforms, the most essential expectation of the civil society was connected to the recovery of the judiciary and to realistically measurable outcomes in that process.

As mentioned by H. Harutyunyan, civil society organizations have submitted opinions on transitional justice and on vetting to the relevant state agencies, which have not been accepted.

As recorded by her, instead of systematic changes, only situational and single changes have been implemented, targeting certain group of public officials, for example judges. 

“We were talking about the judges examining corruption related crimes, judges conducting special control over the pretrial proceeding, in this cases, no examination has been conducted examining what kind of workload we are talking about and whether we can solve problems with such changes, how the independence of the judges by such changes will be ensured, etc. These are problems, which cannot be realized without justification and evidence. I am afraid, we will worsen the current state of the judiciary, targeting separate judges and thus not witness the reform outcomes”- mentioned Hasmik Harutyunyan.

Hasmik Harutyunyan also emphasised the implementation of the policy for the improvement of state agencies.

“The examination of the best experiences of other countries does not mean, that the given system will perfectly operate also in the Republic of Armenia. In other words, placing a healthy particle in a sick organism will not guarantee, that we will ensure a healthy system” – added H. Harutyunyan.