Ways to Improve Judiciary

Interview of Araks Melkonyan, the President of “The Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO and legal expert Hasmik Harutyunyan to the 1in.am news agency on vetting, the necessity and toolkit for the improvement of the judiciary. 

As mentioned by Araks Melkonyan, despite the announcement made by the RA Minister of Justice, that a number of complaints have been received on the institution of disciplinary proceedings, a lot of issues raises based on which motions have been filed and proceedings are being instituted at the Supreme Judicial Council. 

While referring to the system of vetting, A. Melkonyan highlighted that as an integrated approach,

only vetting as a toolkit will not be sufficient for the recovery of the judiciary. 

We need a systematic approach, legislative changes and improvement, improvement of other legislative bodies, establishment of institutional mechanisms, as well as proper operation of the public administration bodies. 

A. Melkonyan mentioned, that civil society representatives have conducted an examination on the international best experience, principals of vetting and the road map for the implementation of vetting has been presented to the state. 

As stated by her, the system of vetting has not been completely established in the Republic of Armenia due to the lack of political will, as a result of which a decrease in public interests has been noticed. 

According to Hasmik Harutyunyan, even if the vetting system will be established, we should understand how the staff replacement will be conducted and whether the new staff will carry the values and essential principals contributing the improvement of the system.

H. Harutyunyan made a reference to the report published by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and Venice Commission respectively, which relates the activities of the disciplinary institute in the Republic of Armenia, particularly the engagement of the RA Minister of Justice in those activities, which can be considered problematic in terms of insurance of the independence of the judiciary. 

While speaking about the role of the Parliament in the recovery of the judiciary, H. Harutyunyan mentioned that if one branch of the Government is already sick, it is hard to expect that the latter can recover another branch. 

H. Harutyunyan, evaluating the work of the opposition, mentioned, that the agenda of the opposition is unexplainable and reminded that the “seeds” planted by the latter now have relevant outcomes. 

Hasmik Harutyunyan highlighted the importance of the work of preliminary examination and prosecution bodies, since before the case enters the court, the latter goes through different stages and sometimes in the outcomes of the improper work of the investigators and prosecutors, the decisions adopted by the judge create complaint among citizens.