Support to the Establishment of Probation Service in Armenia

Start date: May 2014
Duration: 24 months
Budget: EUR 554 700
Donor: Government of Norway (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway)
Partners: Ministry of Justice (including the Penitentiary Department), Judiciary, General Prosecutor’s Office, Police, Ministry of Labour and Social Issues (Employment Agency), Ministry of Finance, National Assembly, Civil Society, Academic institutions
Contact Person: Ilias Kalamaras (ilias.kalamaras@coe.int)

The project aimed at introducing a probation service in two pilot regions of Armenia using the Council of Europe standards and best European practices.

Specific objectives of the project were:
• technical support to the establishment of probation service, including introduction of a pilot electronic monitoring system;
• training of probation service staff and other related professionals in two pilot regions.

The objectives were achieved through development of training curricula on probation, organisation of training-for-trainers (ToT) on probation for national trainers from different training institutions and universities, facilitation of follow-up cascade trainings, including initial, in-depth and in-service training courses, study visits to CoE member states, as well as development of pre-release and post-release re-integration programmes for offenders.

Strengthening the application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Armenia

Start date: October 2013
Duration: 24 months
Budget: EUR 1 000 000
Donor: Government of Denmark
Partners: Court of Cassation, Justice Academy, Ministry of Justice
Contact Person: Ms Gayane Hovhannisyan, Senior Project Officer

The main objective of the project was to improve the effective implementation and unified application of European human rights standards in Armenia by strengthening the capacity of the Court of Cassation and by enhancing the training capacity of the newly established Justice Academy. Among other things, the project will contribute to the development of the knowledge and skills of judges, prosecutors and judicial servants through applying the European human rights standards in their daily work.

The major result of the project is establishment of an institute of human rights promotion that allows judges and legal professionals at all levels to receive timely and up-to-date information on newly codified decisions of the Court of Cassation and judgments from the European Court of Human Rights.

Achievements of the Project Achievements of the Project

CoE/EU Regional Joint Project on Strengthening the lawyers’ capacity for domestic application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and of the Revised European Social Charter RESC

Dates: 1 January 2013 – 30 June 2015
Duration: 30 months
Budget: EUR 2 015 000 for 6 countries
Donor: Council of Europe and European Union
Partners: Chamber of Advocates, School of Advocates and Civil Society
 

The Joint Project was a regional initiative and covered 6 countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The objectives of the Project were: a) developing national capacities for effective human rights protection by increasing knowledge and skills on ECHR and RESC standards; b) enabling lawyers and human rights defenders in the partner countries to successfully litigate cases based on the ECHR and on the RESC in proceedings before national courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of well-substantiated claims; and c) avoiding submission to the ECtHR of manifestly ill-founded or inadmissible claims.

The main accomplishments of the Project include:

  • 12-day ToT sessions for national ECHR lawyers' trainers from Bar association and human rights NGOs organized:
    1. Group of 30 lawyers and human rights defenders trained;
    2. ToT modules available on CoE HELP portal.
  • 23 cascade seminars on different anti-discrimination topics throughout Armenia carried out:
    1. About 780 lawyers and human rights defenders trained;
    2. 10 training courses developed and accredited by Bar Association qualifying for CLE credit.
  • 7 thematic workshops for lawyers and human rights NGOs activists organised in Yerevan:
    1. About 300 lawyers and human rights defenders trained;
    2. 7 training courses developed and accredited by Bar Association qualifying for CLE credit.
  • Handbook on European case law on non-discrimination available in Armenian. (see the Handbook)
  • Country-specific manual on the use of domestic remedies in anti-discrimination cases. (see the Manual)
  • Analysis of the arguments on cases submitted before national courts available in Armenian. (see the Analysis)
  • HELP online course on anti-discrimination tailor-made to partner countries and translated into Armenian.   
  • HELP online course on introduction to the ECHR made available in Armenian.

Reducing the Use of Custodial Sentences in Line with European Standards

Dates:      2 May 2013 - 30 April 2014
Duration: 12 months
Budget:    EUR 300 000
Donor:      Government of Norway (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway)
Partners: Ministry of Justice (including the Penitentiary Department), Judiciary, General Prosecutor’s Office, Police, Civil Society organizations etc.

The project on “Reducing use of custodial sentences in line with European standards” was part of the Council of Europe (CoE) Action plan for Armenia 2012-2014. The project was made possible with the voluntary contribution of the Government of Norway.
The Project aimed at bringing the Armenian prison system closer to the European Prison Rules and other European Probation Rules, Recommendations of the Council of Europe and the standards of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the best European practices.
Project objectives were fully in line with the 2012-2016 Action Plan for Legal and Judicial Reforms of the Republic of Armenia. Through the course if implementation the Project focused on raising the awareness of alternative sanctions and measures, on the need to extend the use of such sentences and on the importance of establishing a mechanism for supervision of the implementation of non-custodial sentences.
The main accomplishments of the project include:

  • Fact-finding mission and development of needs-assessment report (Please click here to see the report);
  • Qualitative and quantitative survey and a study on reoffending (Please click here to see the report);
  • Study on cost efficiency of non-custodial sentences (Please click here to see the study);
  • Training seminars on the best European practices for more than 70 judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other professionals;
  • Conference to raise awareness on the role of alternative sanctions and measures;
  • Two study visits to Council of Europe member states (Romania and Ireland) with the best practices in the area of probation;
  • Publication of three CoE recommendations on:
  1.  probation (Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)1of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the Council of Europe Probation Rules),
  2.  early release (Recommendation Rec(2003)22 of the Committee of Ministers to member stateson conditional release (parole),
  3. and electronic monitoring (Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on electronic monitoring)

The Project created a solid basis for the new project on the establishment of two pilot probation units in Armenia.

Support for Access to Justice in Armenia

Dates:      1 October 2009 – 31 December 2012
Duration:  27 months (additional 12 months of no cost extension)
Budget:    EUR 4,157 000
Donor:      European Union with Council of Europe contribution
Partners:  Ministry of Justice, Court of Cassation, Chamber of Advocates, School of Judges,  Judicial Department

The 39-month EU/CoE Joint Project on “Support for Access to Justice in Armenia” assisted the reform of the justice sector in Armenia through institutional capacity-building, training of legal professionals and provision of legislative assistance. The project, until its completion in December 2012, was an integral part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2012-2014, which has been designed with the aim of supporting Armenia in the implementation of its obligations as a Council of Europe member state, including justice reforms. A follow up project is currently under discussion between Armenian authorities, the Council of Europe, and the European Union.

The main accomplishments of the project include:
a) The establishment of a School of Advocates in Armenia.
The School welcomed students for the first semester of 2012 academic year.  It will be able to provide training to 120 students per year (60 students per semester). The new premises (currently under renovation) will be able to host more students. For future it is planned to introduce a distance learning course, which will include study modules through Internet.
b)  Introduction of amendments in the Law on Advocacy that will contribute to the more efficient legal aid system in the country.
c) Revision of the Civil Code, the Civil Procedure Code, the Law on Notary, the Judicial Code, and the Criminal Code by leading European and Armenian experts who had an opportunity to exchange ideas and practices through a number of working groups organised within the project.
d) The setting up of the Armenian Electronic Notary System (AENIS)
The AENIS will provide the Armenian population with an easy online access to information of various State registries. The system aims to increase the security of real estate documents and transactions, protect property rights, decrease the overload of the courts, and enhance the quality of notary services.
e) Improved knowledge and capacities of 250 judges and around 1000 lawyers in the application of European standards and best practices in such areas as bankruptcy and combating corruption, drug trafficking, deontology and professional ethics.

Please see: http://www.coe.int/t/DGHL/COOPERATION/CAPACITYBUILDING/projects/access_justice_armenia_en.asp