Back

Armenia: Judicial reform praiseworthy, but early retirement for Constitutional Court judges should be “strictly voluntary”, says Venice Commission

Strasbourg 15 October 2019
  • Diminuer la taille du texte
  • Augmenter la taille du texte
  • Imprimer la page
  • Imprimer en PDF
Armenia: Judicial reform praiseworthy, but early retirement for Constitutional Court judges should be “strictly voluntary”, says Venice Commission

The large majority of proposals contained in a judicial reform package in Armenia are in line with European standards and contribute to combatting corruption without encroaching on the independence of the judiciary, conclude Council of Europe legal experts of the Venice Commission in an opinion published this week. They stressed, however, that the offer of early retirement made in the draft law to some justices of the Constitutional Court is not objectionable only if it remains strictly voluntary and if it does not hinder the effective functioning of the Constitutional Court.

In preparing the reform, the Armenian government acted in a responsible and thoughtful manner and demonstrated openness to dialogue with all interlocutors, both within and outside the country, according to the opinion, requested last month by Armenia’s Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan.

In the light of a strong popular demand for quick and visible changes in the situation in the judiciary, the new government had started a critical examination of this branch of power. Originally its intention was to introduce extraordinary vetting procedures to check the suitability of existing judges.

Subsequently the government refrained from a “headstrong” approach and engaged in a dialogue within Armenian society and with its international partners. As a result of this dialogue, most of the more radical reform proposals were abandoned, and the government developed more tailor-made solutions. The Venice Commission welcomes this approach and invites the government to proceed with future reforms in the same spirit of dialogue and inclusiveness.

One aspect of the proposed reform stands apart, however: an early retirement scheme proposed for Constitutional Court judges who were appointed for life under the pre-2015 version of the Constitution. The Venice Commission notes that it is important to respect the stability of a judicial office, and that it is not acceptable if the composition of the Constitutional Court changes every time a new government comes to power. However, to the extent that the retirement remains truly voluntary and does not hinder the effective functioning of the Court, the proposed scheme is not objectionable from the standpoint of international standards, the experts conclude.

The Venice Commission requests other clarifications and improvements, namely a possibility to appeal decisions of the Supreme Judicial Council in disciplinary matters.

More information for media on the Venice Commission.

The opinion was prepared under the Quick Response Mechanism in the framework of the joint programme of the Council of Europe and the EU “Partnership for Good Governance II”.

Press contact

Panos Kakaviatos, Spokesperson/Media officer, tel. + 33 3 90 21 50 27; mob. +33 6 98 37 64 04

Tatiana Baeva, Spokesperson/Media officer, tel. + 33 3 88 41 21 41; mob. + 33 6 85 11 64 93


Dear Visitor,

Welcome to the website of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan.

The Office represents the Secretary General of the Organisation in Armenia. It closely co-operates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other national authorities supporting the implementation of statutory obligations to the Council of Europe by Armenia. The Office also co-ordinates and implements a number of Projects and Programmes supporting legislative and institutional reforms in Armenia.

2019-2022 Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 9 January 2019. It constitutes the strategic framework for the co-operation of the Organisation with the Armenian authorities with a view to promote current reforms in the country. The four main directions of action under the document are: protecting and promoting human rights, ensuring justice, combatting threats to the rule of law, as well as promoting democratic governance.

As part of our continued outreach, the Office is also committed to working closely with NGOs, the media, and the public at large.

I hope that the information and resources available on this website will be helpful to address your questions related to the activities of our Office and the Council of Europe in Armenia.

Thank you.

Natalia Voutova

Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan

Visitor film Visitor film
journal journal

 

Seventy years of the Council of Europe – a website to explore our European story
Follow us Follow us