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.

Support to Consolidating Local Democracy in Armenia

Start date: October 2013
Duration: 36 months
Budget: 1.8 million EUR
Donor: Government of Denmark
Partners: Ministry of Territorial Administration, Ministry of Finance, National Assembly, local authorities in Armenia, associations representing LSG bodies, NGOs involved in citizen participation, ALDA.
Contact Persons:
Ms Victoria Ohanyan, Senior Project Officer
Mr Armen Varosyan, Senior Project Officer

The Project aimed to provide Council of Europe legal expertise, policy advice and support to the process of local self-government reform, including the preparation of the administrative-territorial reform, and to strengthen the capacities of local authorities. The first component (Support to Local Government Reform) aimed to bring Armenian legislation in the field of local self-government in line with European standards. The second component (Capacity Building of Local Authorities) targeted the institutional capacities and service-delivery means of local authorities. And finally the third component (Strengthening Leadership by Local Elected Representatives) aimed at improving leadership capacities of local elected representatives and generating a spirit of co-operation among Local Government Units.

The Council of Europe has launched the 2015 Best Practice Programme for local authorities in Armenia

The Programme, elaborated by the Council of Europe’s Centre of Expertise on Local Government Reform, has already been implemented successfully in Armenia in 2014, as well as in a number of European countries. The second round of the programme in Armenia was implemented as part of the capacity building components of the Council of Europe’s “Support to Consolidating Local Democracy in Armenia” project, funded by the Government of Denmark.

The Best Practice Programme (BPP) is aimed at identifying, publicly recognizing and disseminating best practices among local authorities in Armenia. For this year, the project’s Steering Committee has identified three main themes in which communities throughout Armenia may submit applications for a best practice status. Those are:

  1. citizen participation,
  2. practices of community councils,
  3. partnership /cooperation practices

The detailed prospectus and application form of the Best Practice Programme were forwarded to all communities, while the prospectus is available at http://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168058f385 and the application form is also available at:   http://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168058f37e (Armenian only)

The Council of Europe organized meetings in Goris, Gavar, Gyumry, Vanadzor and Ijevan to present the Best Practice Programme to central, northern and southern communities of Armenia between 14-23 December.

Best Practice in Armenia Best Practice in Armenia

This film was produced for the Council of Europe's Best Practices Programme in Armenia in January 2015 and presents the Programme carried out throughout 2014 where 6 communities had won a contest to fly to Strasbourg for a site visit and learning experience.

 

Hand in Hand Hand in Hand

“The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe filmed a documentary on citizen participation initiatives, which are implemented in the framework of the project “Support to consolidating local democracy in Armenia”. The objective of the Documentary film is to emphasize the importance for local authorities of providing opportunities to the citizens and the civil society to get involved in the decision making at local level, and to present the support given by the Congress to four target communities (Akhtala, Artik, Urtsadzor, and Vardenik). The Documentary is providing background information about the communities, the main issue that has been identified for discussion and decision, the level of civic engagement in the community, and the support received from the Congress.

 

Citizen Participation Initiatives in Armenia Citizen Participation Initiatives in Armenia

Council of Europe/European Union
Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF) projects in Armenia

Long-term Electoral Assistance to the Election Related Stakeholders of Armenia

Start date: January 2016                                               
Duration: 18 months
Budget: EUR 302,139                                                     
Donor: European Union and Council of Europe
Partners: Central Electoral Commission (CEC), civil society organisations, political parties represented in the National Assembly
Contact Person: Ms Ani Dallakyan, Senior Project Officer

This country specific Project for Armenia aimed at strengthening the capacity of the main election stakeholders of the country through capacity building and awareness raising involving both the electoral authorities and civil society, as well as sharing best practice on election related issues within the Eastern Partnership countries. The Project objectives were:

  • to enhance capacities of the CEC and electoral commissions at all levels to organise elections in line with international standards;
  • to improve observation of elections at national level;
  • to increase participation of first time voters in the election process;
  • to increase participation of women as voters and candidates; and
  • to ensure equal treatment of candidates through transparent campaign finance procedures and financing of political parties.

The objectives were successfully achieved through organising training sessions and workshops for the CEC and civil society organisations, conferences and awareness raising actions focusing on political participation of women and first time voters, and peer-to-peer exchange within a mixed study visit to an Eastern Partnership country.

Publications of the Project Publications of the Project

Community-Led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns (COMUS) Project

State date: January 2015
Duration: 30 months
Budget: EUR 650 000 for 5 countries
Donor: Council of Europe and European Union
Partners: Organization of World Heritage Cities and Ministry of Culture
Contact person: Mr Sarhat Petrosyan, Project Officer

 

The COMUS Project was a joint Council of Europe and European Union initiative that is part of the second Eastern Partnership Culture Programme. It stimulated social and economic development by enhancing cultural heritage in historic towns of the region. The project was carried out in nine small and medium sized historic towns in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

In line with the common priorities of both the Council of Europe and the European Union to improve the living conditions of Europeans and the quality of their living environments, while giving citizens a more direct role in defining, deciding and implementing local economic development projects. COMUS is an opportunity for Eastern Partnership countries to bridge heritage preservation concerns with municipal empowerment and economic growth.

More info can be found on the official website of COMUS: www.coe.int/comus.

Strengthening the Independence, Professionalism and Accountability of the Justice System in Armenia

Start date: June 2014

End date: December 2016
Duration: 31 months
Budget: EUR 1,669 211
Donor: Council of Europe and European Union
National partners: Ministry of Justice, Judiciary, Judicial self-governing bodies, Justice Academy, School of Advocates
Contact Person: Mrs Narine Gasparyan, Senior Project Officer

The Project aimed at strengthening the independence and professionalism of the Armenian justice system and facilitation of institutional and legislative reforms related to the Armenian judiciary in line with European standards.

The Project conducted activities under three main components:

  • Improved substantive and procedural law;
  • Improved system of the accountability of the judiciary and building of public confidence in the system by an improved ethical and disciplinary framework and practice;
  • Enhanced professionalism of the Judiciary through strengthening the capacities of the School of Advocates and the Justice Academy.

As a result of Project implementation the following results were achieved:

  • The judiciary can base its decisions on a sound legislative framework in certain key legal areas as the new Civil Procedural Code and the Code of Administrative Offences have been drafted; Civil Code has been revised in line with the Council of Europe standards. The law on Commercial Arbitration was amended to ensure better compliance with UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. The law on Bankruptcy was amended to ensure better compliance with the international and Council of Europe standards. Court annexed mediation was introduced in Armenia and piloted, mediators were trained and obtained recognised worldwide certificates. The first volume of the indexed decisions of the Constitutional Court of Armenia passed from 1996 to October 2016 was published to ensure better application of the principle legal certainty (Component 1);
  • Judicial accountability system and procedures are improved, as the Code of Conduct of Judges has been revised,  the By-laws of newly established Ethics and Disciplinary Committee and the By-laws of the Judicial Evaluation Committee have been drafted and adopted. Judicial Code and the By-laws of the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee were amended to allow judges to submit written requests to the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee for the provision of individual consultations on the application of ethical rules. The Court Users’ Satisfaction Survey was conducted in Armenia for the first time and the results of which will be used for further reform and corrective actions  (Component 2);
  • The training capacities of the Justice Academy and the School of Advocates are enhanced by means of provision of technical assistance for developing e-courses on non-legal topics and enhancing organisational capacities of these training institutions (Component 3).

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