Bettina Limperg (1st row, centre), President of the German Federal Court of Justice, welcomes her Armenian counterpart Armen Mkrtumyan (1st row, 3rd from right) and his delegation to the German Federal Court of Justice
Bettina Limperg (1st row, centre), President of the German Federal Court of Justice, welcomes her Armenian counterpart Armen Mkrtumyan (1st row, 3rd from right) and his delegation to the German Federal Court of Justice

From 22 to 27 October 2017, the President of the Armenian Court of Cassation, Armen Mkrtumyan, was invited by the IRZ to visit Berlin and Karlsruhe with a delegation from his court for expert talks. Similar to the German Federal Court of Justice, the Armenian Court of Cassation is the highest ordinary court in the country. Its case law therefore plays a crucial role in the further development of the Armenian legal system.

Armenian judges are facing a radical change, since the rules for appointing judges and for their terms of office, in particular for presiding judges, have been changed fundamentally and judges see these changes as endangering their independence. For this reason, the issue of defining the independence of the justice system in Germany and Armenia, in particular concerning the assessment, promotion, election and terms of office of judges, dominated talks at the BMJV (German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection), where the delegation was welcomed by head of department, Marie Luise Graf-Schlicker, and at the Regional Court in Berlin. Here, Regional Court President Gabriele Nieradzik gave an introduction to the topic, which was followed by discussions with judges on subjects such as jurisdiction in cases of non-material damage.

There were other appointments with the President of the German Association of Judges, Jens Gnisa, and at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg in Mannheim, where the Presiding Judge, Volker Ellenberger, also took time to talk with the delegation.

Finally, at the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, the court’s President, Bettina Limperg, along with several of her judges, attended to the expert discussions with their Armenian colleagues, during which they discussed the above-mentioned topics as well as the uniformity of case law.

The informative discussions and cooperative encounters with the German presiding judges and many other judges involved provided important momentum for the continuing work of the Armenian delegation and for the ongoing discussions on reform in Armenia.