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Armenia - annual report 2017

Published: June 1, 2018
Delegation of the Armenian Ministry of Justice in front of the IRZ in Bonn: Martina Erb-Klünemann, judge at the Local Court in Hamm and liaison judge (2 nd from right)
Delegation of the Armenian Ministry of Justice in front of the IRZ in Bonn: Martina Erb-Klünemann, judge at the Local Court in Hamm and liaison judge (2 nd from right)

Legal Policy Situation

In April 2017, parliamentary elections were held in the Republic of Armenia. These were the first elections after the constitutional reform of 2015, which comprised the transition from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. The Republican Party emerged as the clear winner from the elections, which displayed some irregularities according to international election observers. The State President, whose term of office ends in April 2018, is also a member of this party. Since the constitutional reform has also transferred the executive power from the president to the head of government, the opposition is apprehensive of the current president changing his office to that of head of government. The President has denied these speculations, however.

The elections were held exactly one year after the resurgence of the bloody fights in Nagorno-Karabakh lasting several days in April 2016. Since then, the conflict has been frozen once again, without any sign of a diplomatic solution. This conflict continues to have an impact on the economic situation and the overall development of Armenia. It is also for this reason that the country is very much oriented towards Russia as a protective power, which it already depends on in terms of energy and economic policy.

At the same time, Armenia is maintaining its cooperation with the European Union. It is a member of the Eastern Partnership of the EU and signed a Comprehensive and Advanced Partnership Agreement with the EU at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels in November of the year under review. This replaces an association agreement with the hope of bringing about rapprochement in terms of trade relations, product safety and consumer protection as well as support for civil society. Additionally, the country benefits from EU programmes on judicial reforms with a current focus on structural problems in the judiciary and criminal law.

Overall Concept

Criminal law continues to be the focal point of the IRZ’s cooperation with Armenia. In addition to ongoing consultations on a fundamentally new penitentiary code, the specialist events mainly address the question of how specific regulations, e.g. with regard to handing down sentences or to the fight against money laundering, can be implemented in Armenian legal practice in accordance with international standards. This also applies to the implementation of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, which was the subject of close collaboration with the Civil Act Registration Agency at the Ministry of Justice.

In relation to current reforms in the judicial administration, contacts with the Court of Cassation and the Armenian Judges’ Association were also intensified.

Besides the Ministry of Justice, the cooperation partners comprise the Court of Cassation, the Judicial Academy, the Chamber of Advocates, the School of Advocates, the Armenian Chamber of Notaries and the Correctional Department and the Armenian Investigation Service, as well as the Yerevan State University.

Foci of Activity 2017

Civil and Commercial Law

Administration of Justice

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

Basic and Further Training

Outlook

An important topic in the cooperation with the Ministry of Justice in 2018 will be the reform of the Penitentiary Code and the law on applying the Hague Convention on Child Abduction in Armenia, the implementation of which is to be accompanied closely. Regarding the penitentiary system, specific consultations are planned in individual prisons as well. Specialist advice on the recently introduced probation service is also being considered. In addition, the collaboration with all other partner institutions will be continued and intensified in the form of seminars and training courses.