Strong Commitment and lively Discussions at the Third Summer School on ECHR in Armenia

  • Dr Otto Mallmann (left), former Presiding Judge at the Federal Administrative Court, and Matthias Kiesler, German Ambassador to Armenia

    Dr Otto Mallmann (left), former Presiding Judge at the Federal Administrative Court, and Matthias Kiesler, German Ambassador to Armenia

  • Students consider cases in working groups dealing with Art. 3 ECHR

    Students consider cases in working groups dealing with Art. 3 ECHR

Supporting young legal professionals is a major concern of the IRZ. This is why it organized a summer school on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which has been the third summer school in this year. This year's event in Aghrevan was financed by the Federal Foreign Office and organised by the IRZ in cooperation with the Armenian Young Lawyers Association (AYLA). Starting on 28 September 2015, 29 students of various universities in Yerevan met in the Armenian mountains to listen to the presentations of German lecturers for five days.

The German ambassador to Armenia, Matthias Kiesler, welcomed the participants and pointed out the great importance of the summer school. The former Presiding Judge at the Federal Administrative Court, Dr Otto Mallmann, gave a lecture focussing on Articles 2, 3, 8 and 11 ECHR on the first two days. The exceptional interest of the whole audience was striking on the very first day. They asked many challenging questions and openly discussed controversial issues.

The lectures given by the lawyer Dr Thomas Nappert and Professor Michaela Wittinger in the further course of the summer school dealt with Articles 5, 6 and 10 ECHR, amongst others. Small working groups were repeatedly formed which individually considered, presented and thereupon discussed ECHR cases and judgements.

The three German experts individually responded to the interests of the young women and men. When it was for instance signalled that the issue of freedom of religion did not have the same relevance in Armenia as in many other countries, they focussed on the law of freedom of assembly and association.

Thanks to the strong commitment of all people involved, the atmosphere at the summer school was extremely concentrated and pleasant this year again. This encouraged the IRZ to organise similar events also in the future.

Second European Convention on Human Rights Summer School in Armenia

Participants of the summer school in Arzakan

Participants of the summer school in Arzakan

IRZ has held its second summer school on European Union law (EU law) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in Arzakan, Armenia from 14 to 18 July 2014 in cooperation with the Armenian Young Lawyers Association (AYLA).

The participants included young lawyers and law students. AYLA and IRZ conducted a selection process in advance of the event to find the most suitable candidates. Just like last year, there was a very large number of applicants flocking to apply. A total of 30 people attended the summer camp.

As opposed to last year, this year's focus was on the ECHR and filing complaints with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). There was also an introduction to EU law on both of the first days. In addition to presenting the institutional structure of the European Union (EU) and an overview of the evolution of EU law, there was also a lecture on Armenia's cooperation with the EU held by an AYLA employee at the start of the event. Professor Dr. Carmen Thiele from Viadrina European University Frankfurt (Oder) also presented on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Unions and pointed out the differences between it and the ECHR. The participants then worked on these topics in working groups. The next three days were dedicated to the ECHR, focusing on Article 5 (Liberty and Security), 6 (Fair Trial) and 10 (Freedom of Expression) and the procedure for filing a complaint with the ECtHR. Dr. Michael-Kleine Cosack, a lawyer from Freiburg, and Professor Dr. Michaela Wittinger from the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences started off by presenting on the articles. In the afternoon, the participants looked in working groups into real-life ECtHR cases selected by the speakers and concerning the individual articles and then presented on them.

The participants had lively discussions about the cases and the various points of views and assessments during the individual working groups and the presentation of the results. The experts were always available for questions and were very impressed with the motivation of the participants and the open discussion atmosphere.

International Conference of the Memorandum Group of the Associations of Judges in Yerevan

The opening of the conference. From right to left: Vice-Minister of Justice A. Mkrtchyan, the President of the Armenian Court of Cassation A.Mkrtumyan, the Chairman of the Armenian Association of Judges H.Sargsyan and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Armenia, R. Morell

The opening of the conference. From right to left: Vice-Minister of Justice A. Mkrtchyan, the President of the Armenian Court of Cassation A.Mkrtumyan, the Chairman of the Armenian Association of Judges H.Sargsyan and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Armenia, R. Morell

This year's meeting of the "Memorandum Group of the Associations of Judges" took place in Yerevan, Armenia, from 29 June to 1 July 2014. It was the fourth conference of the Memorandum Group, a federation of associations of judges from different countries for multilateral cooperation, which has been supported by the IRZ since its foundation in 2010. The theme of this year's conference was the independence of the judiciary. The representatives of the associations of judges came to the conference in Armenia from Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. The Senior Public Prosecutor Dr Peter Schneiderhan, Member of the Executive Committee of the German Association of Judges, as well as Dr Helmut Palder, former Leitender Ministerialrat in the State Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection of Bavaria and Member of the German Association of Judges, participated in the conference from the German side. Their contributions on the special situation of the independence of the judiciary in Germany as well as on the importance of a sound training of judges in terms of an independent judiciary were well received. Controversial debates evolved in the context of the contributions from Armenia and the Republic of Moldova. An open and lively discussion was also triggered by the questions raised by the Vice-President of the International Association of Judges, Dr Virgilius Valancius.

The conference was opened by the Chairman of the Armenian Association of Judges, Mr Hrachik Sargsyan, as well as by the President of the Armenian Court of Cassation, Mr Arman Mkrtumyan. Welcome addresses were also given by the Armenian Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Arsen Mkrtchyan, and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Armenia, Mr Reiner Morell.

The Memorandum Group also met on the sidelines of the conference to discuss the further development and the future orientation of the Group. It agreed, among other things, to hold the next conference in the Republic of Moldova in 2015.