Successful Continuation of Criminal Law Moot Courts in Armenia

Nelly Tumasyan, IRZ project coordinator in Armenia, and members of the jury Erich Joester, Vazgen Rshtuni, Mkhitar Papoyan, Armine Fanyan and Arsen Martirosyan (from left to right)
Nelly Tumasyan, IRZ project coordinator in Armenia, and members of the jury Erich Joester, Vazgen Rshtuni, Mkhitar Papoyan, Armine Fanyan and Arsen Martirosyan (from left to right)
Armenia

A Criminal Law Moot Court took place from 4th to 6th October 2019 in Aghveran in Armenia for the fourth time since 2016. This very successful annual event is organised by the IRZ in partnership with the Law Faculty of the University of Yerevan. The event was attended by students of the State Universities of Yerevan, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Gavar and by two groups of the Armenian police academy.

Up to six groups take part in the Moot Courts each consisting of up to four persons. A trainer is in charge of each group. Students of Armenian universities and representatives of other organisations can apply for participation in a Moot Court. This year, they came from the police academy. The Moot Court comprises six role plays in total, after which the two winning groups compete against each other in the finals.

This year’s event was opened by the Dean of the Law Faculty of the State University of Yerevan, Prof. Gagik Ghazinyan, and Amalia Wuckert representing the IRZ. Subsequently, Anna R. Margaryan, Professor for Criminal Law at the Law Faculty of the State University of Yerevan, explained how the Moot Court works.

The performance of the participants was assessed by an Armenian-German jury:

  • Vazgen Rshtuni, President of the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia,
  • Mkhitar Papoyan, Judge at the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia,
  • Armine Fanyan, a lawyer representing the Bar Association of the Republic of Armenia,
  • Arsen Martirosyan, Head of Department at the Office of the Public Prosecutor General of the Republic of Armenia and
  • Erich Joester, a lawyer and notary specialising in criminal law, Joester und Partner law firm, and former President of the Bar Association of Bremen.

After the results of this year’s Moot Court were announced, a prize was awarded. The ceremony was attended by the ombudsman of Armenia, Arman Tatoyan, the Vice-Principal for International Cooperation and Public Relations of the State University of Yerevan, Dr. Artur Israelyan, the Director of the School of Advocates, Simon Babayan, and the Principal of the Judicial Academy, Sergej Arakelyan. There presence highlighted the great popularity of the Moot Court events in Armenia.

As the representatives of the involved institutions emphasized the importance of the Moot Courts for Armenia, the IRZ is planning to continue the series of Moot Courts next year.

Opening conference on the“@MediaSocieties – Armenia 2019“ project

Mesrop Harutyunyan (at the lectern), Prof. Dr. Hektor Haarkötter, Dipl.-Jur. Thomas Wierny, Dr. Frederik Ferreau (first row, auditorium, from left to right)
Mesrop Harutyunyan (at the lectern), Prof. Dr. Hektor Haarkötter, Dipl.-Jur. Thomas Wierny, Dr. Frederik Ferreau (first row, auditorium, from left to right)
Armenia

The opening conference on the “@MediaSocieties – Armenia 2019“ project took place in Yerevan on 15 July 2019. The event was attended by about forty participants and covered topics such as transparency, good media governance and journalistic ethics. The Permanent Representative of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Armenia, Klaus Wendelberger, also took part and opened the event. Welcome addresses were also given by Amalia Wuckert for the IRZ and Boris Navasardyan as President of the Yerevan Press Club (YPC). Thomas Wierny, who supports the project as an expert in media and press law, moderated the conference, presented the project concept and gave an introduction to the expert sessions.

Further speakers at the conference were:

  • Dr. Shushan Doydoyan, Chairwoman of the Freedom of Information Center,
  • Dr. Frederik Ferreau, Institute for Media and Communications Law, University of Cologne,
  • Gegham Vardanyan, producer of Media.am,
  • Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel, LL.M., Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law (ITM), Westfälische Wilhelms University of Muenster,
  • Mesrop Harutyunyan, assistant lecturer at the Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences, and
  • Prof. Dr. Hektor Haarkötter, Professor for Communication Studies with a Focus on Political Communication at the University of Applied Sciences of Bonn-Rhein-Sieg.

During the final panel discussions, the experts Mesrop Harutyunyan, Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel, Prof. Dr. Hektor Haarkötter and Boris Navasardyan exchanged their views regarding the particular responsibility of the media in times of election campaigns.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel, Prof. Dr. Hektor Haarkötter, Mesrop Harutyunyan, Boris

Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel, Prof. Dr. Hektor Haarkötter, Mesrop Harutyunyan, Boris Navasardyan, Thomas Wierny during the final panel discussion (from left to right)

The conference met with a great deal of interest by media professionals. The participants repeatedly pointed out the importance of this event for Armenia in the present phase.

The continuation of the project is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. At first, several subsequent workshops are planned, which will be attended by Armenian and German experts from various areas of media and media regulation to deal with these topics in detail. It is planned to compile the results of these workshops in a paper reflecting the current state of discussions and indicating in which way the new regulation should be directed in the participants’ opinion.

Following up on the workshops, a final event will take place at the beginning of December, where the draft papers will be presented to a larger audience for discussion. The aim is to debate the considerations and results also with those players who did not take part in the workshops, and to consult on the implementation of the concepts.

About the project

The “@MediaSocieties – Armenia 2019“ project is aimed at supporting the freedom and diversity of the media and pluralism of opinions in Armenia and at strengthening the journalistic profession. The project is financed by the Federal Foreign Office within the “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia“ programme.

The project addresses media professionals, players in the media market and the respective fields of science in Armenia. 

The target groups are: 

  • representatives of TV broadcasting stations, newspapers and radio stations,
  • bloggers,
  • online editors and
  • law professionals from science and practice.

The IRZ’s partner organisation in Armenia for this project is the Yerevan Press Club. The YPC supports the development of free, independent and qualified media seeking to strengthen the development of democracy and civil society in Armenia. 

Thomas Wierny, an expert in the field of media and press law, supports the preparation and implementation of the project. 

Three joint events with the Armenian Bar Association

Ara Zohrabyan (2nd from left), President of the Armenian Bar Association, IRZ expert lawyer Jan Helge Kestel (on his right) and members of the Ethics Council for the Armenian Bar Association
Ara Zohrabyan (2nd from left), President of the Armenian Bar Association, IRZ expert lawyer Jan Helge Kestel (on his right) and members of the Ethics Council for the Armenian Bar Association
Armenia

At the request of the Armenian Bar Association, the IRZ, together with the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK), organised three events on professional ethics for lawyers and dealing with the media and publicity work.

The series of events began with a workshop on professional ethics for lawyers for members of the Ethics Council of the Armenian Bar Association. This took place on 12 and 13 May 2019 in Tsagkhadzor. Lawyer Jan Helge Kestel from the Caemmerer Lenz law firm in Erfurt was invited to the workshop as a speaker. As President of the Thuringian Bar Association and a member of the Committee for Press and Publicity Work at the German Federal Bar Association, Jan Helge Kestel is an acknowledged expert in the subject, which was introduced by the President of the Armenian Bar Association, Ara Zohrabyan. Ara Zohrabyan talked about the situation and status of professional ethics for lawyers in Armenia and about the code of honour. Afterwards, the participants in the workshop discussed the following topics at length:

  • Introduction to the professional regulations for lawyers in Germany (system of chambers, control, organisation),
  • general aspects of professional ethics for lawyers in Germany,
  • professional regulations for lawyers, 
  • possible sanctions and other measures within the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal
  • company law for lawyers in Germany,
  • in-house legal advisers – fundamentals and peculiarities
  • remuneration systems, 
  • marketing for lawyers from an ethical point of view and
  • the system for specialist lawyers.

On the following two days, seminars were held on how bar associations should deal with the media and handle their publicity work. The two seminars on the same topics took place on 14 May in Yerevan and on 15 May in Gyumri. About 40 lawyers took part in each event and showed a great deal of interest in each case. Following an introduction by Hayk Hakobyan, Press officer at the Armenian Bar Association, who spoke about the relationship with the Armenian media, Jan Helge Kestel and lawyer Stephanie Beyrich, Managing Director and Press Officer at the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK), presented the communications strategy at the BRAK, reported on their own personal experiences of publicity work and gave lectures on the following topics: 

  • A comparison between press work at national and regional level,
  • defining the relationships between journalists and the BRAK and journalists and regional bar associations,
  • points of reference for successful press work, 
  • tools of successful press work, including network and press distributors, press releases, information services at the BRAK, events for journalists,
  • dealing with negative press,
  • areas of tension between (regional) press work and the duty of confidentiality.

Both of these seminars took place in addition to the event held in December 2018, which not all the 70 interested lawyers were free to attend at the time. The Armenian Bar Association had therefore asked the IRZ to repeat this seminar twice more to give those interested an opportunity to attend and to include lawyers from other regions by holding a seminar in Gyumri. This meant that a total of 95 participants were able to benefit from the three events.