Participants in the criminal law colloquium in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia
Participants in the criminal law colloquium in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia

A colloquium on enforcement measures in criminal proceedings, which had long been planned by the IRZ together with the criminal division of the Court of Cassation of the Republic of Armenia, finally took place under unexpected conditions on 26 and 27 April 2018. The colloquium was held at the same time as major demonstrations were taking place in Yerivan and other parts of Armenia, during which sections of the population expressed their frustration with the Armenian government and their desire for political change.

The events, which were also reported in the German media, were therefore not just a topic of conversation at the professional event. They also required a certain flexibility in terms of logistics. This is because, although the event was held in the peaceful surroundings of the mountain resort of Tsaghkadzor, road blocks meant that the participants, who had come from various parts of the country, were not able to reach the venue on time. And so the colloquium started a little later than planned, although all the scheduled subject matter was still covered.

From the German side, a former judge at the German Federal Court of Justice, Holger Rothfuß, presented the German rules governing pre-trial custody, banning people from exercising their professions and bail payments. Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg and Honorary Professor at the Institute of Economics and Law at Stuttgart University, expanded on the German perspective concerning the representation of provisions of European law and introduced in particular the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

A lot of time was taken up with questions from the participating criminal court judges, who came to the event from courts of first instance, the court of appeal and the court of cassation. There were lively discussions about the lectures and about the planned changes to the laws on pre-trial custody in Armenia, the possibilities for appeal and about more practical concerns, such as the management of on-call rosters at court. The discussions were enriching for all parties concerned.

The ongoing political developments in Armenia are being closely monitored by the IRZ and are likely to continue to have an effect in the near future on the activities of the IRZ in this country.