Armenia – annual report 2022

EU Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin (l.) and Deputy Minister of Justice Yeranuhi Tumanyants (r.) at the Closing Conference on Judicial Reform and Access to Justice in the context of the EU Grant “Consolidation of the Justice System in Armenia”.
EU Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin (l.) and Deputy Minister of Justice Yeranuhi Tumanyants (r.) at the Closing Conference on Judicial Reform and Access to Justice in the context of the EU Grant “Consolidation of the Justice System in Armenia”.

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Armenia finds itself in a difficult and tense position in regard to its domestic and foreign policies. This has applied not only since Russia launched its war of aggression on Ukraine. The country is caught between the dichotomous poles of adopting a pro-Western reform course on the one hand and its dependence on Russia as a “security power” in Nagorno-Karabakh on the other, where Russia has been tasked with ensuring compliance with the ceasefire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia since 2020. Moreover, strategically ­important sectors of the economy are controlled by Russian investors. With this in mind, Armenia has been highly reticent in its public statements since the start of the Ukraine war and has not adopted a clear stance in international forums. Recent high-level talks have tried to ease the tensions in Armenia’s relationship with the neighbouring countries of Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Despite the tension on the domestic and foreign policy fronts, the government of Armenia has continued to focus on convergence with the European Union and is implementing suitable reforms with regard to the introduction of EU standards.

Overall Concept

IRZ supports the process of EU legal harmonisation and is involved in Armenia both within the framework of EU-funded projects – including more recently the EU Grant project “Consolidation of the Justice System in Armenia”, which ended in August 2022, and currently in a Twinning project in the area of anti-corruption policy – as well as in projects funded with grants from the Federal Ministry of Justice. Consultations within the scope of this funding have traditionally prioritised the areas of criminal and penitentiary law. The new Armenian Penitentiary Code, for which IRZ provided ongoing advice, entered into effect in the summer of 2022. In this context, IRZ has, since the end of 2021, also been advising a working group tasked with planning the construction of a new penitentiary institution in Yerevan on compliance with European penitentiary standards.

Focus of Activity in 2022

Constitutional Law, Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Technical advice to the Office of the Human Rights Defender on preparing the annual report on “Rights and protection of young people and persons with disabilities” (several advisory meetings, partly online, hybrid and a face-to-face format, as well as written opinions on technical issues)

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Several expert talks with the Ministry of Justice working group tasked with planning the construction of a new penitentiary facility in Yerevan in compliance with European penitentiary standards (two in hybrid format and three face-to-face)
  • Study trip to Germany within the framework of the expert advice provided to the Ministry of Justice working group regarding practical implementation of European penitentiary standards
  • Workshop on modern penitentiary concepts at the Vanadzor ­penitentiary institution

Basic and Further Training

  • Autumn School in criminal law and criminal procedure law in cooperation with the Law Faculty at Yerevan State University

Projects funded by the European Union:

EU Twinning project “Fostering integrity and preventing corruption in the public sector in Armenia”

IRZ has been implementing a 24-month EU Twinning project to benefit the Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC) of Armenia since June 2022 in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia and the Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) as junior partner.

The overarching objective of this project is to promote integrity and prevent corruption in the public sector in Armenia. Specifically, the project aims to develop and implement educational and awareness programmes for policy to combat corruption. At the same time, it is also involved in capacity building to strengthen the integrity of Armenia’s public sector. Other objectives include advancing implementation of the anti-corruption strategy, in particular by expanding the monitoring tasks performed by the Department of Anti-Corruption Policy Development and Monitoring at the Armenian Ministry of Justice.

The project consists of four components:

The first project component aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of CPC to develop and support implementation of policy to prevent corruption (promote integrity) and of public awareness programmes in Armenia. IRZ experts work on developing programmes for the general education system, the higher education system and a system for the purposeful further training of government officials.

In addition, the second component aims to establish strategic communication and cooperation mechanisms to improve CPC’s communication with civil society and the media, as well as with external stakeholders and the public. This component is also intended to provide further training to CPC staff in the area of public relations.

The third project component focuses on supporting the Armenian Ministry of Justice in the implementation of its anti-corruption strategy. Included in this are the development of policy to combat corruption and its legal framework, as well as the development of monitoring methodology in order to put this strategy into practice. At the same time, the aim is to sustainably strengthen implementation of international commitments in regard to policy to combat corruption.

The fourth and last project component promotes the development of integrity measures for state enterprises and public sector institutions. IRZ experts will perform an evaluation of the policy to combat corruption in state enterprises and develop a plan to improve corporate integrity in Armenia.

EU-Grant project “Consolidation of the Justice System in ­Armenia”

Dedicated to general consolidation of Armenia’s judicial reform, IRZ successfully completed this EU project in August 2022 after more than two years of operation. Expertise France and the Latvian Court Adminis­tration were its partners.

Despite the initially adverse project circumstances that necessitated an exclusively digital launch in the summer of 2020, the project significantly promoted the country’s ongoing judicial reform within the framework of three project components in relatively short term. For instance, the project assisted with a number of legal reforms and legislative initiatives that are intended to contribute to faster decisions in civil and administrative procedures – especially if the facts of the matter are simple. This is viewed as essential to ease the strain on the courts and to speed up the process of establishing legal repose. The promotion of alternative dispute resolution methods – another focus area within the project – will contribute to this process as well. In this context, the expert team advised the Ministry of Justice on important amendments to the Mediation Act, supported the development of a training concept for future mediators and conducted an initial intensive course for this group. Another focus was on the establishment of a national arbitration centre. In this regard, the project was used to provide detailed advice at the explicit request of the Ministry of Justice in order to create a valid legal and practical framework with due consideration of European best practices.

The further training component was another priority of the consulting. Based on a comprehensive needs assessment, the project supported the Armenian Academy of Justice in establishing more professional structures for the concept, design, implementation and evaluation of its further training programme for members of the judiciary in line with European standards. The key outcome of this intense advisory cooperation was a practical training manual, which is available in English and Armenian and was used by the academy during the project. Accompanying this, the project also involved holding over 100 training events, which benefited around 3,000 participants in total from all stakeholder groups within the legal profession. Further training activities are rarely intended for judges at the Constitutional and Insolvency Courts, which is why the participants rated these activities as particularly relevant.

Another aim of the project was to strengthen the professional ethics and integrity of judges and public prosecutors, especially in the form of consultations on rules of conduct for professionals with regard to their political activities, acceptance of gratuities, conflicts of interest and dealing with (social) media, as well as concerning disciplinary measures against members of the judiciary and the public prosecutor’s office in the dichotomous field between disciplinary responsibility and personal independence. The findings and results of the consultations were incorporated into another manual, which is intended to help Armenian professional bodies and also practitioners to read and interpret the relevant laws in the light of international standards.

Other important project contents included modernisation and digitisation efforts within the judiciary, examining the work of courts according to Council of Europe European Commission standards for the efficiency of justice (CEPEJ standards to improve transparency), reform of the Regulatory Offences Act and support for the newly established Anti-Corruption Court or its future judiciary. Aside from the core team – which consisted of a team leader and three long-term experts – 32 local and 27 European experts were deployed in 60 missions, primarily on the ground in Armenia. The extremely positive feedback from project beneficiaries, who described the close, collegial and transparent cooperation between the local actors and the project team as exceptional, stands as proof that these efforts were worthwhile.

EU Technical Assistance project “Development and Introduction of E-Justice Solutions in Armenia”

IRZ has been involved in implementation of the EU project “Development and Introduction of E-Justice Solutions in Armenia” under the leadership of the French partner SOFRECO since November 2021. The project is scheduled to run for 24 months and is endowed with a volume of just under €1,270,000. This EU project aims to develop a uniform e-justice system to guarantee digitisation of all paperwork circulated within the judicial system. Furthermore, the project envisages the establishment of an e-justice portal, which will bring the judiciary closer to the people and improve transparency and efficiency within the judicial sector while reducing the cost of court proceedings. Not only will the e-justice portal facilitate access to current systems in the judicial sector, it will also enable the e-services created within the framework of the project.

The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of High-Tech Industry in the Republic of Armenia take centre stage as the beneficiary authorities, in ­addition to the Supreme Judicial Council and the public prosecutor’s offices.

Jointly organised with the Armenian Ministry of Justice and attended by the Armenian Deputy Minister of Justice and the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, an event was held in Yerevan in mid-April 2022 to present the e-justice portal to potential users.


Cooperation with the Armenian partners in the field of criminal and penitentiary law, as well as the new cooperation with the Office of the Human Rights Defender, will be continued, deepened and regionally expanded. A large number of measures will again be implemented in 2023 within the EU Twinning project on preventing corruption. Moreover, further training for young legal professionals will remain an important priority for IRZ’s cooperation with partners such as the Yerevan State University and the Academy of Justice.

Please find the Annual Report 2022 here: Media centre – Annual reports.