Armenia - annual report 2013

Länderbericht Armenien 2013David Avetisyan, President of the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation (on the left) and Gevorg Danielyan, advisor to the Constitutional Court, on the occasion of the International Conference of the State University of Yerevan

General - Conceptual orientation

Presidential elections took place in Armenia in February 2013. President Sersch Sarkisjan was re-elected, as had been anticipated. Since the parliamentary elections in May 2012, his party, the Republican Party of Armenia, has had an absolute majority in Parliament. In its reforms in the legal sphere, the Armenian Government continues to take as an orientation its reform strategy paper, which covers the period from 2012 to 2016 and provides for reforms in almost all legal fields. Armenia continues to find itself in a difficult economic and foreign policy situation. There is still considerable population emigration, primarily to Russia, Europe as well as the USA. Armenia also continues to suffer from its geographical isolation, caused by ongoing tense relations with its neighbours Azerbaijan and Turkey. Moreover, the international trade embargo on Iran hinders Armenia's North-South trade links. The meagre natural resource base furthermore means that Armenia is very largely dependent on gas supplies from Russia, which explains Armenia's accession to the customs union with Russia, Belorus and Kazakhstan in 2013. Armenia, which has been a member of the EU's Eastern Partnership since 2009, nonetheless repeatedly stresses its intention of achieving approximation to Europe and the European Union, and is making considerable attempts to tackle and indeed implement reforms towards Western standards.

Cooperation to date

Since beginning cooperation with Armenia in 2011, the IRZ has been able to organise a large number of events: further training seminars and local conferences, as well as several specialist discussions in Germany. The project work with Armenia is primarily characterised by the good, trust-based cooperation with various partner institutions from the judiciary and the further training system. Further partners have been added in the past three years, which makes it clear that the IRZ has successfully established itself in Armenia. All in all, the IRZ is orientated within its consultations in Armenia following the lines of the above mentioned reform strategy paper which the  overnment adopted in 2012. Major partners of the IRZ in Armenia are the criminal chamber as well as the Judicial Department of the Court of Cassation. The IRZ cooperated with the Court of Cassation, in particular in electronic court management. The IRZ is working with the Ministry of Justice on the reform of the Home Ownership Act as well as of the prison system. The Law Institute of the Ministry of Justice, responsible amongst other things for the further training of trainers in the prison system, is also a partner of the IRZ. The IRZ was able to further intensify its cooperation with AYLA on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and arbitration jurisdiction. 

Major partners

  • Ministry of Justice
  • Court of Cassation (criminal chamber and judicial department)
  • Prosecutor's School
  • Armenian Young Lawyers Association (AYLA)

Foci of activity in 2013

Constitutional law/human rights and their enforceability

  • One-week summer school for law students on the European Convention on Human Rights and European law in Arzakan, Armenia Civil and commercial law
  • Fact-finding visit to Berlin by a delegation from the Armenian Ministry of Justice on the reform of the Home Ownership Act with the involvement of the Federal Ministry of Justice and of Berlin Regional Court, amongst others
  • Participation by three staff members of the judicial department of the Armenian Court of Cassation at the international conference on the Hague Convention in Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Conference on arbitration jurisdiction for lawyers as well as representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises in cooperation with AYLA and the Chamber of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan, Armenia

Administration of justice

  • Study visit by a delegation from the judicial department of the Armenian Court of Cassation on electronic court management to Tbilisi, Georgia
  • EU twinning project "Approximation process of EU Acquis and policies on Judicial Cooperation and capacity building of the Translation Centre on Judicial Sector terminologies and methodologies"
  • Participation by the Chairman of the Committee on State and Legal Affairs of the Parliament of the Republic of Armenia to the III Interna-tional Conference of Parliamentary Committees on Legal Affairs in Berlin

Public law

  • Further training seminar "Civil service law and further training in the civil service" in cooperation with the Academy for Public Administration of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan, Armenia
  • Support for the international conference "Modern Issues in the Improvement of Legal Regulation: National and International Legal Aspects" on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Law School of the Yerevan State University in Dilijan and Yerevan, Armenia

Criminal law and the law on the prison system

  • Study visit to Germany by a delegation of the Prosecutor's School on the powers and tasks of investigation authorities and judicial academies in Germany with the involvement of the Local Court, the public prosecution office and Dortmund police headquarters, as well as the North Rhine-Westphalian Judicial Academy
  • Two further training seminars for public prosecutors as well as criminal court judges on criminal fiscal law in cooperation with the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation of the Republic of Armenia in Zarkadzhor and Yerevan, Armenia
  • Armenian-Georgian train-the-trainer seminar for trainers in the prison system in cooperation with the Armenian Law Institute and the Georgian Penitentiary and Probation Training Center in Zarkadzhor, Armenia
  • Funding for the publication "Social work in the criminal law system"

Basic and further training

  • Participation by a professor at the Law School of the University of Armenia at a language course for legal experts of the Goethe Institute in Bonn
  • Participation by two Armenian law students at the IRZ's German law summer school in Brühl
  • IRZ internship for lawyers for an Armenian lawyer


The IRZ will continue to advise Armenia on the reform of criminal law as well as of the prison system in 2014 and intensify its cooperation with the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation and the Ministry of Justice. The consultations on the development of a probation service concept for juveniles are also to be continued. The consultation and support of the new centre for the work on juvenile delinquents which was established in the Ministry of Justice at the end of 2013 will certainly be a focus here. It was unfortunately necessary to cease the extremely constructive cooperation with the Prosecutor's School in the recent years since it was dissolved at the end of 2013 and replaced by a newly-established national Judicial Academy which is to commence operations in January 2014. We have however already had talks with the newly-established Academy, so that the IRZ hopes to be able to gain a new cooperation partner here. The scope of the cooperation has not yet been defined, but will be in the field of basic and further training of public prosecutors as well as judges. The cooperation with the judicial department of the Court of Cassation in the field of the archiving of court files and the allocation of judges' posts is to be continued, as is cooperation with the AYLA, which has been running since 2010. It is planned with the latter to continue the summer school on the ECHR and on European law, which was carried out extremely successfully in July 2013. Furthermore, the IRZ has discussed various potential projects in the field of academic teaching with the Law School of Yerevan State University.

Armenia - annual report 2014

Länderbericht Armenien 2014

Visit by a delegation of the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation and of the court department of Armenia to the Ministry of Justice of Baden-Württemberg

Strategic framework

Legal policy starting point

The signing of the country’s accession treaty to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in October 2014 was a considerable setback in cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Armenia. Armenian President Sersch Sargsyan particularly used security arguments to justify accession. Armenia has formed a security alliance with Russia and other CIS States which, in the opinion of the President, should be supplemented by an economic alliance. The country maintains a close relationship with Russia, which has troops stationed in the country as a “protective force” and is one of the country’s major trading partners. Armenia particularly receives its gas deliveries almost exclusively from Russia. Unlike its neighbour Georgia, the country thus decided against signing an EU Association Agreement, shortly before the actual signature. The EU considers membership of the EAEU to be incompatible with an EU free-trade agreement. The younger, Westernorientated generation, which is strongly orientated towards the values and content of European law, is especially sceptical with regard to this step. Accession to the EAEU does not however mean that Armenia is turning its back on Europe. On the contrary, particularly in recent years, fundamental efforts have been made especially in the criminal justice system to bring about legal reforms that are orientated towards the German system. Even following the resignation of the Prime Minister and the entire Government in the spring of 2014, and the appointment of a new Minister of Justice, the reform efforts were stepped up particularly in the legal system. This system remains orientated towards Western values, so that the IRZ was able to continue its cooperation with Armenia.

Overall concept

Cooperation between the IRZ and Armenia has been continually expanded since starting in 2011. After the abovementioned change of leadership at the Ministry of Justice, it was continued with the new contacts, who from the outset expressed considerable interest in receiving support from the IRZ. This may also be the result of the success of the EU twinning project on legal approximation and support for the Translation Centre, which the IRZ carried out at the Ministry of Justice from September 2012 to August 2014. The reform of the Armenian Penitentiary Code was identified as the first joint project, on which a first meeting of the Armenian working group and an IRZ expert already took place in Yerevan at the end of 2014. In 2014, the IRZ intensified the existing cooperation both with the criminal chamber and with the Judicial Department of the Court of Cassation and continued the training of young lawyers. To this end, as in 2013, the IRZ
once more offered a one-week summer school in Armenia for law students on the European Convention on Human Rights in cooperation with the Armenian Young Lawyers Association (AYLA). There was also intensive cooperation with the Yerevan State University. Within the Master’s degree course on criminology, the IRZ supported a lecture on penitentiary law, as well as two one-year German courses for students at the law school. The IRZ established initial contacts with the Armenian Bar in order to define possible topical areas for future cooperation, possibly with the involvement of the Federal Bar.

Foci of activity in 2014

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

  • One-week summer school in Arzakan, Armenia, for law students on the European Convention on Human Rights

Administration of justice

  • Study visit to Berlin by a delegation from the Armenian Bar
  • Approximation Process of EU Acquis and Policies on Judicial Cooperation and Capacity Building of the Translation Centre on Judicial Sector Terminologies and Methodologies (EU Twinning project) 

Criminal law and the law on the prison system

  • Advice to the Ministry of Justice in drawing up a new Penitentiary Code for Armenia in Yerevan
  • Study visit to Stuttgart and Karlsruhe by a delegation of the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation and of the Judicial Department of Armenia on “Sentencing; evaluation of judges”
  • Lecture on probation law within the Master’s degree course on criminology at the Law Faculty at Yerevan State University
  • Seminar in Yerevan in cooperation with the Law Institute of the Armenian Ministry of Justice on “Valid restrictions on visiting and on bringing technical devices into prisons”
  • Specialist discussions in Yerevan on Juvenile Justice and on the probation service, as well as advice to the “Centre for creative work with juvenile delinquents”

Basic and further training

  • Implementation of two one-year language courses in “German for lawyers” at Yerevan State University
  • Attendance by an Armenian law student at the IRZ’s German law summer school in Brühl


Because of the reform of Penitentiary Code, one focus of the IRZ’s work in Armenia in 2015 will be on criminal law. The Draft Bill for a reformed Code of Criminal Procedure has been submitted to the Armenian Parliament. This reform and that of the Criminal Code, which is currently also being revised, leads to a considerable need for amendments to the Penitentiary Law. A working group composed of Armenian experts, primarily scholars, as well as a German penitentiary expert, will be drawing up the draft of a reformed Penitentiary Code from the beginning of 2015 so that it can be introduced into the legislative process to coincide as closely as possible with the time of introducing the Criminal Code. The Ministry has also enquired as to receiving support from the IRZ in the codification of the probation service, so that this will certainly involve more than one project. In the field of the further training of lawyers, the IRZ will intensify its cooperation with AYLA, as well as with the Bar. Finally, the IRZ will continue its cooperation with the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation, as well as with the Judicial Department.