Notaries’ conference in Armenia

A conference on the current developments in Armenian notary services was organised by the IRZ in Yerevan on 11 July 2016. This conference was held in partnership with the Armenian Chamber of Notaries, which was represented by its President, Vanine Hovsepyan, and some of its board members. From the German side, the Vice-President of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries, Richard Bock, himself a notary and also Chairman of the Koblenz Chamber of Notaries, took part in the one-day conference. Over 30 Armenian notaries from Yerevan and many other regions as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice also took part in the event. This was the first event organised by the IRZ with the Armenian Chamber of Notaries.

One of the objectives of the conference was to discuss digitalisation and people-friendly processes, which are currently part of the reform of notary processes in both Germany and Armenia. It was also the occasion to talk about some of the new developments in notarial matters in Armenia, the subject of reforms to Armenian notarial law, which has existed for several years already and is now undergoing revision by the Ministry of Justice.

With regards to digitalisation, Richard Bock gave an outline of the electronic systems already used in German notary processes in the field of the land and commercial registers, as well as the upcoming digital archiving of notarial documents across Germany, which was initiated by the German Federal Chamber of Notaries. Vardan Hovhannisyan, an IT expert at the Armenian Chamber of Notaries explained the “One Window” system, an electronic system simplifying notaries’ applications with various authorities, which has recently been introduced in Armenia. Other lectures covered subjects including the enforcement of notarial deeds, notarial liability and the responsibilities of notaries in certification processes. The short lectures by German speakers and their Armenian colleagues were followed by lively and often very controversial discussions. This showed how interested the participants were in the subjects that were discussed and enabled an intense exchange of opinion between the experienced practitioners and the Ministry of Justice.

Working group meeting on the new legislation concerning the execution of prison sentences in Armenia

On 19 and 20 March 2016, members of a working group and other representatives of the Armenian Ministry of Justice met with the German expert Dr. Stefan von der Beck in Zaghkadsor, Armenia, to discuss the draft legislation concerning the execution of prison sentences. The Deputy Minister of Justice, Suren Krmoyan, who is coordinating the project on behalf of the Armenian Ministry of Justice, also attended the meeting, which took place as part of the cooperation between the IRZ and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia.

Discussions during the two-day meeting focussed on the well-advanced draft legislation on the probation service, as well as the draft legislation concerning the execution of prison sentences. Both laws have until now been the focus of work by various structures and authorities and are now thought to be ready for incorporation in legislation. The discussions took place at a highly professional level and it soon became clear that all the participants want to agree on a single solution.

The IRZ has been supporting the Armenian Ministry of Justice in its reform of the legislation concerning the execution of prison sentences since the end of 2014. As well as various meetings between the working group and Dr. von der Beck, a working visit to Oldenburg also took place at the end of 2015. This presented an opportunity, amongst other things, for participants to gain a direct insight into German penal institutions. There are plans for further meetings to look in detail at the texts for the definitive proposed legislation and these will take place over the next few months between the working group and the German expert.

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

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.