Administration of justice in the Republic of Armenia

Press release
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In the perspective of the Forum Justice: New challenges – The Right to an effective remedy before an independent tribunal organised by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation the Civil Society Institute (CSI) in Yerevan on April 6-8, FIDH, together with CSI, the Helsinki Committee of Armenia, the Collaboration for Democracy Centre and the Foundation against Violation of Law, releases today a briefing paper to recall the preoccupations concerning the functioning of the justice system of the Republic of Armenia.

Our organisations express their concerns at the various violations of the right to a fair trial that were observed in past years in the Republic of Armenia, including abuses in the recourse to pre-trial detention, violations of the presumption of innocence, of the rights of the defence. Many occurrences of partiality on the part of judges were also reported, in particular during the trials of the opposition leaders arrested in the wake of the March 2008 events. Moreover, there are numerous cases of the use of testimonies obtained illegally through torture and ill treatment. Our organisations recall that torture and ill treatment are still practised by the police, and that detention conditions do not meet international standards nor are they in conformity with the national legislation. The lack of transparency of the “Independent Committees on Early Conditional Release from a Sentence or the Substitution of the Remaining Portion of a Sentence with a Lighter Sentence” and the absence of separate justice for juveniles are also issues of concern.

Our organisations recall that the international Forum dedicated to Justice, with the support and participation of international experts such as the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo, and of major international organizations, is a crucial opportunity for Armenia to improve its justice system. It is also an occasion for the Republic of Armenia to foster a positive international dynamic in ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, thus setting an example for the international community and the region in particular.

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