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Legislative package to introduce a balanced mechanism for assessment of judges’ integrity presented for public deliberation

09/08/2019

The Ministry of Justice has posted on the unified website for publication of legal acts’ drafts (https://www.e-draft.am/projects/1852/justification) the package of draft Laws ''On making amendments and supplements to the Constitutional Laws '' Judicial Code'' and ''On the Constitutional Court'''' and of related laws for public deliberation.

It is expected that the adoption of the draft Laws will lead to the introduction of a balanced mechanism for assessment of judges’ integrity which, on the one hand, will allow to lead an effective fight against corruption, patronage, the delivery of a judicial act guided by personal links and concealment of fundamental violations of human rights, and, on the other hand, will provide an opportunity to not undermine the independence and sustainability of the judiciary, as it is the Supreme Judicial Council — endowed with the constitutional mission to ensure independence of the judiciary — that is going to be the main body responsible for the whole process, and, in case of judges of the Constitutional Court — the Constitutional Court.

Among other regulations, the drafts envisage the following:

  • the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption shall initiate disciplinary proceedings against a judge on the grounds of failure to submit to the Commission the declaration of property, incomes and interests, as well as proper materials substantiating change in property. This may be viewed as an essential disciplinary violation, and the Supreme Judicial Council may render a decision on terminating the powers of the judge;
  • the powers of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption shall be expanded for the purpose of building the capacities for analysing declarations;
  • the grounds for subjecting a judge to disciplinary liability shall be specified;
  • Discovery of an act containing prima facie elements of a disciplinary violation following examination of a judicial act rendered by an international court to which the Republic of Armenia is a party or by other international institution shall become an occasion to initiate disciplinary proceedings;
  • Besides judges, it is recommended to include one representative from the Office of the Human Rights Defender and two representatives of civil society in the Disciplinary Commission of the General Assembly of Judges in order to ensure transparency of the activities of the specified Commission.
  • the minimum age for becoming a judge will be lowered from 28 to 25, based on international experience as well;
  • the scheme for early retirement of judges of the Constitutional Court shall be introduced with the purpose of providing an opportunity to implement the model for formation of the Constitutional Court provided for by the Constitution as amended in 2015.

 

The Ministry of Justice anticipates the active participation of all stakeholders in order to develop the best solutions to improve the sector.

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