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We must have a Constitution that makes the Republic of Armenia more competitive and viable in the new geopolitical conditions. prime minister


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On January 18, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the Ministry of Justice to participate in the discussion of the activity report 2023 of the Ministry.

Before the discussion, the Prime Minister made two emphasis. "First, the Ministry of Justice is involved in the work of the delimitation commission. I want to emphasize the strategic importance of the delimitation process, because, of course, there are very serious political, socio-psychological, and security issues here.

Understandably and obviously, we live in a world that is changing at a very high speed and in unpredictable directions, and it is very important to finally answer the following question: what is our vision and formula for ensuring the security of the Republic of Armenia? We have had many discussions on this issue in various formats, and my conclusion is that the cornerstone of ensuring the security of the Republic of Armenia is legitimacy. What does this mean? This means that we have to formulate the problem very clearly, of course the problem or its formulation is very obvious, but we should not hesitate to re-record this, and the record is that we set a task for the Republic of Armenia to develop in its internationally recognized territory as a legal, democratic state. And this should be the strategic perception of the future of our country: the Republic of Armenia as a sovereign, legal, democratic and a social state. Of course, this list can be continued, but I am talking about the primary directions at the moment.

The question arises: what is the territory of the Republic of Armenia? Actually, I want to emphasize again that we don't have to find an answer to this question, but we just have to take the existing answer off the shelves and put it on the table. It will be difficult for me to say how many years, but since a long time ago, the size of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia has been recorded in the land balance of the Republic of Armenia. In other words, the government of the Republic of Armenia adopts the land balance of the Republic of Armenia from time to time. This happened before 2018 and after 2018, and we, after all, must fix this and base our legitimacy, legitimate questions, expectations and emphasis on this foundation and logic. At the same time, I link the legitimacy of our actions and positions on a conceptual level within the logic of the concept "the motherland is the state".

But why am I saying this today, now, at the Ministry of Justice? Because what was said means that the role of our legal community in ensuring external security will gradually increase. This is a very important point, I think it's an obvious thing, but there are obvious things that all of us, or maybe at least I, or many colleagues, don't have in our daily focus area, because you see, saying security we usually unerstand the military, the Armed Forces, we understand diplomacy. Both are correct, that is, there is no problem here, but we forget the very legitimacy to ensure security, which primarily relies on the shoulders of our legal community. And I want to make this emphasis in the presence of the Minister of Justice, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs of the National Assembly, of course I also want to emphasize the role of the Constitutional Court in this process, in general, the role of the judicial system. I want us to be ready for this kind of work, which, in my opinion, will significantly increase the effectiveness of security in this period.

But I say again, we should put the subtitle of legitimacy under the concept of "the motherland is the state", because sometimes legitimacy can get a very wide range from different points of view. And in that case, when I say range, I mean the sovereign, internationally recognized territory and borders of the Republic of Armenia."

Referring to the next emphasis, Prime Minister Pashinyan noted: "The world is changing, and our region will inevitably change as well, and the Republic of Armenia will change as well. This change can be treated in many different ways. But irrespective of our approach to evolution, it happens. Therefore, our position and approach should not be to stop this evolution, this is illogical in itself, because by stopping the evolution, we will achieve degradation, but to manage it in accordance with the state interests of the Republic of Armenia.

In this regard, during one or two working discussions with the Minister of Justice, I recorded that in my opinion and that of a number of colleagues, and I am voicing this opinion so that it becomes the subject of a wider discussion, the Republic of Armenia needs a new Constitution, not Constitutional amendments, but a new Constitution. Moreover, I want to emphasize that usually when talking about these topics, the first focus is the following: what government system do we want to change and for whom?

I want to emphasize that my publicly expressed position on this matter has not undergone any change. I am convinced and time, of course, with some phases of doubts, but in the end it proved that at least for me and for a number of colleagues, the parliamentary model of governance of Armenia, taking into account our democratic aspirations and strategies, is the most suitable for the Republic of Armenia. Moreover, I am now even more convinced that if we did not have a parliamentary model of government in the post-war period of 2020, what perhaps many wanted to happen to our statehood could have happened. It's not about this. I want to say right now that there is not much to change politically in the current model of governance, for example. It's a bit of a professional issue, like what needs to be changed in the judicial system. I mean, politically, my problem is different.

The first thing is that I think that no matter how much we try to solve this problem in other ways, the Republic of Armenia should finally have a Constitution adopted by the people of the Republic of Armenia with the results of a vote that does not give rise to doubts. This is also an important emphasis related to legitimacy. Second, we must have a Constitution that makes the Republic of Armenia more competitive and more viable in the new geopolitical and regional conditions.

Since the Ministry of Justice has, in fact, a very central role in both issues, I wanted to emphasize this so that we can devote ourselves to such work in the near future. Also, let's convey the message to our legal community that the activities of the legal community will obviously increase in the near future from the point of view of ensuring the external security of the Republic of Armenia. Moreover, I believe in the effectiveness of that approach and I also see and am sure that in the case of a professional approach, indeed, legal work can have quite great effects and results in terms of ensuring the legitimacy of those positions, even the legitimacy of our political decisions," the Prime Minister said.

Minister of Justice Grigor Minasyan and the deputy ministers presented the works done. It was reported that the Ministry's budget implementation was 99.4%.

The Ministry implemented the entire process of establishment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its launch process from January 1, 2023.

The reforms of the judicial system were presented to the Prime Minister. From June 15, 2023, the new Anti-Corruption Court of Appeal has been operating, providing a three-level specialized examination of anti-corruption cases.

Salaries of more than 250 judges have increased significantly: in the first instance courts - by 60%, in appeal courts - by 55%.

A new special procedure for the selection of judges has been introduced, by which candidates for judges are appointed as judges in a short time after passing a difficult exam. As a result, the judiciary is now almost fully staffed. Criminal and civil courts of first instance were established in Yerevan.

In order to unload the courts, from now on, banks, UCOs, utility companies and mobile phone operators submit applications for confiscation not exceeding 2 million AMD to notaries, instead of to the court. As a result, the burden of judges will decrease by around 90 percent. It is expected that a civil judges examining 2000-4000 cases, will have 200-300 cases from spring.

Referring to the issue related to the activity and workload of the courts, the Prime Minister noted. "We should consider the issue of judges as well. Is there an international standard, I don't know in 2 years or 4, but we have to ensure that standard. And I say again: we are not doing this for the judges and ourselves, we are doing it to make justice available. If we say that we want to be a legal, democratic state, cases cannot last 5 years."

The new Arbitration Center was launched, a training course for new mediators was organized, as a result of which 14 new mediators were qualified.

The index of disciplinary proceedings initiated against judges was presented, according to which 31 disciplinary proceedings were initiated during the reporting period. In the last year, the powers of 33 judges was terminated, of which 10 were due to disciplinary proceedings.

The building conditions of the courts have been improved, in particular, the building of the Anti-Corruption Court of Appeals has been reconstructed, the conference room of the Supreme Judicial Council has been renovated, the Anti-Corruption Court of First Instance has been located in a newly renovated area at 3/9 Tbilisi Street. A long-term project to standardize courthouses has been launched.

It was reported that the Anti-corruption strategy 2023-2026 was adopted last year. A number of reforms have been implemented in the sector. All the judges of the anti-corruption court have undergone training. New rules of conduct for state and municipal officials have been developed.

The course of implementation of international obligations was presented. The report "Prevention of corruption among MPs, judges and prosecutors" of the GRECO Fourth Evaluation Round was approved. As a result of large-scale reforms, as well as negotiations of the Armenian delegation, the Republic of Armenia has overcome the necessary threshold.

The monitoring report of the 5th stage of the OECD "Anti-corruption reforms in Armenia" was summarized.

It was reported that the bill on missing persons and captives has been developed. On the initiative of the Ministry of Justice, the 13th additional protocol on the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances was ratified.

Last year, the new strategic directions of Penitentiary and Probation Sector for 2024-2026 were approved. It was reported that the package for the construction of a new penitentiary on the German model was handed over to the Urban Development Committee, there is a tender winner, which will present the design budget documents by November 2024. Currently, a soil examination is being carried out to determine the feasibility of construction in the area. The ventilation, combined heating and air conditioning system of the "Armavir" penitentiary facility was put into operation. Renovation works have been carried out in various penitentiary facilities. For the first time, the pilot program of public defender-trustee communication via video call was implemented in "Armavir" penitentiary facility.

660 electronic monitoring devices were purchased to properly implement the preventive measures of house arrest and administrative control by the Probation Service.

The Ministry of Justice has launched a large-scale digitization process, as a result of which in 2023 a number of systems have been digitized: bankruptcy, conciliation, enforcement, and for the first time a fully digitized civil procedure will be launched.

Reference was made to the notary sector, it was noted that the procedure for examining and appointing notaries has been radically changed. From now on, donation transactions will be sealed only with notarization, also taking into account the fact that during the last year, there was a tendency to mask the real purpose of the transaction - sale and purchase - with a donation, which was evidenced by the sharp increase in donation transactions.

The first draft of the concept of constitutional reforms was submitted to the government. The Council's final debates will begin in January.

In cooperation with the sectoral civil society and with the support of Freedom House, a package has been developed for the implementation and legislative consolidation of media self-regulation mechanisms.

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