On June 19, a number of deputies of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia initiated amendments to Article 213 of the Constitution, which envisage to limit the term of office of judges of the Constitutional Court to 12 years, and dismiss judges who have held office for longer terms. The bill also envisages the termination of Hrayr Tovmasyan’s tenure as chairman of the Constitutional Court (but not as a judge of the Constitutional Court).
The Republic of Armenia had been occupied by the corrupt regime for years, and the judiciary was both the object and agent of that occupation. With its decisions, the Constitutional Court has legitimized rigged elections for years, making political and, consequently, economic and social changes impossible in the country. The constitutional amendments in 2015 provided for some independence of the judiciary, including the restriction of the term of office of judges of the Constitutional Court, and the election of judges by the President of the Court. However, at the same time, the corrupt regime introduced a provision that effectively nullified the reform, postponing the amendments for 17 years.
The undersigned NGOs welcome the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia as an initiative to ensure the legitimacy of the Constitutional Court.
At the same time, the undersigned NGOs believe that the current Constitution, which has provided for state capture, cannot ensure the principles of the rule of law, and urge the authorities to initiate constitutional amendments that will ensure the separation and balance of powers and will guarantee the legitimacy of state institutions.
In the meantime, we call for speeding up the reform of the judicial system, including by conducting a large-scale vetting of judges and law enforcement officers, which is the mission and responsibility of the legitimately formed parliament towards the citizens of the Republic of Armenia who have made the Velvet Revolution a reality.
Union of Informed Citizens NGO
“Asparez” Journalists Club NGO
Transperncy International Anti-Corruption Center NGO