For decades, Armenia was captured by a group of corrupt people. This capture was expressed by illegal control over various de-jure independent institutions among which the most important one was the judiciary.
For decades, the courts were fully controlled by the executive branch and presidents. No court did ever make a single decision that would substantially contradict the group interests of the corrupt officials and oligarchs that had captured the state.
There are many examples expressing the capture of courts. These examples have been voiced in this hall many times and I would like to avoid repetition.
Following the democratic change in 2018, executive and then legislative powers were formed through democratic processes in Armenia. But this change, unfortunately, has not reached the judicial power so far.
The executive and legislative branches of government are not responsible for the decisions taken by the courts, but they bear responsibility for implementing judicial reform and introduction of mechanisms ensuring the institutional independence of courts.
The experience of Georgia, Ukraine and other states shows that after democratic transition justice reform is the hardest. But it should also be noted that the Armenian authorities where too slow to start the justice reform. It actually started a few months ago, while it could have started a year ago.
The need for judicial reform is critical in Armenia. The judicial system needs to be freed both from those who carried out the orders of corrupt authorities and from traditions that violate independence of justice. This should be done in a way that no one can ever capture the judiciary again.
And it is of little surprise to me that the representatives of former government that had captured the judiciary speak about the lack of it’s independence now. This is quite ironic, that someone who had personal responsibility to guarantee the independence of justice that actually was under total control, is speaking about the problems of justice.
And few words about former prsident Robert Kocharyan, who is under pre-trial detention now and whose trial is called politically motivated by Russian propaganda and our former government. Of course, Mr. Kocharyan should enjoy the right of fair trial. But we are talking about a person, who has used tanks agains peaceful protesters. Pardon me, but being prosecuted for using military agains peaceful demonstrations cannot be considered politicaliy motivated.