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Artak Zeynalyan and President of the Venice Commission discuss a number of issues of mutual interest

31/10/2018

Today, Acting Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Artak Zeynalyan received the delegation led by President of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) Gianni Buquicchio.

Welcoming the visit of the delegation to Armenia, the Acting Minister noted that the values predetermined during the meeting held within the scope of the visit to Venice in June were being preserved and that the new Government was implementing them.

Touching upon the snap parliamentary elections to be held in December 2018, the President of the Venice Commission noted that he understood the situation created and expressed regret at the fact that the National Assembly had not approved the draft Electoral Code.

Agreeing with his counterpart, the Acting Minister of Justice emphasised that the amendments envisaged by the draft would help make a political choice and that this would also be useful for the political forces with low ratings. According to Artak Zeynalyan, the draft submitted to the National Assembly included a number of the observations that the Venice Commission, international observation missions and organisations had made after assessing the parliamentary elections held in 2017. "In any case, the early elections of the Council of Elders of Yerevan were held according to the existing Electoral Code, and they are universally recognised. This attests the fact that the existence of political will is a major factor for holding elections, and our Government does have that political will,” the Acting Minister of Justice noted and assured that the to-be-formed Government would improve the Electoral Code.

Gianni Buquicchio also expressed confidence that there would be an opportunity for joint efforts for not only making amendments to the Electoral Code, but also for implementing reforms in the judiciary following the elections. "We, as the Venice Commission, are willing to work towards improvement of the judiciary,” the President of the Commission said and asked about the disciplinary proceedings applicable to judges, noting that the activities of the Disciplinary Commission composed of judges may give way to doubts. In response, Artak Zeynalyan noted that during the activities of the Supreme Judicial Council, there had not been a single case when the issue of imposing disciplinary action against a judge became a matter of discussion. "This means that the Disciplinary Commission, which is composed of judges, does not exercise self-regulation and self-control, the powers whereof it is vested with. Consequently, the Minister of Justice will be obliged — by exercising his competence — to launch the process of filing a motion with the Supreme Judicial Council with the request to impose disciplinary action against a judge,” the Acting Minister of Justice said.

A number of issues related to the digitisation of justice, the possibilities for increasing the salaries of judges and the creation of an Anti-Corruption Authority were also discussed during the meeting.

Both parties reaffirmed the willingness to further deepen the co-operation.

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