What is the freedom of information?
What information does the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia hold?
The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia holds:
• information relating to the general activities of the Ministry, which particularly relate to draft legal acts, policy-making in the relevant field, its financial activities, information obtained as a result of enforcement proceedings, information relating to the convicts and detainees, etc.
• information maintained in the registry book of departmental regulatory legal acts;
• information maintained in the unified state registry books of legal persons;
• information on the records made in civil status acts.
What are the principles of the right to freedom of information?
The basic principles for ensuring freedom of information are as follows:
1. Establishing a unified procedure for registering, classifying and maintaining information, which should be carried out by the information holder — in the manner prescribed by the Government of the Republic of Armenia;
2. Protecting the freedom to seek for and receive information. This principle implies that, every person has the right to get familiar with the information he or she sought for and/or apply to the information holder with a request to receive such information in the manner prescribed by law and receive the requested information. Moreover, foreigners may exercise their right to freedom of information only in cases provided for by law and (or) international treaties;
3. Ensuring access to information. The information holder, in the manner prescribed by law, develops and publishes a procedure for providing information, which is published on its official website, and where impossible — it should be displayed in the place of its location and made visible to all.
4. Publicity. The information holder, at least once a year, publishes the following information relating to its activities and amendments made thereto:
- activities performed (to be performed) for and services provided (to be provided) to the public;
- the budget;
- forms of written requests and advisory instructions on completing them;
- list of positions, as well as names, surnames, education, profession, position, telephone numbers of the place of work, e-mail addresses of the officials;
- recruitment procedure and vacant positions;
- environmental impact;
- plan of public events;
- procedure for, days, hours and place of reception of citizens;
- the pricing procedure in the field of activities and services, prices (tariffs);
- the list of information held and procedure for holding thereof;
- statistical and summarised data on requests received, including the grounds for rejection thereof;
- sources of processing or receiving information;
- data on the person entitled to clarify the information.
What is considered restricted information?
Restricted information is the information that only the person to whom such information concerns (or duly authorised person) may apply for and receive. For example, restricted information includes information relating to the records made in civil status acts by the bodies of Civil Status Acts Registration of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia.
In all other cases, information is considered publicly available and may be provided to any person requesting such information, provided that they apply in the prescribed manner.
What is the procedure for provision of information?
Information is provided through a request based on written or verbal application addressed to the information holder. Requests to receive information may be filed both by natural and legal persons.
The applicant, who requests information verbally, is obliged to indicate, in advance, his or her name and surname. The reply to the verbal request is provided where:
- the provision of the requested information may prevent the threat to state, public security, public order, public health and morals, rights and freedoms of others, environment, ownership of persons;
- it is necessary to verify the availability of relevant information with the given information holder.
- it is necessary to clarify the procedure for considering the written requests by the information holder.
The written request should include the name, surname, nationality, place of residence, place of location of the employee or the educational institution of the applicant. The written request should be signed (in case of legal entity — its name, place of location). Reply to the written request is not provided where:
- it does not include requested data relating to the applicant;
- it has become known that the data relating to the identity of its author are fake;
- it is the second application filed by the same person with a request to receive the same information within the last 6 months, except for the case when information containing non reliable or incomplete data has been provided.
Moreover, a written request may be filed on-line through the official website of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia or using the sample request form.
Is there any charge for provision of information?
The provision of information or its duplicate (copy) is carried out in accordance with the procedure established by the Government of the Republic of Armenia.
Provision of information is not charged in the following cases:
• replying to verbal requests;
• providing up to 10 pages of printed or copied information;
• providing information through electronic mail (on-line);
• replying to written requests on provision of information, the publication of which may prevent the threat to state, public security, public order, public health and morals, rights and freedoms of others, environment, ownership of persons;
• if the provision of information indicated in the written request requires additional work, such information is provided to the applicant within a 30-day period after receiving the application, and within 5-day period after receiving the request, the applicant is informed in writing, indicating the reasons for such delay and the deadline for provision of information;
• if the information holder does not have the requested information or provision of such information is beyond its scope of authorities, it, within a 5-day period after receiving the given request, is obliged to inform the applicant about it in writing, and where possible he or she should be provided also with the place of location of the information holder (including archive), which holds such information;
• rejecting the provision of information.
Moreover, state duty in the amount of AMD 3 000 (three thousand) is charged for the provision of complete information on a single entity, maintained in the Unified State Registry of Legal Persons and state registry books and placed on the website.
For clarification of information published on the website of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, please contact Lusine Martirosyan, Head of Information and Public Relations Department of the Ministry (contact person for ensuring freedom of information).
Tel.: (010) 38 02 23, e-mail: info@mօյ.am.