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YEREVAN. – We were familiar earlier with the Venice Commission’s conclusion on the ongoing processes in Armenia. I’m a bit bewildered why today there is such a reaction, because this statement had already existed about 20 days ago. Sisak Gabrielyan, a member of the majority My Step faction in the National Assembly of Armenia, on Monday told this to reporters.

In his words, there are two issues here.

“As for the Constitutional Court judge-member issue, the Parliament, as such, hasn’t given any response to it so far; the government, too,” he said, in particular. “[But] we will respond in the near future—[and] within the framework of our powers.”

Reflecting on the views about a crisis within the Constitutional Court, the MP from the My Step faction said as follows, in particular: “I don’t see a constitutional crisis in Article 213 of the Constitution, but there are MPs in our faction who interpret [it] differently (...). This is a legal dispute.”

As for the fact that the Venice Commission does not see any need for conducting vetting among Armenia’s judges, Gabrielyan said: “As a result of meetings with the same international organizations, the Venice Commission, we have come to the conclusion that there is no need to have a separate law on vetting (…). It’s important for us to carry out judicial reforms; we can implement it with the currently functioning constitutional and legal regulations.

“The important thing for us is the content; that is, to make judiciary reforms, which the same Venice Commission records that yes, they, too, have received the information that there has been a revolution in Armenia with the preservation of the constitution, but there has been no changes in the judicial system, and judges are perceived among the public as particles of the former corrupt power. They are ready to cooperate with us in this matter.

“We [Armenia], as a member of the Council of Europe [(CoE)], should also take into account their [the Venice Commission’s] conclusion; that is, there will not be a vetting commission. It [vetting] will be made by making amendments to the judicial code, [and] which will be longer term, (...) and it’s more expedient and useful to specify it in laws that it will be constantly functioning.”

Sisak Gabrielyan added that the Venice Commission has not clearly noted that the blocking of the courts’ entrances is wrong.

“They simply note that they consider it problematic; that is, the diplomatic style is maintained,” the lawmaker said. “We [Armenia] are also constrained in terms of preserving international norms—by maintaining the obligations we have assumed.”

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