The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia has issued a statement on the Report published by the Venice Commission following the results of the 119th plenary session. The statement particularly reads as follows:
“The Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of Justice stay true to the goal that has been declared to restore confidence in the judicial power and implement in-depth reforms for recovery of the judiciary, as well as to the position on implementation of the goal through the development of an objective mechanism for specification and expansion of the grounds for instituting disciplinary proceedings against a judge, as well as for assessing the integrity and property status of judges.
Nevertheless, since the content of the Report following the 119th plenary session of the Venice Commission gave way to speculations in the media and sparked questions, we believe the issue primarily concerns the interpretation of the word “vetting” and the ways and form through which the tool has been applied in different countries.
The Ministry of Justice stands firm in its approach according to which improvement of and reforms in the institution of declaration of assets, revenues, expenditures and interests of judges, as well as the effective introduction and application of objective mechanisms for assessment of the integrity and property status of judges will be in the axis of reforms of the judiciary. Thus, in this regard, there is no schism between the statements made in the past and the Report of the Venice Commission.
It should also be mentioned that the 119th plenary session of the Venice Commission (June 21-22, 2019) was followed by the visit of Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Rustam Badasyan to Strasbourg (July 1-2) where these ideas were more thoroughly presented and discussed during meetings with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe Christos Giacoumopoulos, President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio and other high-ranking EU officials.
During the meetings, the minister also presented the approaches of the Government of Armenia in regard to the judicial and legal sector, the short-term and long-term priorities and the possible paths for solutions to the problems that were approved by all the colleagues. Moreover, the colleagues were also told that the Ministry of Justice is also developing two major strategic documents for reforms in the judiciary and the institutional fight against corruption.
As for the fact that the situation regarding the Constitutional Court was reflected in the Report, we would like to inform that the government still hasn’t expressed an official position on this.
We would also like to inform that Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan will issue a statement on this soon.”