March 25
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Yerevan Today’s correspondent sat down for an interview with British lawyer Edward Fitzgerald, who is also one of the attorneys of second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan.

Yerevan Today: What are your expectations from tomorrow’s trial?

Edward Fitzgerald: The case of the events of March 1, 2008 is entering a new, crucial stage in which there is ongoing political repression and interference in the activities of courts. I urge Judge Anna Danibekyan to perform her functions independently and without bias. According to the legal documents of the Council of Europe, a judge must ensure enforcement of international law and European law and acknowledge and apply the recent decision adopted by the Constitutional Court of Armenia which, as a matter of fact, also arises from the regulations in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Yerevan Today: What is your opinion of the latest developments?

Edward Fitzgerald: It is clear that courts in Armenia are under pressure. The Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights will give their evaluations sooner or later. The Armenian government is not following the principle of rule of law. The Armenian authorities are exerting pressure on their political opponents and former politicians.

What happened on May 20 directly dealt a severe blow to the independence of courts and judges. The actions and disrespectful attitude of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and the deputies of the ruling political party of the National Assembly pose a direct threat to the independence of courts and particularly to implementation of justice within the scope of this criminal case. Both the Prime Minister and the deputies of the ruling political party of the National Assembly have performed, and there is a risk that they will continue to perform actions that are putting the independence of courts at risk and causing harm to it.

I would like to remind everyone that the 1994 Recommendation No 12(94) of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Independence, Efficiency and Role of Judges requires that Armenia undertake all the necessary measures to ensure and protect the independence of judges and not take actions that may put that independence at risk. Moreover, I must also state that this Recommendation requires that judges are independence and act without any restrictions, needless influence, motives, repressions, threats or interference (direct or indirect) in the process of rendering a decision.

I am certain that Armenia will respect and protect the right of former President Kocharyan to personal liberty which arises from the requirements of the Constitution of Armenia and the Convention.

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