Armenia’s ex-justice minister Arpine Hovhannisyan today applied to join the Professional Commission on Constitutional Reforms. This is what she wrote on her Facebook page.
The Facebook post reads as follows:
Today as an academic lawyer, I have applied to join the Professional Commission on Constitutional Reforms. As it is known The PhDs and Doctor of Laws can become member of the Commission if they if they have seven years of professional experience. Moreover, the preference will be given to the candidates that have more significant experience in the sphere of constitutional reforms.
I would particularly like to reflect on my experience in the field of constitutional reforms. Thus:
• In 2015-2017, in one of the most significant timeframes for the implementation of the 2015 constitutional reform, I was the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, had the honor of coordinating the drafting and submission of laws stemming from constitutional amendments. Moreover, I was also the key speaker who was representing pivotal drafts in the National Assembly.
• Throughout the constitutional reforms, I have been actively cooperating with our international partners from the U.N. to the Venice Commission, giving reports on constitutional law drafts, including at the Venice Commission plenary sessions. (Electoral Code, Law on Political Parties, etc.)
• Since May 2017, as a Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and a member of the Standing Committee on Human rights and State and Legal Affairs, I have continued to work on legislative drafts of constitutional reforms in cooperation with international organizations. It was also for this reason that I was invited to participate in the sessions of the Venice Commission as Vice President of the National Assembly. (All above mentioned is fixed in relevant decisions, protocols, and other documents).
The fact that I often have a dissenting opinion and disagree with the government is not a secret. I have submitted this application with the conviction that:
• In the marketplace of ideas, truth emerges from the competition of ideas and ideologies in free, transparent public discourse This was the primary reason why I made my step for joining the commission. As a lawyer and a Citizen of Armenia, I have a firm belief that the Basic law of my Country should be amended as a result of comprehensive, sometimes heated discussions.
• My experience in the field of constitutional reform ( by the way in some cases I disagreed with specific provisions ) has given me the unique opportunity to be thoroughly informed about the substance of the 2015 constitutional amendments, details of numerous discussions before the adoption of those laws. I think this fact can be considerable.
• In response to the criticism, the authorities very often raise the argument that the criticisms are unconstructive, the format of the criticism is inappropriate. However, they state that in other circumstances, they are always ready to listen and to discuss. Hence, this is an opportunity for the authorities to show that they are ready for discussion and eager to listen to dissidents. I am ready to listen to you, and you?
P.S. I am convinced that the academic lawyers who have applied for the commission are real professionals. However, my perception is that I think the experience in the field of constitutional reforms should be a priority for the work of this commission."