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Member of the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia, representative of the My Voice Project Asya Ovanyan has written the following:

“The advisory opinion of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights of this year laid the foundation for the start of justice.

The advisory opinion of the ECHR contains in-depth justifications and reasoning. The ECHR has stated that the ‘blanket reference’ may be applicable and legitimate only if it is sufficiently clear and foreseeable. A legal norm itself must provide a person with the opportunity to foresee possible liability provided for by law in case of specific rule of conduct. Formulation of such ‘blanket reference’ may not be such that the scope of the act is expanded.

Consequently, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia must substantiate the expression of the reference to part 1 of Articles 1-6 of the Constitution of Armenia in Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code. The ECHR stated that the most effective way of ensuring clarity and foreseeability was for the reference to be explicit and for the referencing provision to set out the constituent elements of the offense. From the perspective of legal technique, the validity of Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code is strictly disputed since the specific articles of the Constitution of 2005 listed in the article still haven’t been brought into compliance with the Constitution of 2015, and this leads to unconstitutionality of the reference.

The ECHR clearly sees a problem with the retroactivity of Article 300.1 and has clearly stated that the norms tightening the corpus delicti can’t be retroactive. Evaluation of the principle of retroactivity must be particularly given in the context of the practice of enforcement of that article. As a unified body, the Prosecutor General’s Office must be guided by the approach to not contradict its actions of the past and discontinue persecution under the case of the events of March 1, 2008.

And finally, the Constitutional Court of Armenia must give responses to these issues, and in the legal sense, the bodies investigating the case must be responsible. It will be impossible to avoid taking responsibility and leave it up to political authorities. As a result, the case will either be dismissed, or a court judgment on acquittal will be rendered. The case will be examined with several episodes at higher international tribunals, and I say this with regret, but the potential decisions against Armenia won’t be a surprise for anyone.”

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