February 27
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YEREVAN. – There are many factors that are necessary and attest to the independence of the courts and judges. Judges should be independent not only of the executive and the legislative branch of power, but also of the entities with great capacity. Former military prosecutor Gagik Jhangiryan, a candidate for a member of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) of Armenia, said this Friday during the debates on the issue of electing new members of the SJC, at the special sitting of the National Assembly, and answering the MPs' questions.

According to him, when making decisions, the courts of lower instance should be independent from the influence of the courts of higher instance.

"There is a widespread trend that if the courts and judges are independent of the executive and the legislature, then they are independent. In reality, there are more factors of independence. Judges should be independent of entities with great financial opportunities, so-called the 'thieves' systems, the influence of the opposition and the incumbent government," Jhangiryan explained.

But the candidate for the SJC member added that there is another very important issue related to the independence of courts: the independence of the lower courts from the higher courts. According to him, the lower courts and their judges are operationally dependent on the higher courts in their decisions. As per Jhangiryan, if the organizational elements and the elements of subordination are added to that dependence, it will turn out that the court of higher instance, or the president of that court, can dictate its decision to the court of lower instance or its judges.

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