COURTS ARE “CONFUSED”: INERTIA OR FEAR? THE PAST The Past (the fact) writes:

The Past (the fact) writes:

The new powers of Armenia have excluded the practice of illegally interfering with any of the branches of the government, namely the activities of judges. However, there are concerns about the positions of the judiciary. On the one hand, the courts are of course given freedom, but on the other hand there is a danger of permissiveness. Besides, do not we need mechanisms that, if they will not exclude, they will at least minimize the corruption in that area? President of the “Helsinki Association” human rights organization Nina Karapetyants does not worry that the situation can turn to permissiveness.

“As the judge must be guided only by laws, and where the law is lacking s/he must be guided by right. These are clear juridical categories. Though there is no issue of permissiveness, but there is another issue. I think our judges are not accustomed to working by themselves, especially in high-profile cases. Our entire judicial system and the courts do not realize that they have the right to make independent decisions. This is the problem that they cannot understand in the court for days, what the next step should be. I am convinced that this is the issue that is regularly being postponed, both in the case of “Sasna Tsrer” and other such high-profile court trials,” the human rights defender said in her conversation with the Past.

She emphasized that today judges are moving forward by inertia. “They are concerned that the former authorities maycome back and they may find themselves in a very bad situation. Now, in fact, we have already had a partial change of power and they have to do what they are obliged to do by law. After all, they will understand that they have to work only by law, and who will not understand that, they will have to leave under the public pressure, which does not mean at all any pursuits or revenge. One, who cannot understand his function and role in the society, cannot work as a judge”. As for the corruption in the system, Nina Karapetyants mentioned: “The law enforcement bodies need to do clear actions, whether the National Security Service or the Special Investigation Service. I believe they possess the information on who, when, how and what kind of illegal actions have done. In case of legal pursuit against only one, two or maximum ten judges, others will understand whether they should leave the system as they do not comply with the requirements of today's Armenia or will get smarter and work in accordance with the laws. And in case the special services do not have that information, it is very bad, though, I am sure they have it. Those who have not previously used the information should be subjected to liability. Various rumors are circulated in the society, but unfortunately no one will come and say that s/he applied to a certain person with a particular question and gave a certain amount of money as both of them will be punished in that case. I am sure they have the information to be able to easily use in order to put the judiciary and representatives of the field on the right track,” she said. According to her, in this case the liability should not be just in the form of financial compensation, as it is in the economic sphere, where there are still no facts of criminal liability for non-payment of taxes. “I find that justice is not the sphere where one can solve a problem with money and remain unpunished.”

The human rights defender is sure that today there exist all resources needed to clear out the system, but it is simply a matter of time. “As of today, as people say, the courts are “confused” and are moving forward by inertia. If they may not acknowledge their exceptional role, they will have to leave. At present, the current situation of this field is painfully excepted by the society as we have political prisoners the problem concerning who should be solved as soon as possible. All the tension is conditioned by the issue of the political prisoners. The prosecutor's office and the courts are trying to resist, perhapsconcerned not being punished later, but all these issues will ultimately be resolved,” concluded our interviewee.

To be continued in today’s issue of the Past.

The full interview in Armenian is found at https://past.am/?p=193703&l=am.

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