On the 30th of November, 2012 “Helsinki Association” human rights NGO summed up Legally educated young citizens as guardians of an independent and transparent judiciary pilot project launched on July 15, 2021.
The project aimed to increase transparency in the criminal justice system of Armenia, by encouraging youth participation, on the one hand, and to promote the establishment and development of the institution of court monitoring in the Republic of Armenia, on the other.
The final workshop, in which participated 66 more active members of 110 court monitors in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor cities, summed up the work of the past four and a half months, and the final report on the results was presented.
The head of the Helsinki Association and the project manager Nina Karapetyants welcomed the participants and opened the event. She spoke about the work done, highly appreciating the will, energy and efforts imputed by the young people during those months in the work of monitoring of more than 800 hearings of criminal cases, and recording their observations about the work of tjudges, prosecutors, bailiffs and lawyers. The work done was especially important in the sense that problems in the judiciary were recorded even by a large number of those monitors who are not lawyers at all.
Every one of the honorary guests in the event, among whose were Mr. Krzysztof Bartczak, First Counsellor of Political-economic Section at Embassy of Poland in Yerevan, and Ms. Cristina Hansell, Human Rights Officer at U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, greeted all the participants, too.
Welcoming the participants and the initiative, Mr. Bartczak highly appreciated the interest of the participants in the case of judicial monitoring at a young age, the knowledge and skills acquired by them, which they will certainly use in their future career.
Ms. Hansell spoke about the potential and necessity of the work in terms of building human rights and an effective democracy in our country. It is needed not only in our country, but also in the United States, of which she is a citizen, and in the whole world in general, especially in terms of ensuring public trust in the society.
Ms. Anna Radecka, the the Senior Specialist of the Solidarity Fund PL, also addressed her greetings to the participants remotely, regretting that she could not participate in the final event to greet everyone face to face. After she welcomed all the participants, some of whom she had met in Vanadzor during her recent visit to Armenia, as well as the guests and the organizing NGO, Ms. Radecka highly appreciated the enormous amount of work done, which was aimed at developing healthy legal thinking and behavior of the participants, on one hand, and revealing problems and omissions in the judiciary, on the other.
The second part of the event was dedicated to the presentation of the Young People for an Independent and Transparent Judicial System: Monitoring in Criminal Justice final report, which was developed within the framework of the project. The organization’s monitoring expert Mr. Ara Gharagyozyan, who developed the report, presented numerous problems recorded by the groups operating in the aforementioned three cities in Armenia, as well as a number of suggestions for solutions.
The report will be submitted to the Armenian authorities and the wide international community. The participants expressed hope that the suggestions will not be ignored, but relevant bodies will respond to it implementing reforms and timely solutions.
The report will soon be available in Armenian (in a long version), and in English (in a short version) on the websites of the Helsinki Association and the project partner organization, as well as on their social networking sites.
The event was concluded with a certificate awarding ceremony to the participants. A certificate of appreciation was of given to Ms. Lala Mirzoyan, a teacher of history at Vanadzor High School No. 11, and to Ms. Vanuhi Gasparyan, a lawyer with All Rights Foundation in Gyumri, for their useful support and collaboration within the framework of the project.
The project came to an end, but many of the young people were hopeful that they would be given another good opportunity to be involved in future programs of the organization to further develop their knowledge and skills through meetings and discussions with various justice bodies – the police, judges, prosecutors, and others.