Partnership for Good Governance in Armenia
Project: Strengthening institutional capacities to fight and prevent corruption (Jan 2019-Feb 2023)
The PGG II closely accompanied and supported the Armenian government in its efforts to set up a strong legislative and institutional framework to tackle corruption.
A background information sheet on this project is available on the website.
Project: Implementation of judicial reforms (Jan 2019-Feb 2023)
Component 1: Support to the Judicial Reform - enhancing the independence and professionalism of the judiciary in Armenia
The PGG supported Armenia in strengthening the integrity and effectiveness of the judiciary to ensure that Armenian citizens have access to and benefit from an independent and impartial judiciary.
§ The Government of Armenia adopted the Draft Judicial and Legal Reforms Strategy for 2022 – 2026, guiding further justice reform steps in the country, developed with the support of the PGG.
§ The Judicial Code of Armenia was revised in 2022, taking into account the recommendations of the Joint Opinion of the Venice Commission and the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI) related to the draft introduction of a new “incompatibility requirement” in the Judicial Code which could eventually lead to judges’ dismissal.
§ The PGG II contributed to the national legislation’s harmonisation with the GRECO recommendations through the Joint Opinion of the Venice Commission and Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law on the draft amendments to the Judicial Code, namely the system of judicial accountability. The Ministry of Justice of Armenia is currently revising the legislation in line with the Opinion above.
§ The National Assembly amended the Law on Mediation following the Council of Europe recommendations.
§ PGG II supported the development of five legal acts deriving from the amended Judicial Code, that eventually have been adopted by the Supreme Judicial Council. Following the establishment of the Institute of the performance evaluation of judges, the first round of performance evaluation for 60 judges (23% of all judges) was completed.
§ Mediators and arbitrators are better aware of the new legal provisions of the Law on Mediation, the Law on Commercial Arbitration and the new Civil Procedure Code, through the provision of legal and practical solutions related to the establishment of the Arbitration Centre, as well as the improvement of the application of mediation in Armenia. The legislative amendments and policy paper developments initiated by the Armenian authorities followed around 70% of the recommendations provided by the PGG II.
§ The Armenian authorities demonstrated their commitment towards gender equality in the judiciary : the percentage of women judges increased from 26,6% to 34% in 2023, and the increase of women judges in managerial positions from 11% to 25% in 2021 (four out of 16 presidents of courts are women). The PGG contributed to this process by conducting research on gender equality and improving leadership skills of 35 women judges (44% of all women judges in 2021).
§ The high-level conference: in June2022 facilitated the dialogue between the Constitutional Court, courts of general jurisdiction and other branches of authority, alongside the international community and civil society.
§ The access to the Constitutional Court’s jurisprudence was facilitated for the citizens of Armenia, thanks to the Constitutional Court’s website developed by the PGG in 2022, increasing the number of website visitors by 186,6% compared to 2021.
§ Public awareness was raised on alternative dispute resolution methods by developing the website for the Self-regulating Organisation of Mediators of Armenia. Additionally, the Mediation Referral Toolkit for Judges promoted the court-annexed mediation and supported judges in their efforts to encourage parties to consider mediation before further pursuing the litigation.
Component 2: Supporting the criminal justice reform and harmonising the application of European standards in Armenia
The PGG supported Armenia in implementing criminal justice reform through legislative, methodological and capacity-building assistance.
§ Following a long-standing process of close co-operation with the Council, the new Criminal (CC) and the Criminal Procedure Codes (CPC) were prepared, adopted in 2021 and entered into force in 2022. Both new codes incorporated about 70% of the Council’s recommendations made at the drafting stage. moves from a punitive to a re-socialisation policy, expanding the list of non-custodial sentences and thus viewing imprisonment as an ultimate measure. provides for ensuring balanced protection of public and private interests in criminal proceedings, increases the role of the court at the pre-trial stage, and provides for better guarantees of the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of those involved in criminal proceedings, based on European human rights standards.14 legal acts associated with the new CC and CPC were reviewed to harmonise them with the new codes. to facilitate the initial stage of the implementation of the new Codes were prepared and provided to Armenian legal professionals in July 2022.
§ The implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy for 2020-2022 was supported by the PGG through a comparative analysis of both international requirements and best practices, as well as national regulations on effective mechanisms to exercise the rights of victims of torture to psychological, social, and legal services. The capacity of the Justice Academy was strengthened through five new courses for judges, and a pool of 20 trainers, based on the results of a thorough needs assessment. The new courses were integrated into the training programme of the Academy, enhancing the capacities of 353 judges (95 women and 258 men).
§ 548 legal professionals (182 women and 366 men) gained knowledge on the basis of the new criminal justice legislation to ensure its effective implementation. 91 legal professionals (31 women and 60men), including judges, prosecutors and investigators successfully completed the HELP distance learning courses translated into Armenian and made available for self-learning on the HELP platform.
§ of on Articles 2, 5, 6 (criminal limb), 7 and 8 of the ECHR and Article 4 of Protocol No.7 of the ECHR were translated into Armenian and published. of compilation of the summaries of the key ECtHR judgements in Armenian language were prepared, published and disseminated.
§ The developed with the programme’s support, ensuring access to the jurisprudence of the court.
§ The professional capacity of the judiciary and the Office of the Representative of Armenia on International Legal Matters was strengthened to improve the uniform application of European standards through the provision of access to the resources and training courses made available by the Programme. The legal professionals’ access both to decisions of the Court of Cassation, and to the case-law and publications of the ECtHR was increased.
§ The inclusion of civil society was ensured notably through the participation of several NGOs in a needs-assessment mission aimed at improving the uniform application of European standards in Armenia and developing new courses for the curricula of criminal law judges in the Justice Academy. Civil society representatives also took part in public discussions on the draft CPC and CC.
§ A gender analysis was carried out under the Programme, aiming at assessing gender mainstreaming in training courses for the Justice Academy. The analysis showed that the content of the five training courses developed under the PGG is fully gender mainstreamed and ensures the consideration of gender equality aspects.