Increasing the efficiency of the courts by monitoring judicial practice and by revealing systemic issues identified in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (Law Development and Protection Foundation)
The goal of the Law Development and Protection Foundation project is to increase the efficiency of the courts by monitoring case law and revealing the systemic problems indicated by the ECtHR judgments regarding violation of ECHR Article 6 (right to fair trial). During the reporting period, the project team was selected and contracts were signed. 52 decisions against Armenia held by ECHR were reviewed.
As a result of the investigation, the violations of the right to fair trial, which are of a systemic nature, were identified, and a brief summary of the relevant violations was made. The information on the implementation of the judgments posted on the electronic information platform (hudoc.exec.coe.int), in particular, the study of action plans/reports submitted by the Government of the Republic of Armenia contributed to revelation of the systemic nature of the issues.
Ensuring Constitutional Guarantees of Human Rights on the Agenda of Constitutional Reforms (Human Rights Research Center)
The goal of the HRRC Project is to promote improvement of human rights guarantees within the framework of amendments to the Constitution envisaged by the RA 2019-2023 Strategic Program for Judicial Reforms. HRRC will identify the gaps in the 2nd and 3rd sections (human rights) of the RA Constitution, vis-à-vis international conventions ratified by Armenia, and develop recommendations.
The project team was recruited. The first research document, which includes a summary of the recommendations on the Constitution, namely the section on social and economic rights, was prepared. The research is conducted based on the comparative method, reviewing the international conventions. One of the main recommendations is to eliminate the restrictions imposed on these rights by the 2015 Constitution and to improve the Constitutional guarantees of these rights.
In addition to the research activity, awareness-raising activities were also carried out. The study was sent to the stakeholders, meetings were held with the working group on Constitutional Reform and with experts and NGOs, and a press conference and public hearing were organized.
Extrajudicial Settlement of Family Disputes (INTRA Psychology club)
The goal of the project is to support the creation of alternative institutions for resolving family disputes and reduce the caseload on judiciary. In the framework of the project a “trust” hotline will be established to provide support to victims of violence, and relevant consultancy will be provided. During the reporting period a meeting schedule with the stakeholders was planned, awareness-raising activities about the hotline were conducted, for this purpose project leaflets and banner were prepared, event in the kindergarten, considering that the targeted issues are children related disputes, meetings were conducted also with NGOs, in addition, meetings in 7 communities of Shirak region were organized. Information about the project was also shared through a radio program to raise awareness about the support and consulting services, that will be conducted within the framework of the project.
Opportunities for the restoration of mass and recurring violations of rights in transitional justice (Rule of Law NGO)
The goal of the Rule of Law NGO project is to contribute to the development of the legal capacity to make restitution following mass and periodic violations of the right to property in cases when the property was alienated for the needs and of the society and the state.
During the first quarter of the project implementation, the main legal documents were reviewed, in particular the Constitutional norms, decisions of the Government, decisions of the Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation, as well as rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. The legal gaps in the legislation were identified. International studies and research on the subject were also researched. Inquiries were made about the cases of the alienation of property to the Supreme Judicial Council, the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the Ministry of Justice, the Municipality of Yerevan and the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. Interviews and meetings were held with people whose property was alienated.
Assistance in ensuring the right of citizens to a fair trial (“Investigative Journalists" NGO)
The goal of the Investigative Journalists NGO project is to promote the right to a fair trial. The organization will implement monitoring of court cases to identify the reasons for long delays in court proceedings.
During the first month of the project, monitoring questionnaires were prepared for conducting monitoring of civil, criminal and administrative cases. The Project team examined the database of cases, and together with the program manager selected 10 civil, administrative, and criminal cases from the Datalex information system (online platform), which have been pending in the courts for many years. The cases that have been in progress for more than 10 years were selected. After studying the selected cases in detail, each of the journalists selected three cases that have interesting human stories. Based on these stories articles will be prepared.
Protect Your Defender (“Open Platform For Arts" NGO)
The goal of the project is, through a documentary, analytical film, to address the issues in the army, in particular the attitude of RA government and the judicial sector to peacetime deaths reported since 2010. A number of NGO reports and analyses on the issue as well as audio-visual materials on the internet were reviewed. Discussions were held among the co-authors of the film on its content and the structure that best contributes to the main purpose of the film. The script of the film was written, the circle of people involved in the interviews identified and questionnaires were prepared. The expected quality of the visual content, the theme of the film, the desired location of the filming and the need to involve necessary technical means for the proper shooting of the film were discussed with the cinematographer. In addition to the scriptwriting, interviews were shot with human rights defenders, attorneys and mothers who lost their sons. The President of the Organization, who is also the director of the film subject to be shot under this project, got drafted to the army as a volunteer. In the circumstances of the current armed conflict some interviews for shooting the film is also becoming very challenging (with the representatives of Ministry of Defence, Investigative Committee, the department investigating crimes in the army, etc.), the President requested EPF to suspend the project, and continue, when the war is stopped.
In support of public awareness about Constitutional Reforms (Protection of Rights Without Borders)
Protection of Rights Without Borders project is aimed at conducting a study and prepare recommendations to amend the Constitution, specifically the sections on governance and judiciary of the Constitution. It will also include activities on public awareness of Constitutional reforms through PSAs and organization of public hearings. However, as the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the south of Armenia started, the President requested EPF to suspend the project as in this circumstances public hearings cannot be organized.
To establish an Arbitration Centre ("Adwise business and legal consulting" Co.Ltd)
This project aims at promotion of the establishment of a new arbitration centre. The expert team is created to prepare a concept paper as well as a legislative package for this purpose. The team will work to elaborate the draft legal acts related to the establishment of the Arbitration Center (Establishment, structure, management, procedure, selection, and appointment of arbitrators, conflict of interests, rules of examination, distribution of cases, including electronic, simplified or expedited procedure other legal acts necessary for the examination of cases). Based on the prepared legislative package a new arbitration centre can be established which will result in reduction of the case overload in the courts.