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Draft Law "On civil forfeiture of illegal assets" discussed during sitting of Public Council adjunct to Minister of Justice

14/10/2019

On 12 October, the subsequent sitting of the Public Council adjunct to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia was held under the chairmanship of First Deputy Minister of Justice Rafik Grigoryan.

The decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia "On approving the 2019-2023 Strategy for Judicial and Legal Reforms of the Republic of Armenia and the Action Plans deriving therefrom" and the drafts of the Law "On civil forfeiture of illegal assets" and the laws on making amendments and supplements to the related laws were discussed with the civil society representatives during the sitting.

Deputy Ministers Rafik Grigoryan and Anna Vardapetyan presented several major areas enshrined by the Strategy that concerned transitional justice, the holding of constitutional reforms, improvement of the electoral legislation, reforms of the judicial and legal systems, civil and civil procedure legislation and the bankruptcy sector, the development of alternative disputes resolution methods, etc.

The next item on the agenda was presented by Deputy Minister Srbuhi Galyan, who noted that the aim of the Law "On civil forfeiture of illegal assets" is to remove illegal assets from economic circulation and return them to the legitimate owners, and in case of absence of the latter — to the State. The best international practice was taken into consideration when the draft was being developed. According to the Deputy Minister, the procedure will be civil-legal, not criminal. According to Srbuhi Galyan, the Draft lists all the grounds that may serve as an impetus for initiating proceedings for examination. ""Average" citizens may in no case consider themselves as potential beneficiaries of this Law, as the Draft lists specific types of crimes, including organised crimes, illicit circulation of narcotic drugs and weapons, trafficking, as well as corruption transactions, in the case of criminal cases instituted in relation to which proceedings for examination may be initiated," the Deputy Minister clarified.

During the sitting, the civil society representatives welcomed and positively assessed the inclusiveness recorded during the development of the draft Strategy for Judicial and Legal Reforms and the principal objectives identified in the Strategy.

The format of participation of non-governmental organisations in the actions envisaged by the Action Plan deriving from the Strategy, as well as several regulations of the draft for civil forfeiture of illegal assets were touched upon during the question-and-answer session.

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