Artak Zeynalyan. "Development of the judicial system is the responsibility and obligation of each of us"


On 26 February, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Artak Zeynalyan participated in the event devoted to the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Criminal Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia and the Civil Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia.

The Minister congratulated the judiciary on the anniversary and noted that one of the serious challenges in the development of the Republic of Armenia at the current stage is the development of the judicial system, the integral part of which is the increasing of the public trust in courts and justice. "Development of the judicial system is the responsibility and obligation of each of us. Starting from a minister and a judge, investigation bodies and a prosecutor's office, profession of advocates and parties to the procedure up to the citizen residing in the remotest settlement of our country are the bearers and the beneficiaries of this process. And this is the important formula, by which one should be guided in the process of the judicial and legal reforms," — the Minister said and added that justice is a form of implementation of the people power and the court receives its power in each case from those bearing the power in the state, i.e. from people, and the judicial act must derive therefrom. According to Minister Zeynalyan, it's all about a change which seems formal at first glance, but carries serious semantic burden in respect of its content. "As result of the changes initiated personally by me and "Yelq" deputy fraction, Criminal and Civil Procedure Codes stipulate that the judicial acts shall be rendered not "in the name of the Republic of Armenia", but "on behalf of the Republic of Armenia", and it is necessary that judgements and criminal judgments start with this message from now onwards," — the Minister noted.

According to Artak Zeynalyan, the amplitude of challenges of the judicial system is comprehensive: overloading of courts, quality of judicial acts and judges, social safeguards of judges and judicial servants, reliable and visible justice, etc. According to him, everyone's efforts are geared at making it manageable, and the leverages for making it manageable are the revision of the duty of courts to render a decision on payment orders and acts of the Road Police, which makes up more than 70 percent of the workload of the courts, and to find solutions thereon alternative to the court decision.

"Among the achievements recorded during these twenty years, I would like to point out the qualitative changes of judicial acts; they are huge. Speaking of the challenges, I would stop on the issue of the responsibility of the judge, but not in terms of disciplinary proceedings or punishment. I would like to speak about the responsibility, which the judge assumes when he puts on the gown and renders decisions on behalf of the Republic of Armenia. At one of the stages of my life, war was my everyday reality, I used to live side by side with persons who were performing military service and I have seen the responsibility of each of them. Today, I often draw parallels between the officer who has assumed the responsibility to defend the homeland thereof and the judge who has assumed the responsibility to protect human rights. I have come to the conclusion that this is the same responsibility: to stay faithful to the oath, protect the human being, be principled, not to be afraid to sometimes come face-to-face with severe consequences of that commitment to principles, render a decision and be responsible for that, not to be afraid to voice problems, as the first step for their solutions is to voice them and not to reject and hide them," — Minister Zeynalyan emphasised, attaching importance to the willingness of the judicial system to speak about the existing issues, having qualified participation in the process of judicial and legal reforms. To the Minister's conviction, only this way it will be possible to ensure a smooth and evolutionary development of the judicial system, the process of self-purification and refraining from undesired, external "operational" interventions.

As Minister of Justice, I am consistent and demanding in respect of justice, reasonableness and human-oriented nature of development process of the judicial system. So consistent and demanding exactly the same way I was uncompromising and meticulous in the course of human rights protection activity, when initiating strategic procedures and, as a result thereof, developing the law being created by courts consistently and step by step," — Artak Zeynalyan said.

Then, the Minister touched upon the institution of judicial review and noted that as basic right of the human being and the citizen, it is an important constituent element of guaranteeing the right to fair trial and solves, by its existence, two issues: correction of a judicial error and ensuring a uniform application of the law.

According to Artak Zeynalyan, the Court of Appeal consistently performs the mentioned two functions and is a barometer for the quality of judicial acts.