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RA President Met with the Upper Board of Armenia’s Supreme Judicial Council

On March 16 the RA President Serzh Sargsyan met with the Upper Board of Armenia’s Supreme Judicial Council. Congratulating the Chairman and the members of the Council on being elected as Council members, the President wished them every success, fruitful work and expressed confidence that they would be using their enthusiasm, experience and knowledge to develop and ensure effective functioning of this important public authority. President Sargsyan outlined his approaches and expectations from the new authority, the press service of the RA President reports.

"Dear Colleagues,

Less than a month is left before the day you will officially assume the high honor of presenting this constitutional body.

I think that being elected to the Upper Board of the Council doubles your share of responsibility because you are the ones to shape and develop that independent authority which is of paramount importance to the country.

Mr. Haroutunyan, I would like to personally congratulate you as I am convinced that under your leadership, the Supreme Judicial Council will lay down its path of development in the foreseeable future to win its rightful place in the system of State bodies. I am sure that it will not take too long for Armenia’s Supreme Judicial Council to get wide acknowledgement and recognition on international professional platforms.

It is no secret that originally the constitutional reform concept was supposed to enhance the role of the Justice Council. However, given the independence of the judiciary, the expert panel suggested setting up an authority responsible for promoting the independence of the courts and judges.

This does not mean at all that we neglected or ignored the role of the Justice Council in the process of building the judicial system; moreover, I must say that the Council has made a valuable contribution over the past twenty years.

No matter society and I can see specific problems in this area, or can have a specific opinion on the independence of the judiciary and court rulings, our judicial system today cannot be compared with what it used to be ten or fifteen years ago. I think that the Supreme Judicial Council should not only meet the expectations of those individuals who have conceived it, but it should of course comply with the expectations of the public at large.

In my conviction, the authorities endowed with great constitutional powers should also have a greater share of responsibility. There is no other way here. And this approach applies not only to the Supreme Judicial Council, but also to all those State bodies envisaged under the Constitution.

The semi-presidential system has solved certain problems in the development of our country, but believe me, it is not the best scheme of development. We have repeatedly stated, we are saying now and we will say it in the future that the country may get strong momentum and a great tempo of development in any form of government. This is true of course, but it is also true that dozens of tested mechanisms can promote or hinder this development.

You have very large powers. You will be the only body that will select and appoint judges, and you will be the only authority that will either suspend or bring to justice the judges.

I want you to be resolute and I hope that none of you will try to be kind, in the sense that being kind does not imply forgiveness of others’ mistakes: kindness never means not to see the problem that is becoming systematic to the detriment of public interest. I do not think any of you may have doubts about the role of justice in the development of the State, whether in economy, politics, or other sphere.

The Council has a peculiarity; it has been shaped based on the principle of equality. It consists of scholars and practitioners with many years of experience. I am convinced that you are fully aware that you are not representatives of two different communities, and especially for the public you should act as a single body. Otherwise, the mission of the Supreme Court will be impaired, and will only cause harm. You are free to argue during council sessions, in your office rooms, but you are called to protect the interests of the court, which is the most important link in the law enforcement system. We must reach a high level of justice. This is our task.

It is clear that these are not instructions, but rather my attitudes; the attitudes of a person who has attended the expert panel discussions with a great desire to create a body that can play a major role in the independence of our courts which, in turn, should not be independent of everything, but always accountable before the law.

First of all, the judge should be accountable to the law, because if he teaches others to be accountable to the law, then he must be such in the first place. It is so simple and easy to say do as I am doing.

Once again, I want to congratulate all of you and wish you every success. I am sure that the Council will be constituted and well-organized in the foreseeable future," the President of Armenia said.

On behalf of the Council members and himself, Supreme Judicial Council Chairman Gagik Haroutunyan thanked the President of Armenia for meeting with the Council in line with his constitutional powers to ensure the functionality of legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as for kind congratulations and best wishes.

Gagik Haroutunyan assured that all the members of the Council were ready to assume their new responsibilities and justify the expectations that society has from the newly formed constitutional authority with a sense of duty and responsibility.

"Mr. President, we have discussed with our colleagues, and you, too, stressed that no matter the members of the Council represent the judiciary, university, science or other sphere: there is just a shared responsibility before society. In other words, there is a sense of common duty in a bid to achieve positive results as soon as possible on the basis of public confidence. It is a truly serious and busy work," Gagik Haroutunyan said and went on to note that while less than a month is left to the Council’s assuming its mandate, but as a matter of fact, the Council has already started preparatory work, otherwise it would have been too hard to complete the planned large-scale work in time and give prompt solutions to burning issues.


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