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I Can’t Recall Countries Where Transitional Justice Has Been Effectively Applied: Lawyer

The Kathmandu Pos

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated on August 17, 2018, at a rally summing up 100 days of his tenure, about the necessity of forming transitional justice bodies. The statement triggered heated discussions, which were sparked recently after the prime minister announced that "time has come to carry out surgical interventions in the judicial system." "The introduction of transitional justice mechanisms is a vital necessity for the Republic of Armenia now," Nikol Pashinyan said in his address on May 20.

The initiative of and even the term "transitional justice" is interpreted differently by the Armenian public and those involved in the legal system.

In the interview with Armedia IAA, Norayr Balayan, Country Director of ELL Law Office, referred to the international experience of transitional justice noted that transitional justice had been implemented in the Soviet Union, but which was not fully transitional justice. Committees were set up and those who had been repressed for having opposed to the Soviet regime during Stalin's rule were pardoned during Khrushchev's rule. According to Balayan, this was called transitional justice in the history of law. He also added, “The experience of countries where transitional justice has been used is being discussed. I think it's unnecessary to draw parallels between the Republic of Armenia and Kosovo, Albania, where human rights issues have been recorded by Freedom House and Human Rights Watch. I can’t recall countries where transitional justice has been effectively applied."

According to Balayan, due to transitional justice there was even a quorum problem in the Albanian Supreme Court because they could not find people and appoint them as judges.

In response to our question on how vital the transition to transition justice in Armenia is, Balayan said: "I do not know the objective and mission our current government is going to set for transitional justice. I am not quite sure that our courts operating within our laws can not fulfill that mission."

Balayan underlined that if the discussions are about returning stolen property and reconciling organizers and victims of March 1 events, they can also be implemented within the framework of the existing legislation.

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