Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. Photo by Tigran Petrosyan for the Caucasian Knot

21 May 2019, 14:16

Pashinyan puts independence of judiciary under threat

The call of Nikol Pashinyan, the Armenian Premier, to block courthouses is beyond the Armenian legislation, said Larisa Alaverdyan, a former Armenian Ombudsperson. The police failed to take actions to unblock courthouses, as they obey the Prime Minister, not the law, Avetik Ishkhanyan, a rights defender, believes.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in response to the release of Robert Kocharyan from custody, Nikol Pashinyan called on his supporters to block courthouses throughout the country. Supporters reacted to the appeal and would not allow the staff of the courts to start working on May 20. In the afternoon, however, Mr Pashinyan urged his supporters to stop the action, stating that the parliament should initiate a judiciary reform.

The Prime Minister's call to block courthouses is outside the framework of both Armenian legislation and the country's international commitments, Larisa Alaverdyan, the first Armenian ombudsperson, now the head of the NGO "Against legal arbitrariness", told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent on May 20.

She has noted that this step threatens the independence of the judiciary.

Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters act according to the logic of revolution, Avetik Ishkhanyan, a rights defender and the head of the Armenian Helsinki Committee, has stated. In his opinion, this was an attempt to terrorize the judges, disloyal to the new authorities.

Law enforcers were not instructed to suppress illegal actions, since the police are directly subordinate to Nikol Pashinyan, and not the rule of law, Mr Ishkhanyan has added.

In his opinion, Nikol Pashinyan seeks to take control over all branches of power.

"Undoubtedly, the reform of the judicial system is a must, but it should be done according to the law, and not arbitrarily, by blocking courthouses," the rights defender has emphasized.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 21, 2019 at 05:11 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Tigran Petrosyan; Source: CK correspondent

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