Justice Minister Says All Judges will be Vetted

By Asbarez | Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Armenia’s Justice Minister Artak Zeynalyan

Armenia’s Justice Minister Artak Zeynalyan on Tuesday announced that all judges in Armenia will go through a vetting process, in response to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who on Monday, during a nationally televised speech about the overhaul of Armenia’s judicial system called for that process to be initiated.

Zeynalyan told reporters that the vetting process will include all judges and not the ones who were appointed during previous administrations.

Zeynalyan cited international precedents for such a process.

“Currently, Albania is going through a similar process, which has been welcomed by the Venice Commission. Naturally, are precedents of vetting around world,” he said.

The Albania example was also echoed by the Head of the EU delegation in Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski who told reporters Tuesday that the European Union closely followed and advised on the process in Albania.

”Today the Justice Minister talked about vetting, presenting the example of Albania. As you may know, the EU closely cooperted with the government of Albania, developing the so-called Albanian model and today this vetting model is supported by the EU. This is something the Armenian side could take into account,” said Świtalski, who added that while his office has not closely studied Pashinyan’s proposal, the EU sees the need for such reforms in Armenia.

Zeynalyan said the vetting will be implemented without discrimination, and individuals will not be targeted.

“The principle of banning discrimination will be upheld toward all judges. It will not follow any individual judge in any concrete case,” he said, adding that an immediate need to carry out the process exists.

Lilit Makunts, a lawmaker from the ruling “My Step” alliance said that work on drafting legislation for the vetting process will begin immediately in parliament.