Mechanics of Recognition: Long process required for Karabakh bill to become law

Photo: Photolure

If Armenia is to recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), then the opposition-drafted bill that got a go-ahead from the government based on its endorsement of a Foreign Ministry conclusion on May 5 should still pass several stages before becoming a law.

National Assembly Public Relations and Information Department Chief Arsen Babayan explains in a Facebook post that whenever a bill is presented by lawmakers, the government sends its conclusion to the National Assembly, and not the bill itself as was wrongly presented by some media on Thursday.

“The bill is already in the National Assembly… The process is then determined by the National Assembly Regulations under which the bill is to be discussed in a relevant key committee within 30 days (in this case in the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations) and a conclusion on it should be made, after which it will appear on the agenda of a plenary four-day session,” Babayan wrote.

According to the official, the Regulations allow the National Assembly to take one of the following three decisions: to include the bill in the agenda, to postpone it or to reject it.

Eventually, it is clear that, if included, the bill may remain on the parliament’s bigger agenda for an indefinite period of time and make it to the floor when deemed appropriate.

In the past whenever the bill reached the voting stage, out of political considerations of the moment, the parliamentary majority would block it by opting out and affecting the quorum – no one voted against it, but since there were nowhere near enough “yea” votes, its passage would fail.

Even if the bill is passed by parliament and becomes law, in order to be enacted it will have to be signed by the President.

Speaking to media following the meeting of the Supreme Body of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, the party’s press secretary, Deputy Parliament Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov said that Armenia’s ultimate goal is Nagorno-Karabakh’s international recognition and that it will do everything to achieve that goal.

Remarkably, in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service earlier this week NKR Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan said that he expected a series of international recognitions of the republic in the time to come. He placed importance on Nagorno-Karabakh’s international recognition, saying that it could have a positive impact on the peace process.

So far, the NKR’s independence has been recognized by two partially recognized states, Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the unrecognized Moldovan breakaway republic of Transnistria. Among the entities that have recognized the NKR is the most populous Australian state of New South Wales, as well as seven U.S. states, including California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Hawaii. The legislature of the latter passed a resolution on recognizing the NKR’s independence several days before the April aggression of Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh.