Human rights 2009: Ombudsman presents the report on trials in Armenia

On Friday (December 25) Human Rights Defender of Armenia presented the ‘Public Ad Hoc Report Ensuring Right to a Fair Trial in the Republic of Armenia’ report. The study by Armenia’s public defender is an indictment on Armenia’s judicial system, revealing courts that are not independent and a process that does not guarantee fair treatment or protection.

The 60-page report consists of the monitoring results of court sittings, carried out by representatives of the Ombudsman’s office over several years.

The report pays great attention especially to the court cases of disputes over right to property of citizens since 2001 (who were evicted from their houses, on the government order of “state needs”). It also closely examined cases of prisoners who were detained as a result of March 1-2, 2008 post election clashes.

“It is already several years that I continuously raise the issue that the court cases concerning alienated property are quite disputable, and that they have not provided the citizens’ right to a fair trial,” Ombudsman Armen Harutyunyan says.

The March 1-2 trials, according to Harutyunyan, have also given rise to serious concerns.

“March 1-2 cases were generally accompanied by violations which are not acceptable, and if almost any of them enters the European Court, (the cases will be won there),” the Ombudsman says.

This report is the fourth submitted by the ombudsman this year. In March the office of the Human Rights Defender submitted its annual report 2008, and later the ad hoc report on army problems, and in November a report on rights of prisoners at penitentiaries was prepared.

As the Armenian Ombudsman hopes, all the submitted reports may serve as a helpful guideline and be a guide for state bodies and the civic society of Armenia.