Lawyers Protest Rights Violations Bar Chair Refutes

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– "The fact that Levon Ter-Petrosyan views the Bar Association Law among the major legal reforms shows that there is democracy in Armenia," Misha Piliposian–the Chairman of the Presidium of the Bar–said while meeting with a delegation of Legal Issues and Human Rights Committee of the Europarliament.

Piliposian said there had not been a single grievance regarding any restrictions of lawyers’ rights.

At the same time–the report made following a visit by another delegation the Council of Europe points out that the rights of lawyers are being restricted in Armenia–while laws are either breached or disregarded. Piliposian assured that the situation had changed since last May when the delegation visited Armenia. In particular–legal reforms were now under way and a new Prosecutor-General has been appointed–said the official.

The guests–however–would not trust the information–saying that it was impossible that so many changes could have been introduced within such a short period of time.

Attorney Gayaneh Antonian’s point of view was quite different from that of Piliposian. She stressed that attorneys depended on investigators who restricted their possibilities to meet their client–study the case material and other rights of lawyers. Attorney Rouben Sahakian said that only in 10 percent of cases the Prosecutor’s Office allowed attorneys to study the case material from the very outset–which testifies to illegalities occurring everywhere. Sahakian referred to the low judicial level of judges which made it impossible to defend human rights.

One of the members of the delegation of the Council of Europe emphasized that it was a progress for Armenia that while being preliminarily detained the defendant might have a lawyer.

However lawyers should have access to any kind of information available–which is also available for the prosecutors.

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