Judicial Reforms Anticipated by July

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Artur Baghdasarian–chairman of the standing parliamentary Committee for State and Legal Issues–called a news conference Monday to present bills and draft codes–including ones on election–as part of ongoing judicial reforms.

He reported that the Committee for State and Legal Issues will complete the process of judicial reforms by July–in accordance with the date stipulated by the Constitution. Because the process has been stalled–the Committee will work overtime to meet the July deadline.

According to Baghdasarian–the judicial reforms are divided into three stages. The committee has scheduled to call two special meetings during Parliament’s summer recess to finalize the program of reforms. Baghdasarian said his committee has been working with Armenian and foreign experts. Training of judicial system personnel is planned to follow the adoption of these laws.

Baghdasarian reported that the committee had scheduled seminars for April 16–20 and 25 during which judicial reforms will be discussed. Experts have been invited to attend the seminars. He said that they expect media support in covering these activities and ensuring a due level of expertise through close cooperation.

Baghdasarian expressed his disagreement with the views of some experts and political forces that the judicial reforms can be delayed.

According to Baghdasarian–there are three draft election codes at the moment. They have been proposed jointly by Communist Parliament member Edward Yegorian–Homeland deputy group–and Parliament member Vigen Khachatrian. A fourth draft election code was withdrawn by its authors former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ara Sahakian and the working group led by him.

Baghdasarian pointed out that his committee had decided to allow each legislator to invite two experts or two non-Parliament representatives of political forces to debates over the draft election codes. Baghdasarian said that OSCE experts have already submitted their conclusions regarding two of the three drafts. According to Baghdasarian–Armenia plans to develop close cooperation with European structures so that a new election code will be as perfect as possible. The commission will discuss by paragraphs the draft to be submitted to Parliament.

Answering journalists’ questions–Baghdasarian said that after the aforementioned issues are resolved he himself will be a supporter of the dissolution of Parliament. He noted that according to the Armenian Constitution the next parliamentary elections are due to be held next spring.

Baghdasarian found it more advisable for a government constitutional commission to be assigned to elaborate and submit draft amendmen’s to the Constitution by next spring so that a referendum on the issue of amending the Constitution can be held simultaneously with parliamentary elections.

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