Ghoukassian Pushes for Judicial Shake Up in Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian has told his law-enforcement agencies to come up with legal proposals on a radical reform of the unrecognized republic’s judicial system which would make it similar to that in Armenia and give him authority to appoint and dismiss judges.

Meeting his senior law-enforcement officials late last week Ghoukassian gave them two weeks to submit appropriate draft amendmen’s in the current legislation to the Karabakh parliament. Parliament speaker Oleg Yesayan was also present at the meeting.

The Karabakh leader–who has strengthened his political power in the last several months–wants the main elemen’s of Armenia’s judiciary to be introduced in Karabakh. This would mean a transition to a three-level system of courts placed one above the other. The existing system remains from the Soviet period–with Karabakh judges appointed and dismissed by the parliament. Introduction of the new system would hand over that right to Ghoukassian.

In a first step toward the judicial reform–the Karabakh authorities have already disbanded the military tribunal and military procuracy. The move is expected to reduce the influence of the military even though martial law–imposed in 1992 with the outbreak of the war against Azerbaijan–remains in force in Karabakh.

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