Armenia to Form Human Rights Commission Until Election of Ombudsperson

YEREVAN (Presidential Press/RFE/RL)–According to Armenia’s newly amended constitution–the state human rights ombudsperson–Larisa Alaverdian–must resign on January 5 so that her successor can be elected in accordance with the country’s new laws.

So as not to jeopardize the purpose of that office–president Robert Kocharian signed a decree on Wednesday–calling for the formation of a temporary human rights commission until Armenia’s National Assembly elects a new ombudsperson.

One of the amendmen’s that was enacted after the November referendum–stipulates that the official in charge of human rights protection–appointed by the president until now–will be chosen by the National Assembly. Under Armenia’s new law on the ombudsperson–Alaverdian has to resign on January 5–one month after the amendment’s entry into force. The law does not specify a time frame for the election of the new human rights defender.

Among those serving in the temporary commission will be the head of the constitutional court’s chief of staff Aroushan Hagopian–the president’s assistant chief of staff Martin Chakarian–and the chief of staff of the Ministry of Justice Noune Kachatourian.

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