Judiciary reforms require higher responsibility by judges – former justice official

10:53 • 25.12.17



Even a trivial amount of fine equivalent to 1,000 Armenian Drams (approx €2) should be a serious cause of concern for our judiciary, a former prosecutor general has said, commenting on the €80,000 worth fine imposed on the Armenian Government by the European Court of Human Rights.


In an interview with Tert.am, Gevorg Kostanyan also stessed the importance of increasing the level of judges' responsibility to achieve higher-level judiciary reforms.


“We are directing all our steps towards disallowing the passage of [illegal] judicial acts to prevent the payment of any sums at the expense of our taxpayer. But a comparison between the appeals filed and the judgements passed reveals that this is a normal figure. Compared to other countries, we do really see that it is absolutely reasonable. However, it is really unacceptable inasmuch as 1,000 Drams should unacceptable, but everything has to be considered in terms of comparisons,” he added.

Asked to comment on the outcomes of the EU-funded programs, Kostanyan admitted that reforms in the judiciary are of paramount importance in terms of promoting progress also in other areas. “It is practically impossible to see the outcomes of reforms in any sector unless you have a high-quality judiciary. Certainly, tremendous sums were allocated by both the EU and the Council of Europe, and different other international organizations to enforce those reforms, but providing the money, and implementing the process to later see the outcome are different things in essence,” he noted.


“The question is why we have taken the money at all. Normally, the money is taken for [attending] workshops, conferences, inviting experts, etc. I don’t think that workshops and conferences are the most effective means for implementing judiciary reforms. The most important thing for raising quality in the judiciary is, in my deepest conviction, making judges responsible, i.e. –bringing them to the understanding that they may incur liability for their judicial acts.”


As an important step towards facilitating reforms, Kostanyan, also highlighted the need of periodically raising judges’ qualification. “When knowledge is on a low level so to speak, our main concern and the problem in the judiciary is not limited to corruption. We deal with judges’ illiteracy at this point. If judges really have the understanding that they will be held liable for a wrong judicial act, many will not even wish to be judges at all,” he added.

 

Ani Ohanyan





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