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Official News

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Government Provides Stronger Constitutional Guarantees for Judiciary Independence

A regular Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan.

The Government approved the RA Judicial Code statutory bill, which will ensure the establishment of an independent and accountable judiciary and provide constitutional guarantees for the independence of the judiciary.

One of the draft Judicial Code regulations deals with the formation and functioning of the Supreme Judicial Council. The new regulation provides that judges will not form a majority in the Council. There will be five judges and non-judge members, elected by a 3/5 majority vote of the National Assembly. In this regard, the Judicial Code clearly defines the Supreme Judicial Council’s powers to ensure the independence of the judiciary.

The President of the Cassation Court will not have the right to initiate disciplinary proceedings against a judge of the Chamber of the Court of Cassation. The court presidents can neither be elected to serve as Supreme Judicial Council nor General Assembly of Judges commission members.

The next regulation is that the Court Presidents Council will not be entitled to issue binding decisions for the judiciary. The President of the Cassation Court will not act on behalf of the founder of the judicial service structure. The draft will be sent to the Venice Commission.

The Government endorsed a bill on amendments to RA law “On General Prosecutor’s Office.” The bill proposes that by April 1 of each year the General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) shall publish crime investigation reports on the official website of the GPO. Moreover, information on the results of investigation of corruption crimes, statistical data, analyses and relevant findings shall be presented separately.

The Prime Minister’s first assignment had to do with the seizure of property of physical and legal entities. “Our fellow citizens and especially businesses often rightfully voice concern that the Judicial Acts Compulsory Enforcement Service imposes disproportionate financial liabilities on movable or immovable property even if the latter’s value is equal to the liability or vice versa. Such prohibitions, especially considering that they are often associated with lengthy court proceedings, may become a serious impediment to business. The current state of affairs is largely due to the obstacles available at the legislative level,” the Head of Government said.

To this end, Karen Karapetyan gave the Minister of Justice a month’s time to submit a proposal to the Government Staff aimed at addressing the question at hand.

Addressing the environmental payments, Karen Karapetyan noted that most of them are paid by major polluters, while the format and volume of paperwork is the same for all polluters.

“As a result, with no large-scale pollution and payments, small-scale polluters spend considerable time and resources on projects, studies and reports, while the competent authorities spend significant labor and other resources on control, information collection, review and analysis operations,” the Prime Minister said and instructed the Minister of Nature Protection to study the environmental fee payers’ structure within a 2-month period in order to make a differentiation between minor and major polluters, develop simplified procedures for payment of environmental fees, as well as to consider the types of activities and the possibility of introducing generalized standard fees.

The Prime Minister noted that under the RA law “On targeted use of environmental fees paid by companies,” contributions are due to those communities suffering from the activities of these companies.

“The system of distribution of environmental contributions is regulated insufficiently, which in turn creates imbalances between the communities obviously affected by harmful effects and the size of contributions,” Karen Karapetyan emphasized.

Based on this, the Prime Minister allowed a 2-month period for the Minister of Nature Protection to develop of a procedure for fair distribution of contributions under the RA law “On targeted use of environmental fees paid by companies,” which will seek to minimize the impact of harmful effects.

The meeting approved an amendment to a government decision, aimed at delegating to private operators the performance of services provided by the State Migration Service of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development. The operator shall implement the identification of the applicant, the levy of State duties, the processing of documents, as well as the transportation and delivery of refugee status certificates, including refugee certificates for those displaced from Azerbaijan).

To procure ambulance vehicles for medical institutions, money will be allocated to the Ministry of Healthcare from the Government’s reserve fund to purchase 10 modern-equipped ambulances.

The Government decided to extend the deadline for the transfer to any bank account of the amount of domestic capital to December 31, 2017. Note that some 20,000 families will benefit from said arrangement.

December 2020