A portrait of Josef Stalin, Shelkunchike, Roman soldiers and a chess with French figures. Former Justice Minister, Hovhannes Manukyan’s office is not an ordinary one, as there are many statues, pictures, and memorial medals from different countries there.
The topics of the interview with the former Minister of Justice are also diverse and vary from the constitutional amendments to protection of the driver’s rights.
What is the attitude of Mr. Manukyan towards constitutional amendment? In what cases one should follow ”Measure seven times, cut once” working style, with what does currently do the former minister’s ”fat”Armenian family? Read about these and other questions in the following interview on “The RA Ministers of Justice”
“Mr. Manukyan, what is your attitude towards the constitutional amendments?”
“Our society faces a very responsible choice. The package of the constitutional reform refers to the most important spheres of our life and by its level and importance of the changes; this referendum can be compared with the primary law-making, one that took place in 1995. The quality of the amendments draft, in merely professional point of view, is rather high and the proposed solutions are in line with the modern trends of the development of constitutional rights”.
“According to different lawyers, these changes will face a regression in our country. I guess you yourself know what it means to amend mother law and begin to comply other legal acts with it. Is this change worth of that “sacrifice”? In other words, will such a step arise dangers for the stability of the legal field or not?”
“The stability of legal field itself is not a goal. Yes, it is a positive, legal culture, but if different spheres of social life have a dynamic progress and the legal field is “outdated”, this could evoke another danger when the right becomes an obstacle for the development. I should mention that, in case of admission, the constitutional reforms will lead to large-scale changes in the legislative field. This is unavoidable, and the extent to which the constitutional reforms will be implemented in the legal system and “will be digested” by our society, depends on the quality of this work”.
“Mr. Manukyan, to say “yes” or “no” to the new constitution, a citizen should at least have a general idea about this amendment. Is the awareness carried out in such a way that our society knows for what they are for or against.”
“In general this is true, but it would be desirable to realize more effective awareness campaigns. Unfortunately, our corresponding public institutions are not so effective, and do not take great burden in this part. Let us not forget that objectively, the activity is changing and in some places it is decreasing. It is a normal phenomenon. Look at the example of societies in developed democracies.”
”During your tenure you were concentrated on the implementation of the Probation Service. I remember discussions in the government, when officials who had power, were against to this system. In their opinion, it could not function in our society, at least now. Again, we keep the same idea, whether the probation will act and if it does, then in what format we should introduce it and why?”
”I think they were not against but concerned, because I am sure they are also convinced of the necessity of this institution. This time or another, in this or that format, the model will be established in our country. I am sure that it will function effectively. At the same time, I am confident that in case of full implementation the result will be greater. Everything depends on the quality of legislative basis that will be created for this system and what interest will show the Government undertaking the service creation.”
”Another important amendment on which you pay attention to, are the changes in the Civil Code. Are you satisfied with the current pace of change in the code?”
”This is the most difficult work and we cannot expect rapid solutions. The Civil Code is the constitution of our Civil and Legal circulation. So, here the working style of measure seven times, cut once, is useful.”
”Mr. Manukyan, today, one of the most important topics is the issue of traffic fines; reduce or warn? How do you see the solution? ”
”Here we do not have a problem of inventing a bicycle. The world has already given the solutions; there are many tried and effective models. The main issue is the prevention of violations and we should find our acceptable model based on the specifics of the social situation, the level of legal citizens awareness, dynamics and frequency of traffic violations, etc.”
”On November 8, Soghomon Kocharyan who was set free from life imprisonment because of his illness, died. So it was an 18-day justice, so much he lived when on October 22 a decision to releave him from further punishment was made. The problem of sentenced to life prisoners seems to be deadlocked, how to solve and give a chance to those people to appeal the convictions made in the past.”
”This is a very painful theme for me. There are a number of problems in this sphere. And the question is not only a judicial acts’ review. This is very difficult and maybe practically unsolved way. I tend to see the solution to this problem in the constructive field, particularly in the context of the reform of the parole institute, as well as, introducing a reasonable mechanism for parole of the life sentenced.”
”I have read in Different news outlets that you are engaged in the law and social activities, please open the brackets.”
”I must say not only in these. There are also other interesting activities. To be honest, I did not have enough time to practice theoretical law. I think, I will have an opportunity to compensate. I also pay attention to the Patriotic Union Shirak especially in Gyumri to implement certain social initiatives. Similar initiatives and relations are carried out with our Georgian friends. The theme of Armenian-Georgian relationship is always on my agenda.”
”Do you have a purpose to access the legislative field? ”
”Legislative? Do you mean policy? In my recent interview, I mentioned that it is impossible to leave politics. To be honest I am still of the same opinion.”
”Could you preset your ”Fat” Armenian family (I have seen such a description on your Facebook page).”
”You probably guess from where comes this phrase of ”Big”, ”Fat” Armenian family. It was in the theme of an American film director Joel Evika’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”film. In summer we gathered with our big family; my parents, sisters and me each of us with our own families. In short, two football teams. Such occasions do not happen frequently and we naturally enjoyed hours with each other. About my family; I live with my parents, who are pensioner. My father worked in the prosecution for a long time, my mother is a doctor by profession. My wife has a philological education, but does not work in her profession and tries herself in business. My daughters got a European superior education, and are economists; they returned and are in public service in their country. My son is 7 years old and studies in the second class. He likes languages and knows Georgian. Recently, he began to learn Chinese.
Interview and photos by Gevorg Tosunyan