Hovhannes Manukyan Chairman of the Court of Cassation of the Republic of Armenia



– Mr. Manukyan, do you think the recent innovations, which were implemented in the framework of the judiciary and legislative reforms, namely in the connection with authorizing the judges to limit realization of the advocate’s activities in the Court of Cassation of the RA, imposing sanctions upon the participants of the court hearing including the advocates, will eventually complicate the process of realization of justice, hinder to free realization of competition principles, as well as hit the independent advocacy institute, which is still weak? Please, express your point of view in this regard?


– No, I do not think so. The main objective of the judiciary and legal reforms is to raise the efficiency of justice. Filing cassation appeal by the accredited advocates anticipates more serious legal and expert approaches. The efficiency of the constitutional mission of the Court of Cassation depends on the quality of the cassation appeal. As it is well known the Court of Cassation considers the cases in the bounds of the basis of the appeal. The better founded are these grounds the easier for the Court of Cassation to ensure equal application of law. At the same time the “qualified” cassation appeal implies more detailed reflection of the court referring to the legal question raised and a more precise regulation, which naturally may have its consequences, in particular from the aspects of raising the efficiency of justice and predictability of the judiciary system. This in its turn is a rather serious precondition for the reduction of the corruption risks. I do not share your doubt with regard to hindering to free realization of competition principles by introducing of the institute of court sanctions. I think this institute will be a guarantee for realization of this principle based on the plain evidence that abuse of the judiciary and legal rights of one party is a serious obstacle from the point of view of realization of those of the other party. And maybe the court sanctions will ensure complete application of equal rights for both parties. In individual cases the existence of this institute will promote the establishment of the advocacy institute and raise its efficiency.


– Eventually, which will be the role of the RA Court of Cassation in result of judiciary and legal reforms?


– Under the Article 92 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia the RA Court of Cassation is the supreme instance, which should guarantee equal application of the law. The new procedural status of the RA Court of Cassation was stipulated by its constitutional mission and especially to transition to the system of permissibility of cassation and expansion of the authorities of the Court of Cassation. The Court of Cassation is the supreme body of the judiciary branch of power, and the special separation of the issue of equal application of the law under the Constitution is the evidence of the definite position of the RA Court of Cassation in the system of the state governmental bodies. Function of the RA Court of Cassation is realization of justice. And during this process the Court of Cassation solves the objective of equal application of the law which is imposed over the Court by the Constitution. In addition the authorities provided to the Court of Cassation by the legislative power are directly aimed to solve this problem. Consequently we may conclude that the legal grounds for filing a cassation appeal are called to realize the function of the filter, which will enable the Court of Cassation to select the appeals, which are exclusive and deal with ensuring the equal application of the law.


– Which are the problems of the judiciary system, which need immediate solution? What activities are undertaken to provide the transparency of the activities of the courts in this context? What is your approach in regard of the possible cooperation with the professional public organizations aimed at ensuring the transparency of the court activities?


– The judiciary system is advancing towards the reforms, which anticipate stage by stage solutions. Regarding to insuring transparency of the court activities the Judiciary Code of the Republic of Armenia provides special norms referring to this issue. In particular provision on the official website of the judiciary power, which stipulates introduction of the information on the website in accessible for the population format, also it includes a norm providing the requirement for publication of the judicial acts. In compliance with this norm the judiciary acts, of the Court of Cassation which per se refer to case should be published in the official reference book of the republic of Armenia, as well as in the official website of the of the judiciary power. In addition at present the RA Judiciary department realizes different projects which should be aimed at ensuring the transparency and accessibility of the judiciary system. In this respect the involvement of the NGOs in these activities is highly appreciated, because it will provide opportunity to the judiciary system to register and assess the needs of the public, their volume and so on.


– Do you think justice is realized duly from the aspect of the protection of human rights in the Republic of Armenia, and especially in the Court of Cassation?


– Yes. And to prove this I present the first volume of the Collection of Decisions of the Court of Cassation of the RA (the presentation ceremony will be held on 2 April 2007 at 11:00 a.m.). The decisions included here will serve as a direct reply to your question.

I think that realization of the court decisions by the participants of the court process, as well as by the judges is rather important both from the aspect of protection of human rights, and from the aspect of justice, to equal application of law. This condition will have a serious result from the viewpoint of efficiency of justice, protection of the rights, legal accuracy, and accessibility of the court decisions.


– What is your vision for the future of the judiciary system of Armenia? Do you apply all your strengths to make it more Independent, Just and Trustworthy?


– I shall try to be brief by referring to some principles: Independent, Just, Trustworthy and Predictable. And I think that the public will evaluate the efforts that are being realized in this direction.


– Are there any problems which we did not touch in this interview, and would you like to address them?


– I call to all non-governmental organizations and to the public on the whole. Everyone should have input to see and to have an efficient judiciary system. Because the judiciary system will always be such as we lake to see it. Realization or not realization of efficacious steps will cause to establishment of a judiciary system, which we want today. And the greater is the input of the society in this the more effective judiciary system we may expect.

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