Alvina Gyulumyan, who has been Armenia`s judge at the ECHR since 2003, was appointed as a judge at the Constitutional Court on August. Mrs Gyulumyan was getting 13 thousand Euros monthly. RA President Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree on 02 August on establishing a Competition Commission which selected three candidates for the position of Armenia`s judge at the ECHR (Armen Harutyunyan, Arayik Ghazaryan and Nelly Harutyunyan). This list was presented to the RA President. Will he deny that? We believe that there`s a firm basis to do that.
“O” transparency and publicity
Everything started from here. We believe that the “0” transparency and publicity working style of the Commission and the legal-organizational support to these activities by the RA Ministry of Justice was adopted by the Staff of the Ministry right from the beginning. From 22 September when it was known that there were candidates who applied for the position, the Ministry was refusing to give their data, justifying that the candidates themselves wanted to stay anonymous. In the appendix of the RA President`s decree NH-199-N of 02 August 2014 it is clearly mentioned that the “Activities of the Commission are based on the principles of equality of selection conditions for the candidates, the transparency and publicity of the procedure”, so this justification was not a basis to violate President`s decree. Additionally, some of the candidates had stated that they were not against to have their names publicized.
Armen Harutyunyan`s of candidacy hypothesis
It is not the first time that Armen Harutyunyan fights for this position. His candidacy was put forward in 2003, when Mr Harutyunyan was the rector of the Academy of Governance. Anyway, Armen Harutyunyan submitted his application via postal service. The Ministry of Justice has already published the photocopies of the postal envelope of his application. In the cover page of the envelope we can see the barcode through which we can follow the movement of the post. Inserting the code in the website www.haypost.am you can see the following image (see` the image).
So, the letter was submitted to the dispatcher at 10:04 on 24 September. This was also recorded by the Commission in its N3 protocol. But the Commission stops here and does not refer to the further fate of the letter, and it becomes obvious while studying the process of the letter that it was entered into the Ministry of Justice at another time. So, we see two stamps at the same photocopy of the envelop, one of which is the stamp of the 0078 postal division, and it is quite badly-visible (see in the photo).
We can surely fix that the letter after 18:00 was delivered (if we try to understand from the deleted stamp, we can record the time being 18:50) not to the Ministry of Justice, but to the address Margaryan 16 (0078 postal office is located in this address). See the photo. So, the post is left out of the competition.
We think that in these conditions the Commission has violated the President`s decree also inserting its own rendering in the N3 Protocol.
The Commission did not pay attention to the stamp of the 0078 postal office and commented: “Nevertheless the Commission finds that if the submission was received via post in the period between 18:00-23:59 on 24.09.2014 (if it was possible physically and technically to deliver from the postal office/to receive at the Ministry), then it would have been considered acceptable. As the Commission set the deadline as 18:00 in the announcement, it referred to the submission of the documents in hand, and was directed at ensuring the predictability of the action”.
Firstly, in the above-mentioned announcement it is clearly stated: “The Documents should be presented to the staff of the RA Ministry of Justice by 18:00, 24 September 2014, to the address Halabyan 41a, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia. The issues relating to the presentation and receipt of the documents, as well as eliminating their possible drwabacks, are solved by the rules foreseen by the Order”. These lines do not have anything about presenting of documents by hand or via post.
And the most important fact – we need to pay attention to the appendix of the RA President`s decree NH-199-N of 02 August, 2014, the 13th, 14th and 16th points of the third heading of which (Holding the competition) clearly state (pay attention to the parts in bold):
“13. A person contending to take part in the competition (hereinafter – contender) in the period of 20 days after the announcement should present the required documents for the competition (hereinafter – documents), as well as the postal and electronic addresses to communicate with him.
14. The Documents can be presented personally or via post.
16. Documents sent via post are considered presented in time if the staff receives them until the deadline set in the point 13 of this order”.
Did anybody see any mention of difference between in-person and postal presentation of documents? The Appendix of the Decree already defines how the documents should be presented by the contenders. We believe that the Commission has violated the Preseident`s Decree with N3 protocol.
Vahe Grigoryan`s candidacy
Starting from the first days of the competition for Armenia`s judge at the ECHR the “Europe in Law Association” NGO got interested in the process. Initially many NGOs came up with announcements based on the work of this organization.
Afterwards only “Europe in Law Association” NGO was making announcements (hereinafter ELA). It was also implementing observation in the interview stage.
We think that there is a clash of interests. One of the candidates for Armenia`s judge at the ECHR, advocate Vahe Grigoryan is a member of the above-mentioned NGO and its founder. The candidate filed a written application on September 23 to terminate his membership, which is proven by the application provided by the ELA president Lusine Hakobyan. But in the division “About Us” of the website, the candidate`s name still exists. See in the photo.
In fact this candidate has by office influenced the ELA decision-making by 23 September. It was during this time that the organization made announcements together with other NGOs, additionally came up with its own announcements demanding to cancel the participation of 3 candidates in the competition. We`ll come back to that issue.
Change of image.
So, we think Armen Harutyunyan should be left out of the competition. In this case the entire image will change. Arayik Ghazaryan will come to the first place, Vigen Kocharyan – second, and Vahe Girgoryan – to the third. In this case the Commission, according to the RA President`s decree, will put under consideration once more whether it is necessary to replace the candidate on the 3rd place with the female candidate who got the highest points – Nelly Harutyunyan.
To be continued.