The belief of Arnold Vardanyan, a young lawyer and student of the Law Department of Yerevan State University, is the following, “I will rather read one more scientific comment of the Court of Appeals than fiction”.
His aim is to become a prosecutor, but not Prosecutor General. Why doesn’t he pretend the position? Why does he consider himself a “fan” of the new Criminal Procedure Code? What kind of notions does he have of the legal system? Why did he remember the poem “The pearl and the foam” by Hovhannes Shiraz during the interview? Who are the foam of the legal system of Armenia in his opinion, and why the pearls cannot manage to appear on the surface of the sea?
The next interview of the new «Young Lawyers» series of iravaban.net is about the behavior of lawyers, the credibility of their words, the corruption in the university, and the objectives of young lawyers.
How did you decide to enter the Law department? For example, I dreamed to become a writer as a child, but the circumstances made me choose journalism. So what was the reason you chose the Law department?
To tell the truth, I did not choose my future profession, it was my mother, and I will be enormously grateful to her till the end of my life. All the people who know me can say that I can’t live and imagine my life without jurisprudence. I went to school at 5, and I left it at 15, and at that time I entered the university: I was quite young compared with my fellow friends. I studied with older people both at school and in the university. This year I am graduating from the university.
What plans do you have for the future? What do you aspire to become?
I am always asked that question, I want to become a prosecutor, but you have to be born that way, it is all about the person’s character, essence, and psychology. Taking into account some circumstances, I do not see myself as an advocate. Advocacy is a fast developing institution nowadays, and the number of advocates is up to 1900, and will soon be more. We very often witness the pretty low professionalism of our advocate in the court. Though we have some really good advocates, the majority leaves much to desire.
Isn’t the desire to become a prosecutor a bit ambitious? Let’s treat the question with humor. Do you consider the Prosecutor General your rival?
No, I don’t think about the position, the post of the senior prosecutor is already a good choice for me. I don’t want to become anybody’s rival (smiles).
Well. So you think that the prosecutor institution is all about character and essence. Why does it attract you?
Its judicial category in the court attracts me the most. It’s a great honor to have the status of a prosecutor, represent the interests of your country in the court, to speak on behalf of the country, and to make a speech.
How do you progress?
I study well, and always try to get excellent marks.
As I understood, the criminal field is appealing to you.
Yes. Now I am specialized in the criminal field. I also write scientific articles, this year I am going to participate in the symposium dedicated to the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, and I will present a scientific work. I will especially try to present the ignorant politics of the Genocide in the legal light, analyzing the “Perinçek v. Switzerland”case which took place on January 28. I am going to show whether that act corresponded the legal politics of the European Court.
Will you open the brackets?
It does not correspond at all, as long as the European Convention has Article 10 which refers to the freedom of speech, and it gives its frames and limits saying that it is not an absolute right.
What are your views about the legal field? Is it how it should be, or would you like any points to be changed?
The so called foam is too much in our legal system today. Hovhannes Shiraz has a poem called “The pearl and the foam”, and its last quatrain really reflects the flaws of our legal system. It’s main meaning is that there are people who always manage to be on the surface of the sea like foam whereas there are many pearls hidden in the depth that do not get what they deserve.
So these “foam” is on the surface in the legal system, the people who do not study in the university. They enter the advocate’s school because it’s very easy. As a result they become advocates, and the legal system starts to lose its balance.
So you consider that only the advocacy institute is the cause of disbalance?
I am not saying that we have only professional prosecutors and judges, there are many flaws. But in my opinion the entrance exams are very easy in the school of advocates, because they consist of only 400 questions, which are learnt by the participants beforehand, and, of course, this is not an effective method. I think the next problem in Armenia is connected with the Constitution. It is written in many books that Constitution is not a part of the national culture. The first sentence in the Constitution starts with article 16 of the French people and citizens’ declaration signed on 12 August, 1789. It declares that “A society in which the observance of the law is not assured, nor the separation of powers defined, has no constitution at all.” The problem in Armenia is to secure the rights properly. This is the reason that one of the main principles of the new Constitution is the security of the rights. The other problem is connected with the trust of the society toward the justice. On November 4-6, 2000 we signed a document in the UN symposium which refers to the respect of people towards the power of the law. To raise peoples’ trust is a very important objective. There is a sentence in the Code of Conduct of Judges: “The justice should not only be implemented, it should be visible, convincing, and should be perceived as an establishment of justice”. I think this will help to raise the trust of the society. This is the main reason that Article 15 of the new Criminal Procedure Code provides that the judge should appear and be unbiased.
Let’s talk about your family and your personality, not as a lawyer. Do you like to read fiction and what is your hobby?
I am the first lawyer in my family; I also have a sister who studies in YSU. I do not read fiction due to the lack of time, I read professional literature. It’s better to read one more scientific comment of the Court of Appeals than fiction, because you learn more. I haven’t read any fiction during the years of studying. I don’t usually have free time, if I do; I like to listen to classical music and to play the piano.
You will soon graduate, won’t you?
Not really, I am going to study for a Master’s degree, I will continue my education in YSU.
Do you have any intention to study abroad?
No, students who study abroad usually don’t return.
Do you imagine your life only here in Armenia?
Yes, I want to be in the legal system of the Republic of Armenia.
One of the university problems is corruption. Have you come across such a thing in YSU? What can you say about it as a student?
If I say no, it will not be fair, because there are students who don’t study and graduate with a diploma. Then they get posts in the legal system and this is the main cause it cannot operate properly. That’s all I can say.
I think when your dream of becoming a prosecutor is realized you will work under the new Criminal Procedure Code. I am informed that it is taught in YSU. What kind of attitude is formed about it?
I am one of the “fans” of the new Criminal Procedure Code though it has many contradictors because it includes quite controversial norms. I think that since 2006, the year it was elaborated, all those problems have been made minimal. The whole project is based on the principle of the public and private interests balance. It also includes innovations, a really serious ethical norm on the level of a principle. The new Criminal Procedure Code, based on the balance of public and private interests, will soon establish justice and unbiased approach in the light of the ethical standards.
I noticed that you like to cite poetry and use allegories and metaphors. Is the legal field consistent with poetry?
I just always try to speak in a good legal language because the appearance and speech are of a great importance for a lawyer. When a lawyer makes a speech, his thoughts should be proved with arguments. I always remember articles, numbers, and our interview proves it. Do you imagine one party claiming about a new norm in the Civil Code, and the other party stating about a different one? In other words the speech and appearance should correspond to the status and essence of the lawyer.
Interview: Gevorg Tosunyan
Photos: Hermine Virabyan
Author of the Idea: Karen Zadoyan