Probation Service: Subject of Active Discussions in the Government

The Draft on the approval of the concept of introduction of probation service in Armenia finally entered the Agenda of the Government Session. Today Hovhannes Manukyan presented this service, its objectives, and the 4 main stages: pre-trial, trial, sentence and post sentence.

The minister stressed that the draft new of the Criminal Procedure Code, a number of changes were designed just for this service.

He said that creation of probation is favorable in financial terms as well, and introduced the statistics, justifying the introduction of this service.

He said that creation of the service will lead to a positive result in the social aspects, and specifically in the reintegration process of a person.

“The concept has gone through several rounds of discussions and, at the moment it is ready,” the Minister concluded.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan wanted to say something, but it was cut short. The Prosecutor General Gevorg Kostanyan had his considerations.

He confirmed that the concept has long been discussed; there have been objections which did not refer to the whole concept, but to the first stage of implementation of the probation service, namely the trail, when the probation service shall give advice referring application of precautionary measures with regard to a person convicted of a crime or suspected.

“We believe that this is unacceptable for several reasons, because in order to a an official or a representative of public to decide about the precautionary measures upon an individual, they should have clear understanding of the whole criminal case and its details, so that their opinion is credible and objective. We believe that this service will not be able to realize,” Mr. Kostanyan said.

The Prosecutor General said that the government should approach this question with a reservation. “To bring and to introduce the international experience mechanically, yes this exists in many countries, however, in practice introducing everything at once? I think we shall face serious problems. So I think the stages shall be introduced in terms of time,” he said.

“We are proceeding just in this way,” Hovhannes Manukyan said.

“We are proceeding by phases; in pretrial and trial phases in complete theoretical level. We are not going to introduce all directions, we are not going to introduce those which the probation service may have as a subject of its scope, and we do not intend to do that. Our objective is to build this structure from scratch.” Mr. Manukyan said.

Head of the National Security Service Gorik Hakobyan also urged the Ministry of Justice not to hurry. He stressed that currently this service cannot be operated. “May be after some 20 or 30 years they will participate successfully. But I cannot imagine at this moment. It is very complicated. I think that we should not hurry, we will create difficulties for us,” the Head of NSS said.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan stressed that there should be no rush; he stressed the importance of this service, confirming the concept.

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