Attorney`s office for only 2 years, and it has managed to have its place in this field. The director of the attorney`s office “Mejlumyan and Petrosyan” is Karen Mejlumyan who runs the office with his wife Inessa Petrosyan. These lawyers have court cases which are of the same age as their children. You can now read about this lawyers` family and their office in the regular issue of the series “Armenian law firms”. Our first interlocutor is advocate Karen Mejlumyan.
Mr. Mejlumyan, could you please tell us about your practice in the field of advocacy.
I have been practitioning advocacy since 2001 when I got a license, before that I was passing my practice with famous advocates of those times – Ruben Rshtuni, Ruben Sahakyan and Tigran Janoyan. I have started advocacy activities in a strong manner, I was taking the first cases without charge for the disadvantaged layers of the society, until I got clients who started to apply to me seeing the results of my work. Until 2002 I was a private entrepreneur, afterwards, in June 2012 me and my wife established the office.
What kind of activities does it undertake, what is the field of expertise?
We have 4 advocates one of who is on a maternal leave at this point. We take many cases – civil, administrative, family cases (a separate advocate deals with these cases). Inessa Petrosyan takes criminal cases. I am responsible for civil-administrative cases.
So, you work not only with citizens, but also with companies?
Yes, we serve many companies.
Do you provide only payed services or you also provide assistance free of charge?
Advocate is a legal protector of rights. Advocate should be like that inside, I have had many cases taken free of charge, we even applied to the European Court on those cases and won, or we are in certain communications. We have won cases at the Constitutional Court, mainly presenting the interests of the layers unable to pay, as their rights are often violated. I can state that 25 per cent of my cases, if not more, are free of charge.
What is the principle or slogan that guides you?
We have a sense of responsibility, we try to approach every case with this, also free of charge. For example, Inessa Petrosyan being a public defender was observing all the cases deeply and with all responsibility. She was getting a salary for working till 18:00, but was bringing those cases home and was starting to look through the cases at our expense.
Can you remember an interesting case from your experience?
There are many such cases, I don`t usually take criminal cases, but once I had to, given some family conditions. We were waiting for a child, and my wife Inessa got an excuse for one case – the juvenile child was justified after being kept in detention for 9 months. A couple of years later his mother was arrested for the same case, and Inessa was invited as a lawyer. She went there being pregnant, and it was around 10 pm, in order for her not to go alone to the isolator, I also showed my license and went with her. As our child was born soon, I started to take the case in her place. We won a case at the ECHR related to a detention, 4 cases at the Constitutional Court, as that case was being sent to the Court of Cassation and returned without any excuse. But that woman was convicted, she has already been set free after 7 years of detention. Today the case is at the ECHR, the communication is over and they have to make the judgement now. It is already 2 years that we don`t have the ruling This is a case to fight for, we have done so for many years. Our child was born when we started that fight, he is already 8 years old. This fight related to the law-enforcement activities, and it was free of charge. So, if you undertake the work, you have to take it to the end. We have had many such cases.
Karen Mejlumyan`s wife Inessa Petrosyan started her advocacy activities since 1999. Currently she is responsible for criminal cases at the “Mejlumyan and Petrosyan” Advocacy office. She is famous for many cases. She also had many political cases, the latest one was “Shant Harutyunyan and friends” case. Was she intentionally taking cases of such resonance? You can find in the interview.
Mrs. Petrosyan, can you specify when you started your advocacy activities?
I have started my advocacy activities since 1999. Then I was taking part in criminal and civil cases, I was working at the “Janoyan and partners” LLC as a lawyer. I have worked for a couple of years there, and then in 2007 I started to work at the Public defender`s office till 2013. Since 2007 I was exclusively taking criminal cases.
You stated that you take criminal cases. As far as I noticed, you had many socially and politically known cases.
It happened so, that right from the start of my activities I had well-known political cases, even took part in the October 27, 1999 case, I was implementing the protection of interests of Nairi Badalyan, and the criminal proceeding was suspended and the case didn`t go to the court.
So, do I get it right that you do not intentionally take the protection of defendants in politically well-known cases?
Yes, it`s not intentional. And then March 1 happened, I was actively involved. I was working at the public defender`s office then. And in the following morning of March 1 I undertook the interest protection of 3 citizens (from among the 4 people justified wre my defendants).
Interviews by Gevorg Tosunyan.
Other issues of this series are: