Seminar in Aghveran
FORMAT – WITHOUT TIES
At the workshop in Aghveran
On November 16-17, a seminar was held in Aghveran on the topic “Features of litigation coverage”, organized by the Judicial Department with the assistance of the OSCE Yerevan Office for journalists writing on legal topics. This was the first seminar of the cycle of meetings between representatives of the department and the judiciary with the press from the head of the Department of International Cooperation and Public Relations of the Judicial Department Arsen Babayan. The idea is certainly for the benefit of both. The first experience is confirmation. The seminar was attended by Judge of the Civil Court of Appeal, formerly Head of the Judicial Department Arsen Mkrtchyan, Adviser to the Chairman of the Court of Cassation Emil Amirkhanyan, Director of Avenue Consulting Group Georgiy Khachatryan, the aforementioned Arsen Babayan and about 25 journalists representing the leading domestic media.
IN THE COURSE OF THE SEMINAR, ACTUAL LEGAL PROBLEMS ARE DISCUSSED; the experience of European and other countries was presented and compared. Thus, journalists noted that acquittals are extremely rare in the courts of Armenia. If according to the statistics of recent years, our judges annually impose 2% of acquittals, in the so-called established countries this figure is 20-25%. A. Babayan objected to this, noting that the process of legal proceedings in those countries differs significantly from ours. For example, American judges are already connected during the preliminary investigation, it is they who are entitled to terminate criminal cases. As we know, this is the prerogative of the prosecutor’s office, the investigative body. By the way, according to the prosecutor’s office itself, about 40% of cases are terminated before reaching the court. A. Babayan noted the incorrectness of such comparisons, proposing to consider the example of countries with a similar judicial and legal system: with Russia and Georgia. In Russia, according to statistics of recent years, acquittals are about 0.8%, and in Georgia – 1.2 or 1.3%. Thus, we are still leaders with our two percent.
The subject of discussion was an important question about which “GA” constantly writes – the problem of mass (whether necessary or not) judicial arrest sanctions as a preventive measure. The number of preliminary arrests reaches 95% as of 2012. A.Babayan asserts that this is not entirely true, and again turns to statistics. If the prosecutor’s office for criminal cases receives 1,000 suspects per year, the investigating authority appeals to the court for approximately 100 cases of arrest warrants. It turns out that 95% is considered from a hundred, from a tenth, and not from the original thousand. And the cases with preliminary arrests in this situation are no more than 10-15%.
ON THE OPINION OF CERTAIN JOURNALISTS, DOMESTIC JUDGES are practically unpunished, in any situation they come out “dry out of the water.” However, according to statistics presented by A. Babayan, in 2012, 22 judges were punished to a certain extent for gross violations of work, which is 10% of the judiciary, as opposed to 1 punishment for a judge in 2008. “I consider these figures in two ways,” Babayan said. – On the one hand, this is a positive factor, which means we work transparently and openly. On the other hand, it is very unfortunate that 10% of judges commit gross violations in their work. ”
During the speech of Judge A. Mkrtchyan, some of the journalists, referring to their own “long-suffering” experience, noted the unreasonable length of the judicial acts. A lawsuit may be rejected without giving any coherent explanations, not to mention the fact that often the decisions of the judges are completely inconsistent with the essence of the claim. The judge did not agree, saying that he himself daily deals with “writings”, substantiating in detail and item-by-point his decisions on one or another lawsuit. He explained how it is technically correct to work with a judicial act in order to sort it out in a short time.
Representatives of the Judicial Department noted that our journalists do not have a rule to present judicial acts in the press. One line is given to the decision of the judge and all. Journalists objected that it was important for them to promptly provide information from the courtroom, and the judicial act must be waited for another 5 days. According to Babayan, it is necessary to develop mechanisms that will help resolve this issue. For example, a judge, especially in decisions made in socially important cases, having seen the press in the hall, can briefly explain the judicial act so that the latter can convey the essence to their readers. And the time would not be lost. A. Babayan promised to think about it.
The final session of the seminar was a speech by the adviser of Arman Mkrtumyan Emil Amirkhanyan. He talked about cases of libel and insults, citing specific examples. The journalists were very active, the discussion turned out to be stormy and interesting.
Communication of representatives of the judicial sphere with journalists in the form of interested discussions at the seminars is planned to continue in 2014. The first experience showed that there is a benefit from this, and mutual: new information, exchange of experience, ability to listen and understand each other. Well, in the next issues of “GA” read an interview with another “alternative” participant of the Aghveran seminar, director of the company “Avenue consulting Group” Georgi Khachatryan.