YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on May 20 demanded a mandatory “vetting” of all judges in Armenia and said many of them must already resign because they are connected to the country’s former leadership and not trusted by the public.
“The people of Armenia perceive the judicial authority as a remnant of the former corrupt system in which plots against the people are constantly hatched and executed,” Pashinyan said in live televised remarks. “To what extent this theory is true and substantiated is a different matter.”
“But the fact is that the judicial authority does not enjoy the people’s trust and therefore lacks sufficient legitimacy to act, which now poses a direct threat to the normal life, stability and national security of our country,” he declared at an emergency meeting with senior government and law-enforcement officials and lawmakers.
“Unfortunately, I can’t conclude that the judicial system is not subjected to shadowy and illegal influences mainly coming from the former corrupt system because these two systems are connected to each other through human, political and other ties,” added Pashinyan.
In particular, he said, Armenian courts have validated “dozens of illegalities” which he said were committed by the former ruling regime.
All judges must therefore undergo “vetting,” he said. “That is, the public must have full information about the judges’ political ties, origin, property status and activities as judges and in their previous capacity, and their individual and professional traits,” explained the prime minister.