By Naira Nalbandian
YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — A group of judges have accused the Armenian authorities of seeking to curb judicial independence through disciplinary proceedings against their colleagues and arbitrary assignment of court cases.
Some of them spoke up on January 13 during a special meeting of the Armenian parliament committee on human rights which was organized by its opposition chairwoman, Taguhi Tovmasyan, and boycotted by its pro-government members.
“My fellow judges have the impression that these disciplinary proceedings are launched in an attempt to intervene in the work of judges,” Arman Hovannisyan, a judge of a Yerevan court of first instance, told the committee.
“That can be regarded as pressure because if we look at what kind of disciplinary proceedings have been launched and against which judges, we will see malevolence, rather than coincidence,” he said.
The number of such proceedings increased significantly last year after a controversial government bill empowered the Armenian Ministry of Justice to demand disciplinary action against judges by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a state body overseeing Armenian courts.