Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The RA Draft Criminal Code must be made in line with the standards of human rights protection and the best international practice

January 17, 2020

Activities | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2019 | Publications | News | Legislative Proposals | Legislative Proposals and Analysis

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor studied the RA Draft Criminal Code and the problematic provisions of the RA Criminal Code, taking into account the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, recognized interational standards and the best international practice. 


  • Establishing criminal liability for cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.


The Organization gives a positive assessment to certain approaches in the Draft that reflect the implementation of the RA international obligations, in particular, the abolition of statute of limitation for torture criminal cases. The formed and recognized legal logic is that the official liable for torture must be held criminally liable and be punished. 


HCA Vanadzor holds a negative stance regarding the approach by which the Draft authors neglect the legal positions formed in the International Human Rights Law (IHRL). To completely secure international standards on the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment strongly exhorts the competent bodies to take immediate actions aimed at the change of the Criminal Code so as to criminalize the actions under Article 1 and Article 16 of Convention against Torture.   Let us remind that Article 16 of Convention against Torture sets that “Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I (...)”.

The Organization recommends that the Draft establish criminal liability for cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. 


  • Qualification of crimes against electoral rights and freedoms as crimes against constitutional order foundations, democracy and state security.


According to domestic and international norms, the state has an obligation to secure and protect fundamental human rights and freedoms. In this context, elections are a starting point for the formation and further oversight of the Government. The people’s will expressed freely and fairly through regular and real elections are the basis of the competency and legitimacy of all the authorities. 


The public danger of electoral crimes is greatly  attributed to the fact that the restriction or deprivation of  citizens’ rights to participate in the state governing directly or by a representative impedes the establishment of a democratic state governed by the rule of law. Crimes against electoral rights and freedoms, as well as their punishment types became a subject of study. 


Since crimes against electoral rights and freedoms breach the public relations aimed at securing constitutional order and foundations and state security, HCA Vanadzor holds the position that crimes against electoral rights and freedoms must be qualified as crimes against the constitutional order foundations, democracy or state security. 


Based on the aforementioned, HCA Vanadzor recommends, among other things, to set a new type of punishment, namely, deprivation of the right to become a candidate in elections. 


The full document is available HERE (in Armenian)


Appendix 1

Appendix 2


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