With the support of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), HCA Vanadzor is implementing the project “Implementation of Anti-Corruption Treaties and Standards”. In the frame of the project, 5 recommendations made by international organizations regarding Armenia were chosen; and the project activities will be aimed at contributing to the effective implementation of the selected recommendations.
Thus, GRECO recommended that a deliberate policy for preventing improper influences on judges, conflicts of interest and corruption within the judiciary be pursued which includes (i) the provision of on-going mandatory training to all judges on ethics and conduct, on judicial impartiality and independence and on the prevention of conflicts of interest and corruption, which is to be organized with strong involvement of the judiciary, and (ii) the provision of confidential counselling within the judiciary in order to raise judges’ awareness and advise them with regard to the mentioned areas.
HCA Vanadzor developed a draft law on “Making amendments to the RA Law n the Academy of Justice”, and a draft curriculum on “judicial ethics and conduct, on judicial impartiality and independence, and on the prevention of conflict of interests and corruption” for judges and judge candidates of the RA Academy of Justice in order to promote the implementation of this recommendation.
The need for and purpose of the proposed changes are presented, in detail, in the proposal of “Making amendments to the RA Law on Academy of Justice”.
Before developing the above-mentioned drafts, we also had working meetings with Margarita Amyan, Deputy Rector of the RA Academy of Justice; G. Israyelyan, Advisor to the Rector; A. Bayadyan, specialist in the Division for Organization of Scientific Research and Methodological Work; Arsen Mkrtchyan, President of the Training Commission of the General Assembly of Judges; Davit Khachaturyan, a member of the Supreme Judicial Council; and Haykuhi Harutyunyan, President of the RA Corruption Prevention Commission․ During the meetings, we heard their opinions and presented the planned activities.
Noteworthy, it is established by law that anti-corruption training programmes, as well as the relevant guides and materials are developed and presented by the Corruption Prevention Commission. Nonetheless, the relevant legal regulations do not have the preconditions for anti-corruption trainings to be involved in the relevant educational programmes, therefore, it is necessary to have the relevant legislative changes to ensure the effective localization and practical implementation of the power of the Corruption Prevention Commission. This will give an opportunity to recommend and include training topics on “judicial ethics and conduct, judicial impartiality and independence, prevention of conflict of interests and corruption” in the ongoing mandatory trainings of judges and judge candidates.
Attaching importance to the need for ongoing trainings in order to eliminate corruption in the judiciary, prevent conflicts and ensure impartiality, and taking into account that awareness and educated judges and judge candidates are one of the best tools of combating corruption, a curriculum on mandatory ongoing trainings was developed, and it includes all the conditions to be taught.
The draft legislative change and the draft curriculum have already been sent to the RA Ministry of Justice, the RA Academy of Justice, the RA Corruption Prevention Commission, the Training Commission of the General Assembly of Judges, and the RA Human Rights Defender.
Next, HCA Vanadzor will take active steps aimed at the adoption of the proposed legislative changes and draft curriculums․ The Commission has already provided positive feedback regarding the curriculum. At this point, its inclusion in the mandatory curriculum is being discussed.