Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Provide the availability of the lawyer selected by the person right after being deprived of liberty, provide a lawyer also for witnesses and victims of vulnerable groups

December 17, 2019

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The opinion and recommendations of HCA Vanadzor on draft Criminal Procedure Code


Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor presents the opinion on the RA draft Criminal Procedure Code.


The draft was placed for public discussion on November 8, 2019.


HCA Vanadzor analyzed the compliance of the RA draft Criminal Procedure Code provisions with international standards of human rights protection and presented recommendations on securing safeguards of personal inviolability, the rights of the victim, the witness, the accused and the right of access to a lawyer. 


The opinion of HCA Vanadzor on the draft will be presented to the RA Ministry of Justice and RA National Assembly. 


It was recommended to enshrine in the draft that the right to freedom and personal inviolability is indeafisible and that arresting a person, extending the timeframe of the arrest and involuntary placement in a medical institution is only allowed by a court’s decision. 


It was also recommended to enshrine that in case of depriving a person of liberty, informing him/her about the reasons for the deprivation of liberty and, in case of being accussed, informing him/her about the accusation should be done in the presence of a selected defender or lawyer. And in case persons recognized incapable or minors take part in investigative or procedural actions, their legal representatives should necessarily be involved.  


HCA Vanadzor recommended setting the provision of legal support by the state for witnesses and victims of vulnerable groups by imposing on the investigative body the obligation to involve a lawyer. Also, the recommendations included envisaging regulations on getting legal aid and protection by the selected lawyer with the funding of the state.


It was recommended to make the acquisition of all the rights and obligations envisaged for the accused and the participation of the defender in the proceedings not upon the sixth hour of factually depriving a person of liberty, as set by the draft, but rather, right after it, according to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. 


Include the right to communicate with the lawyer in the rights of arrested persons. 


Changes were recommended also on expertise conclusion, accessibility of Cassation Court, merging and separation of criminal proceedings, involvement of witnesses, provisions on conducting comparative analysis, as well as provisions prohibiting use of violence or getting information through unlawful actions in the frame of the proceedings. Recommendations were also made on replacing certain discriminatory terms used in the draft law. 


The full document is available HERE (in Armenian)

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