Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Mapping of The Existing Problems of Parliamentary Oversight of The National Security Service Activities and The Ways to Solve Them

July 9, 2021

Activities | Reports|Information Papers|Brochures | Publications | State Institutions | Own | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

The toolkit used by national security services of the state, as a rule, includes significant elements of secrecy, assumes significant human rights restrictions. Receiving tasks by the state's political and sometimes military-political leadership, national security services can harm the public, violate the rights and freedoms of citizens and other persons.


Taking into account the closed, non-transparent nature of the activities of national security bodies, the regular contact with the information that is state and official secret, we can state that, on the one hand the legislation of the Republic of Armenia restricts the scope of activities of law enforcement bodies, including the judiciary,  on the other hand, objectively, a situation arises when the beneficiaries or organizations may not be informed about the restriction of their rights or may not envision the full extent of the restriction, and therefore, may not seek to restore their violated or "affected" rights. In this regard, the exclusion of abuses and violations of the principle of legality is largely due to the existence of realistic control/oversight structures of the activities of national security bodies that ensure the national security. It is obvious that introduction of effective control/oversight systems in itself cannot be viewed separate from the organizational and functional issues of national security structures and national security bodies. Therefore, the task of ensuring control over the activities of the security bodies should be combined within the discussion of the structural issues of those bodies, the implementation of internal and external control/oversight functions, as well as the need to prevent national security threats by the state. The existing regulations on the classification of information are directly related to the activities of the national security bodies. It is necessary to identify the nature and legality of the balance between classification of information and freedom of information.


In order to identify the content of effective parliamentary oversight of the National Security Service, it is necessary to consider the issues presented below, taking into account international best practices, emphasizing the study of the experience of countries having developed security systems and the comparability of the situations of their application in the state system of the Republic of Armenia.


  • Clarification of the system of national security bodies, organization of institutional activities of national security bodies, which includes the combination of preventive and punitive policy of the national security;

  • Identification of the criteria for the effectiveness of centralized and separated systems of the functions of the branches ensuring national security;

  • Clarification of control and oversight functions, discussion of the effectiveness of departmental and external-departmental or external oversight mechanisms, the information classification regime.


See the full report HERE

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