0 8000 12 11

FREE Hotline to report human rights violations

Ensure proper and meaningful participation of public in the decision-making process

September 18, 2020

Activities | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2020 | Announcements | Publications | State Institutions | Own | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

On 27 August 2020, the Draft Law on making an amendment and addenda to the RA Law “On Protection of Population in Emergency Situations”, RA Law on making amendments and addenda to the RA Law “On Ensuring Sanitary and Epidemiological Security of the Population” and related draft laws were included in the agenda of the Government’s session and adopted. [1] 

 

The drafts were placed for public discussion on 27 August 2020,on the day of the RA Government session, and were sent to RA Human Rights Defender 1 (one) day before the discussion.[2]

 

Assessing this kind of conduct of the Government, HCA Vanadzor finds that it completely contradicts the fundamental principle of democracy, i.e. ensuring proper participation of the public in decision-making.

 

We find it necessary to note that such a non-democratic way of working was recorded in cases of a number of draft legislative acts circulating in January-September 2020, when the procedure of conducting public discussion of legislative drafts was violated. 

 

In particular,

 

  1. The following were included in the agenda of the Government’s sessions before the public discussion period expired:

 

1.1. RA Draft Law on making an addendum to the RA constitutional law “RA Judicial Code”; RA Draft Law on making amendments and addenda to the Law “On remuneration of persons holding state positions and state service positions”[3],

 

1.2. RA Draft Law on making amendments and addenda to “The Code of Administrative Procedure” and RA Draft Law on making an addendum to the Law “On Fundamentals of administration and administrative proceedings” [4],

 

1.3. RA Draft Law on making an amendment and addenda to the RA law “On Ensuring Sanitary Epidemiological Safety of the Population”, RA Draft Law on making amendments and addenda to the Law “On protection of population in emergency situations” and related laws[1].

 

  1. The following drafts were not placed for public discussion on e-draft website:

 

2.1RA Draft Laws on making an amendment and an addendum to RA  Law “On medical aid and services to the population” and on making an addendum to RA Law “On Licensing”,

 

2.2 RA Draft Laws on making amendments and addenda to “RA Labor Code” and on making an addendum to RA “Code of administrative offences”

 

2.3RA Draft Laws on making amendments and addenda to the Law “On legal regime of the state of emergency” and on making an addendum to the Law “On normative legal acts”

 

2.4RA Draft Laws on making amendments and addenda to the Law “On legal regime of the state of emergency” and on making an addendum to the Law “On electronic communications”

 

2.5 RA Draft Laws on making an addendum to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia and on making addenda to the Code of Administrative Offences

 

2.6 RA Draft Law on making an addendum to the RA Water Code

 

According to Article 3 of the RA Law on Normative Legal Acts (hereinafter referred to as Law), draft legislative acts (constitution, constitutional law and law) are subject to public discussion, and other normative legal acts can be placed for public discussion on the initiative of their developing or adopting body. However, it is enshrined under Article 4 point 5 of the Law that the Government can return the draft to its presenting body if the draft is subject to public discussion, but has not undergone public discussion and has been presented to the Government. It means that in one case, the imperative norm functions, which sets a compulsory condition to hold public discussion, and in the other case, the discretionary norm functions, which gives the Government an opportunity, without any ground, to approve or return the draft based on its subjective approach.

 

We find it necessary to note that the 12 principles of good governance established by the Council of Europe include transparency and accountability, which set the state’s obligation to act transparently, to provide information to society and always involve society in state governance. Moreover, in its “Guidelines for civil participation in political decision making”, the European Committee on Democracy and Governance (hereinafter referred to as guidelines) touched upon the need of participation of broad circles of society, its effectiveness, procedure and conditions. In particular, the guidelines establish that civil oversight, considerations and opinions play a most important role in the development of a legal state (watchdog).

 

Summing up the above-mentioned conditions, it should be noted that the mechanism of effective public discussion of legislative drafts has a cornerstone role, which guarantees the public to present concerns, opinions, complaints and proposals, as well as to simultaneously oblige the authorized bodies to consider, develop, refine and give clarifications on the presented questions. 

 

Thus, recording the facts of deviations from the obligations to ensure public participation in the decision-making process of the Government, we demand and call on the RA Government:

 

1.to ensure the publicity, accessibility and adherence to time frames of draft legal acts,

2.to establish the Government’s obligation to exclude decision making on draft legal acts without ensuring and implementing proper public discussion of the relevant content.

 

18 September 2020          

[1] See  https://www.e-draft.am/projects/2704

[1] See RA Government’s decision 1438-A

[2] See www.a1plus.am/hy/article/377413

[3] See www.e-draft.am/en/projects/2499/about

[4] See www.e-draft.am/projects/2503/about

views: 444

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Feedback

Select the relevant connection

  • Font size
    A A A
  • Font
    arial verdana tahoma
  • Thickness
    regular light bold
  • Spacing
    1px 2px 3px
  • Color scheme
    Black on a white background White on a black background
  • Background color
  • Text color