In the frame of the project “Integrity of Justice Reform”, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor launched a series of trainings for court monitors.
On October 27-30, 2022, the first training was held in Vanadzor, and on November 5-8, a training was held in Gyumri. 2 more trainings are planned for the other groups of monitors in the near future. The monitoring itself is to be launched in late November.
HCAV is planning to monitor more than 1500 court hearings of General Jurisdiction Courts of First Instance, Administrative Courts, and Appeal Courts in Yerevan, and Gegharkunik, Lori, Shirak, Tavush, Syunik regions, engaging 108 monitors.
The monitoring methodology and toolkit were developed in cooperation with the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. The Project also aims to develop the capacities of the engaged specialists as trainers. In this context, 4 HCAV employees were trained with the support of the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and are holding trainings for monitors.
The Foundation’s representative Aleksandra Iwanowska was also present during the first training held in Vanadzor. She was there to assess and guide the trainers to improve their skills in practice and make more effective the process of monitors’ training.
Aleksandra notes that the seminar is an example of a well-developed and effectively held educational process, “The seminar can serve as an example of a solidly prepared and efficiently conducted educational process. The theoretical part allowed the participants to familiarize themselves with the binding standards, and the theoretical part – to consolidate their knowledge. As a result, the participants had a chance to effectively prepare for the monitoring tasks awaiting them. The friendly and safe atmosphere at the seminar supported the educational process as well”.
The training participants also consider the teaching process effective. Most of them have similar experience and they note that this will be a new level in their work, since they will have an opportunity to be a part of a more comprehensive monitoring of the court system. The monitoring implies not only examination of court hearings, but also various sources, interviews with representatives of the judicial system.
Karine Torosyan has been a human rights activist for more than 14 years. By participating in this project, she aims to gain experience in monitoring in this format, “First, I will develop my skills, since it’s a more comprehensive monitoring than my experience. The project will lead to identification of gaps in the judicial system and developing recommendations for solving them. I am impressed by the high level of the training”.
For Margarita Melkonyan, lawyer by training, this is not only an opportunity for professional growth, but also an opportunity to become a part of the judicial system reforms.
Lawyer in the making Artur Gharagyozyan, in addition to being trained as a monitor, also gained knowledge on the institute of human rights, “I think, through the monitoring process I will not only participate in improving the justice system, but will also have professional growth and will use the knowledge acquired in the frame of professional activity”.
“Integrity of Justice Reform” project was launched in 2022 with the support of Open Society Foundations-Armenia. The overarching goal of the project is to ensure the integrity of Justice Sector reform in Armenia and improve the accountability, transparency, and oversight of the Justice System. In the frame of the project, Open Society Foundations-Armenia, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor, Protection of Rights without Borders NGO, Public Journalism Club, Law Development and Protection Foundation, and Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center formed the advocacy coalition “Integrity of Justice Reforms”.