July 13-19. Clashes in Ijevan for Illegal Tree Felling

On July 17, hundreds of citizens in Ijevan blocked the Armenia-Georgia interstate highway. The demonstarators demanded permission for deforestation and its sale.

As a result of the clashes between police officiers and demonstrators, 14 people got injured, 12 people out of which were police officiers and 2 were citizens. Criminal cases initiated on the basis of hooliganism and use of force against the  law enforcement official. 22 people were detained, of which 13 were arrested. 13 people were involved as defendants in the case of disorders in Ijevan.

The police report that dissatisfaction wave of citizens in Ijevan increased after police blockades were placed in those places through which illegal tree felling might have been removed.

The Venice Commission Protocol as a topic of hot discussion

On July 15, a hot public debate broke out on the protocol of 119th plenary session of the Venice Commission, which touched upon judicial reforms in Armenia. It’s a non-public document which was forwarded to the RA Government having accsess by the previous authorities as well. The latter informed the public about the document under the light of their own commentaries, like on the Facebook page of “Path of Law” NGO. Former RA Deputy Justice Minister and former NKR Human Rights Defender Ruben Melikyan is a co-founder of the page.

The Venice Commission Protocol runs a number of points on the judicial processes in Armenia, including the agreement between the commission delegation and RA authorities. According to it, the latter refused to carry out a general vetting  and preferred strengthening disciplinary procedures of judges and property declaration.

The Constitutional Court sends Kocharyan’s case to ECHR and Venice Commission

On July 18, the RA Constitutional Court (CC) suspended proceedings against RA second President Robert Kocharyan and turned to Venice Commission and ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) for a consultative opinion. RA CC can not exactly determine constitutionality of the Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code (overthrowing the constitutional order).

It should be reminded that on July 8 RA CC initiated proceedings on the basis of the appeal of the Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction. Judge Davit Grigoryan asked the Constitutional Court to check the constitutionality of the article and issue of the president’s immunity.

Lake Sevan

It is already allowed to swim in Lake Sevan. This was stated by Deputy Health Minister Anahit Avanesyan during the Cabinet meeting on July 18. She reported that samples were taken from 11 different sites as of July 15, and only two samples showed small deviations from the norm, which testifies that the lake has good dynamics of self-purification.

Environment Minister Erik Grigoryan states that causes of the problem in Lake Sevan are climate changes, discharge of wastewater and flow of improperly cleaned areas, cattle breeding. The Minister also noted that to avoid the problem, works are being carried out to reduce sewage and raise the level of the lake.

105 mln drams (about US$ 220.000) to Tourism Development

As a result of extra budgetary funds, the Government allocated 105 mln drams for developing tourism infrastructure.

It is planned to carry out work in 2 directions. 15 mln drams (more than US$ 31.000) will be allocated for building regional road stations. And 90 mln drams (more than US$ 188.000) will be spent for marketing purposes in key foreign markets – Russia, Georgia and China.

New Chairman of Supreme Judicial Council (SJC)

RA SJC elected Ruben Vardazaryan as its new chairman by secret voting on July 19. He was elected SJC member on July 11.

It should be reminded that SJC had no chairman since Gagik Harutyunyan’s resignation on May 24.

Immediately after the mentioned elections, SJC member Nakhshun Tavaratsyan resigned, though earlier during SJC session a decision was made about the fact that the latter may exercise her powers as her absences from sessions are excused.

Translated by Mary Grigoryan

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First Published: 21/07/2019