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Rule of Law in Armenia

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  • Rule of Law in Armenia

    I thought it would be important to have a thread on the development of rule of law in Armenia. The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials. It includes having an impartial and functioning court system, a business atmosphere governed by consistent and enforceable rules, independent media, a fair and impartial election system, etc

    Armenia climbs up 4 spots to reach 74th/180 in the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders

    ​Mixed success

    The print media are diverse and polarized, investigative journalism prospers on the Internet, but pluralism lags behind in the broadcast media. In the crucial transition to digital TV, a future space for critical broadcasters will depend on the impartiality of the frequency bidding process. Police violence against journalists still goes unpunished but the news website and the Hraparak newspaper won an important legal victory in October 2015 when the constitutional court issued a ruling upholding the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.
    <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>

  • #2
    Re: Rule of Law in Armenia

    Originally posted by Mher View Post
    I thought it would be important to have a thread on the development of rule of law in Armenia.
    Arpine Hovhannisyan is very cute with those eyes.


    • #3
      Re: Rule of Law in Armenia

      Armenian Election Law Passed Amid Controversy

      The parliament approved the crucial bill drafted by the Armenian government by 98 votes to 9, with 5 abstentions, after President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party refused to make significant concessions to the opposition.

      The two sides held a series of negotiations earlier this month on several changes to the code that were put forward by Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and backed by other opposition parties and civic groups. The proposed changes were aimed at preventing serious vote irregularities.

      The HAK said earlier this week that it could back the code if the ruling party agrees to meet only two of its demands: mandatory videotaping of voting and ballot counting and removal from voter lists of those Armenian nationals who live abroad. The latter measure would purportedly prevent multiple voting by government loyalists, one of the most serious forms of fraud reported in recent years’ Armenian elections.

      The government and the HHK made other, less significant changes in the code before pushing it through the parliament. The opposition minority dismissed them.

      The parliament’s pro-government speaker, Galust Sahakian, sparked another controversy when he refused to allow opposition lawmakers to make final statements on procedural issues right before the vote. They denounced that as a serious violation of the parliament’s statutes.

      “This cannot be considered a legitimate law,” said Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s parliamentary leader. “This is a disgrace.”

      Sahakian and one of his two deputies, Hermine Naghdalian, brushed aside the opposition protests.

      The 2017 elections will essentially determine who will govern Armenia after Sarkisian completes his second and final presidential term in 2018. In accordance with Sarkisian’s controversial constitutional changes enacted late last year, Armenia will switch to the parliamentary system of government at that time.
      <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


      • #4
        Re: Rule of Law in Armenia

        Sarkisian Warns Armenian Officials

        Ruzanna Stepanian
        Հրապարակված է՝ 28.04.2016

        President Serzh Sarkisian reportedly threatened to sack more Armenian officials late on Wednesday when he held an emergency meeting with senior members of the ruling Republican Party (HHK) related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

        According to Vazgen Karakhanian, a parliament deputy and member of the HHK’s governing board, Sarkisian said that “if people cannot do their job properly, they will have no place in our official positions.” “The warning applied to everyone, including deputies,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (

        It was not clear to which officials the warning was primarily addressed. Sarkisian has been facing growing calls for internal political and economic reforms since the April 2 escalation of the Karabakh conflict that nearly led to a full-scale war with Azerbaijan. Many Armenian pundits believe that Armenia needs such changes in order to be able to counter further Azerbaijani attempts to end the conflict militarily.

        So far Sarkisian has announced no major policy changes in response to the Karabakh escalation. He has only sacked three senior military officials.

        In Karakhanian’s words, while admitting the need to learn lessons from the bloody hostilities, the president berated his loyalists for not responding to what he considers excessive criticism of the Armenian military.

        “The president said: ‘Why do you keep silent when some politicians, deputies say that things are not going well, that we suffered too many casualties and that military leadership is to blame for that?’” revealed Karakhanian.

        “He said that in the last three or four days we have made gains [on the Karabakh Line of Contact] and managed to win back positions [seized by the Azerbaijani army on April 2,]” added the veteran HHK figure. He did not give further details.
        <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


        • #5
          Re: Rule of Law in Armenia

          The head of an Armenian "news agency" was arrested for extorting 300,000 dram a month from an MP in order to not continue printing false stories about him. Interesting and unprecedented.

          Շորթման կասկածանքով ձերբակալվել էի տնօրեն Անի Հովհաննիսյանը (տեսանյութ)

          Երեկ` մայիսի 3-ին, շորթման կասկածանքով ձերբակալվել է «» լրատվական կայքի տնօրեն Անի Հովհաննիսյանը, ով բավական հայտնի է իր «անբասիր» գործունեությամբ, ինչը վաղ թե ուշ պետք է ունենար հենց նման ավարտ:

          Ոստիկանության փոխանցմամբ` մայիսի 2-ին ՀՀ ԱԺ պատգամավորներից մեկը ոստիկանության ԿՀԴՊ ԳՎ-ում հաղորդում է տվել, որ «» լրատվական կայքի տնօրենը կայքում պարբերաբար իր անձի, ընտանիքի անդամների, ինչպես նաև իր` որպես ԱԺ պատգամավորի գործունեությանը վերաբերող սուտ տեղեկատվություններ, զրպարտություններ և վարկաբեկիչ այլ նյութեր հրապարակելու կապակցությամբ հանդիպումներ է ունեցել իր հետ, որոնց ընթացքում, անդրադառնալով կայքի նախկին հրապարակումներին, դրանք չդադարեցնելու և հետագայում նմանատիպ հոդվածներ հրապարակելու սպառնալիքով իրենից պահանջել է յուրաքանչյուր ամիս վճարել 300.000 դրամ: Այնուհետև, կայքի տնօրենի ներկայացրած պահանջի կապակցությամբ պատգամավորի անունից բանակցություններ է վարել նրա ներկայացուցիչը: Բանակցությունների ընթացքում նրանց միջև պայմանավորվածություն է ձեռք բերվել, որ պահանջվող 300.000-ական դրամը, նախապես պայմանավորված որևէ վայրում, մինչև յուրաքանչյուր ամսվա 5-ը պետք է վճարվի կամ կայքի տնօրենին, կամ նրա օգնականին:

          Մայիսի 3-ին ոստիկանության ԿՀԴՊ ԳՎ կոռուպցիայի և տնտեսական գործունեության դեմ ուղղված հանցագործությունների հակազդման վարչության ծառայողների ձեռնարկած օպերատիվ-հետախուզական միջոցառումների շնորհիվ, ըստ նախնական պայմանավորվածության, ժամը 15-ի սահմաններում, Երևան քաղաքի Նալբանդյան փողոցում գործող սրճարաններից մեկում, շորթման առարկա հանդիսացող 300.000 դրամ գումարը վերցնելուց հետո փաստով կայքի տնօրենի օգնական, ինքը և մամուլի ակումբի ղեկավարը բռնվել և բերման է ենթարկվել ԿՀԴՊ ԳՎ: Հայտնաբերվել և բերման է ենթարկվել նաև կայքի տնօրենը: Նրանք ձերբակալված են: Կատարվում է քննություն:

          ԼՈՒՐԵՐ.com-ը կփորձի պարզել նաև, թե ԱԺ որ պատգամավորն է եղել Անի Հովհաննիսյանի թիրախում:

          Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


          • #6
            Re: Rule of Law in Armenia

            I hope the ruling Republican Party shows the willpower and implements these changes, because it's time to take the next step as a country in improvements of our electoral system. Not that I believe another party will do a significantly better job. It's more that we need people to develop more faith in the electoral system so we begin to have a normal political process, where changes are made through the legal constitutional system, through elections, and we purge words like regime and revolution from our vocabulary.

            Regardless of whether they're implemented or not, I hope everyone does their best to be in Armenia this coming april for the parliamentary elections to serve as election monitors. Armenia has 1997 polling stations. You need about three people at each polling station to keep that station clean from any significant manipulation. That puts our need at roughly 6,000 election monitors to have excellent elections. In 2013 we had 400 monitors. In 2015 we managed 1,300. It's very realistic for us to reach 6,000 by April and take the next step as a country.

            I think the ideal outcome for this coming elections would be for nobody to get more that forty percent. If the republican party can be limited to forty percent, and we are to form a true coalition government, of three or more parties, we will see the end of words like regime.

            Civic Activist Blames Government For Election Deal ‘Failure’

            A leading Armenian civic activist believes the government’s failure to honor its landmark deal with the opposition to introduce anti-fraud mechanisms in time for next year’s parliamentary elections will cause new strong disappointment of the West.

            In a development welcomed by the European Union and other Western organizations the Armenian government and the opposition agreed in June to amend the newly adopted Electoral Code, introducing a number of safeguards sought by opposition groups and civil society organizations.

            The most important of those amendments call for the introduction of a biometric registry of voters meant to prevent multiple voting by government loyalists. This would be done through electronic machines that check voters’ identity through new, plastic ID cards containing their fingerprints.

            The Armenian government also agreed to give opposition parties, non-partisan observers and media greater access to the lists of voters who will have cast ballots during the next parliamentary elections due in April 2017. In addition, the authorities would install video cameras in all of Armenia’s 2,000 or so polling stations and ensure live broadcasts of voting and ballot counting there through the Internet.

            The total cost of the special equipment needed for these anti-fraud measures was estimated at 16 million Euros ($17.8 million). The government made it clear from the outset that the compromise deal will be annulled unless foreign donors provide the bulk of this sum by September 1.

            Representatives of Armenia’s opposition parties, who have been in contact with government officials on the course of the introduction of the mechanisms, revealed recently that the authorities were unlikely to implement most of the promised mechanisms because of “technical problems”.

            Naira Zohrabian, the leader of the parliamentary opposition Prosperous Armenia Party, which was one of the parties to the deal with the government, in particular, accused the authorities of deliberately thwarting the process despite the availability of extra-budgetary funding pledged by foreign donors.She claimed that the government feared that the introduction of such mechanisms would indeed block all loopholes for committing electoral fraud. Government representatives, however, rejected the claim, arguing that the introduction of such mechanisms as fingerprint registration of voters would be technically impossible to complete within the months remaining before the next general elections.

            Head of the Association of Informed Citizens Daniel Ioannisian also thinks that the authorities are trying to scuttle the deal. In his opinion, if this failure happens, it will prove even be more disappointing to the West than Armenia’s U-turn on its planned association deal with the European Union in 2013 and its later accession to the Russian-led economic grouping. In this case, Ioannisian stressed, officials in Brussels would not understand it because unlike the failed EU association process where Armenia was “under Russia’s pressure”, “this is purely the result of the Armenian government’s lacking political will.”

            “The government was trying to scuttle these changes, citing the lack of money or other circumstances. The international community and we were trying in every way to prevent this failure. In the end, the government found a way out. Citing a Polish company, it prevented the introduction of the agreed anti-fraud mechanisms,” the activist said.

            Speaking to media on Thursday, Armenian Parliament Speaker Galust Sahakian explained that the promised funding for the necessary equipment would not become available earlier than January. “And then, naturally, we won’t have enough time for introducing the necessary equipment,” he said.

            Ioannisian, however, remains skeptical about the explanation. “There is no problem with either the funding or the terms. This way they [Armenian authorities] simply try to put the blame on the West,” he said.

            According to opposition representatives, as an alternative to the mentioned anti-fraud mechanisms the government now suggests discussing a post-election publication of signed voter lists.

            Opposition parties in Armenia have for years sought this change, claiming that otherwise it is difficult to verify their longstanding claim that the authorities use the data of citizens absent from the country to rig the elections. Government officials, meanwhile, have argued that post-election publication of voter lists constitutes a breach of the principles of secret ballot and personal secrecy.

            It is still unclear in what way the government is going to implement the change in order to address its concerns regarding the rights of citizens and whether this change will fully restore the situation that existed before 2003 when the Central Electoral Commission stopped the publication of signed voter lists after elections following a relevant amendment.

            The 2017 elections will come one year before Armenia switches to a parliamentary system of government. They will determine who will govern the country after President Serzh Sarkisian completes his final term in 2018.

            <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>