YEREVAN, February 3. /ARKA/. The Armenian Parliament has passed today in the second and final reading a string of amendments to the Judicial Code and a number of related laws proposed by the government by a vote of 83 to 24 and one abstention.
Earlier today, Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan told the lawmakers that the amendments to the Judicial Code were prompted by the need to hire new judges who will consider only corruption cases or pre-trial arrests of criminal suspects.
According to a bill approved by the Armenian government earlier this month, up to 21 new judges are to be hired for the courts of first instance. Three other new judges specializing in arrests or corruption-related offenses are to be appointed to the Court of Appeals.
Badasyan said the new judges are expected to cut the workload of courts increasingly overwhelmed by pending criminal and civil cases.
According to him, the changes will help to raise public trust in courts, since ‘the society in Armenia does not trust the judicial system, and “recently, public attention in this direction has increased.”
As for the concerns expressed by the opposition that the authorities are thus choosing convenient judges for themselves, the minister noted that in order to understand the problem, it is necessary to look at the procedure set for selecting new judges.
He said the candidates will pass a written exam, after which they will pass a due diligence check, receive an opinion from the Supreme Judicial Council and the Anti-Corruption Commission, then undergo training at the Academy of Justice, pass exams again and then only be able to assume their positions
“We can say that persons associated with the corruption circles of the previous authorities may lose their influence in the judicial system,” Badasyan said.