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Siranush Sahakyan on election of new judges of Constitutional Court

"A1+" talked to Siranush Sahakyan, co-founder of "Legal Way" NGO, Constitutional Court president and judges' representative in the ECHR, about the Constitutional Court judge candidate nominated by the Government, the current situation in the Constitutional Court, and the Constitutional amendments.

- Today, the Government nominated Vahram Avetisyan’s candidacy for the post of a judge of the Constitutional Court. What are your observations? 

- (...) I positively assess the person of the nominated candidate, but this does not mean that there are no concerns related to the process, and I will not raise it in the legal field.

- What concerns are you referring to?

- My first concern is that ware dealing with an invalid document. Secondly, these vacancies appeared as a result of violations; if there were no violations, we would not have had vacancies for judges at this moment. There is a third side to the question: to what extent will the newly appointed judges be protected?

- Is there a crisis situation in the Constitutional Court today? Or was it before the Constitutional amendments?

- I do not take seriously the approach that the exercise of a right guaranteed by law to any official—for example, to go on vacation—can be interpreted as a step leading to a crisis, or be interpreted to the detriment of the right holder. We had a functioning Constitutional Court, which, until the last Constitutional amendments, was able to make decisions, (...). So if we had a system that made legitimate decisions and relied on them, I cannot conclude that the Constitutional Court was in crisis. Today we already have a lack of quorum, which shows that decision-making by this structure is endangered. (...). The legitimacy of the composition of the Constitutional Court is endangered; and this is not a problem for one or two years, but it will leave its negative consequences on our society in the long run.

- You are also the Constitutional Court president and judges' representative in the ECHR. What can you say about this?

- (...) there is a process; regardless of the timeframe, resource expenditure of that process, we will patiently follow all the legal processes, and we will be consistent so that the rights are restored.