As promised, Nikol Pashinyan has announced “the second and the most important phase of the revolution”. Nikol Pashinyan made several consequent posts on Facebook, calling to block the entrances and exits of the courts early morning on Monday.
Earlier he had stated that if they threaten with fight in the streets, they will get a new revolution because solving problems in the street is easier than in the office. Has Nikol Pashinyan felt danger or was the decision of the court on releasing Kocharyan from custody equal to such a threat?
Prior to and after the court decision the government and personally Nikol Pashinyan underwent unseen pressure by the supporters and opponents of Robert Kocharyan. The situation was defined as the defeat of the revolution, anarchy, governance crisis and so on.
The judicial system in Armenia has not changed. This topic has been widely discussed immediately after the revolution and the key argument was that reforms in Armenia are impossible without changes in the judiciary.
The government is criticized for inaction to reform this, as well as several other important sectors in Armenia.
Discussion on the independence of courts could not stop. On the one hand, the government states that it does not interfere with the judicial system. On the other hand, it is stated that the judicial system remains dependent on the former regime, considering that the judges were appointed by way of rigid “selection” of the regime. Moreover, judges were the relatives, close friends of the regime. And this is normal. The former regime was thereby trying to secure itself from justice.
One can remember the report by the former ombudsman Karen Andreasyan on the courts, which described the pattern of court decisions and bribes.
In this light, many consider the judicial system as the last “fort” of the former regime. And the release of Kocharyan from custody has actually triggered steps in this direction.
The HRD, the Chamber of Barristers, the Supreme Judicial Council have made statements, expressing concerns about legal stability in the country. The representatives of the former system state that the constitutional order is thereby toppled, and the country is headed for dictatorship. Nikol Pashinyan’s appeal has been criticized by several human rights activists as well.
Nikol Pashinyan has stated that everything will be in line with the Constitution and no step will be taken against the interests of Armenia. He has invited the heads of judicial bodies at noon for a meeting.
Is the attempt to address the issue in this way appropriate? A similar situation was last October when the parliament controlled by the former regime made a “counterrevolution attempt”. At that time Nikol Pashinyan called to surround the parliament which then resigned, and snap elections were held. In this case, the mechanism of the solution is not clear. Will the judges be forced to resign?