Since 2016, the Human Rights Defender has started a new practice of developing jurisprudence and legal standards in decisions related to concrete cases. This procedure is based on the same principles as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Cassation or the Constitutional Court. In practice, legal standards developed by the Human Rights Defender are widely used in court practice.
One of the most obvious examples concern the decision of the Criminal Court of Appeal which is based on the legal standards of the Human Rights Defender. On 23 May, the Court issued a decision on applying a security measure against a person who committed a criminal act, by setting a clear timeframe for placing the person in a psychiatric institution.
The issue is that when there is a ground to assume that person committed a criminal act being legally incapable (for example, due to mental illness), the criminal prosecution body initiates a proceeding for application of medical enforcement measures. Until the proceeding is completed, security measures might be applied to the person, including hospitalization in a psychiatric establishment.
In this regard, the Human Rights Defender repeatedly raised the issue that the current legislation does not provide terms, maximum timeframe and requirement for periodic review of the placement of a person in the psychiatric establishment. As a result, a person may be deprived of liberty for an indefinite period of time. During the monitoring visits in the capacity of the Human Rights Defender as the National Preventive Mechanism, many cases were recorded when, as a result of the application of the security measure, persons have been kept in a psychiatric establishment for a long period of time and without judicial control.
This issue is illustrated in the annual and ad hoc reports of the Human Rights Defender as the National Preventive Mechanism, as well as in legal standards of the Human Rights Defender.
It should be mentioned thereon that the RA Criminal Court of Appeal stated in the decision that placing a person who committed a crime in psychiatric establishment as a security measure, the lower court restricted the person liberty for an indefinite period of time. The Court considered this impermissible, taking into consideration the positions expressed in the legal standards of the Human Rights Defender as the National Preventive Mechanism along with international standards.
The development of this practice of the Criminal Court of Appeal is an important key for the strengthening of human rights in the country. It is an example of how the case law can be developed through the work of the country's legal institutions based on international obligations.
Source: Human Rights Defender of Armenia