Under the new Constitution of 2015 the mandate of the Human Rights Defender (HRD) of the Republic of Armenia has been expanded by including the power to facilitate the improvement of the regulatory legal acts related to human rights and freedoms. Following the Constitutional Amendments, a new Constitutional Law on Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia was adopted in December 2016. Within this constitutional function, a new practice of reflecting monitoring results in draft laws by the HRD Office is being exercised.
As a result of monitoring places of deprivation of liberty in the capacity of National Preventive Mechanism and investigation of individual complaints by the Human Rights Defender, legislative gaps and inefficiencies which are in contradiction with international human right standards were revealed and analyzed.
Thus, the HRD Office developed a relevant package of draft laws and recommendations.
The Legal Process
The drafted legislative package with relevant recommendations was introduced for an official circulation and presented to the consideration of the relevant state bodies by the HRD Office. Simultaneously, the draft law was presented and discussed with the representatives of the relevant NGOs, published on the official website of the Human Rights Defender as well as in the unified website for publication of draft legal acts and largely disseminated through media.
Afterwards, all the collected remarks of the state relevant bodies were discussed in the HRD Office and included in the summary list of the draft law.
Moreover, the legislative package with its summary list was presented to the Ministry of Justice and separate discussions (including public) were conducted, after which the Ministry of Justice presented the draft legislative package to the consideration of the Government.
On November 1, 2018, the Government of RA gave its approval for the draft law and presented it to the consideration of the Parliament.
Subsequently, the Human Rights Defender as the head of NPM and the Coordinator of NPM Implementation participated in public hearings of the draft legislative package held by the Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs of the Parliament, where all the essential reforms and the grounds of the proposed legal regulations were presented.
Further, the legislative package was presented and discussed in a public plenary session of the Parliament.
Eventually, the package of draft law was adopted by the Parliament on June 3, 2019, signed by the President of RA on June 13, 2019 and came into force on June 29, 2019.
Basic Provisions of the Enacted Laws
The abovementioned enacted laws provide:
- transfer of prisoners to a penitentiary institution, which is close to the residence of their family members,
- possibility of long-term visits to persons under pretrial detention,
- possibility of granting short leave to prisoners on individual approach based on latter’s behavior in the penitentiary institution, despite the type or gravity of the offence committed by them,
- right of detainees to receive identification cards substantiated by the need to exercise their constitutional rights,
- a mechanism of transferring persons sentenced to life imprisonment through prison regimes from the highest segregation level to the lowest one,
- elimination of segregation of persons sentenced to life imprisonment,
- possibility of postponing execution of disciplinary penalties imposed on a person during in-patient treatment.
Source: Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia