Parliament approves bill on mass rallies in second reading

April 27 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 27, ARMENPRESS: By a vote of 79 to 2 with no
abstentions the parliament approved today in the second reading a
government-developed bill “On procedures for holding meetings,
rallies, marches and demonstrations.” Presenting the bill on Monday
justice minister David Harutunian said that the government had taken
into account most of the proposals received from international
organizations. In particular, the minister said, about 90 per cent of
the notes made by the OSCE office in Yerevan were taken into
consideration while preparing the bill for the second reading.
However, on 22 April, the special representative of the
secretary-general of the Council of Europe, Natalya Vutova, said that
the bill “On procedures for holding meetings, rallies, marches and
demonstrations” adopted by the Armenian National Assembly in the
first reading did not correspond to Article 11 of the European
convention on freedom of assembly. Vutova said this referring to the
preliminary conclusion by the Council of Europe Venice Commission.
The parliament also approved in the first reading a bill on making
changes to the criminal code, which are supposed to eliminate a chain
of technical shortcomings and omissions. The bill invalidates,
particularly, a provision of the code which stipulated that convicts
sentenced to life imprisonment for grave crimes did not have the
right to seek pre-term release.