Statement On Armenia Judicial Reform Project Implementation


A1 Plus | 21:04:06 | 03-06-2004 | Official |

YEREVAN, June 3, 2004. – Over the past weeks there has been growing
attention and public discussions surrounded the World Bank financed
Judicial Reform Project, approved by the Board of Directors of the
Bank in September, 2000. The debates were particularly focused on the
Supervision Report of the Chamber of Control of the National Assembly
that was prepared in the beginning of 2003 and recently presented to
the National Assembly.

The Bank realizes that the supervision and evaluation of the project
carried out by the Chamber of Control is an internal matter for
Armenia and it does not want to interfere in this process. However,
during some public appearances and interviews some officials made
specific references to the World Bank and have questioned some of
the fiduciary aspects and safeguards of this project. Given this
there is a need to explain the Bank’s official position on some of
the important project implementation aspects, and Roger Robinson,
Armenia Country Manager finds it necessary to provide the following
clarifications on some of the issues raised.

1. The World Bank attaches significant importance to the Judicial
Reforms in Armenia and as a development partner it intends to continue
supporting the Armenian authorities in this key area.

2. From the very beginning of the Project the World Bank has been
carrying out close monitoring and supervision of the project
implementation. Since the start of the Project the Bank has
conducted supervision missions at least twice a year during which it
discussed and reviewed the project implementation details with key
project counterparts, as well as with other stakeholders. During the
supervision missions the Bank’s team has agreed with the implementing
agency on any changes in the project design or components that are
necessary for effective implementation of the project activities and
which would contribute to the achievement of the Project Development

3. Unfortunately, due to various reasons the Project start was uneven
and there were delays in some of the important project components. The
Bank has always expressed its concern about the slow implementation
of the institutional development part of the project. However,
during the last year some positive progress has been recorded in this
complex area.

4. All the procurements and civil works under the Judicial Reform
Project have been designed and carried out according to the World Bank
procurement guidelines and procedures. For example, all civil works,
including court house rehabilitation, have been subject to rigorous
competitive tendering processes. These have been regularly reviewed
by the World Bank’s procurement specialists. No major deficiency or
violations of World Bank fiduciary regulations or procedures have been
found. In addition, the Bank’s financial management team conducts a
regular review and supervision of the Project Implementing Agency’s
financial management and control systems. No major problems have been
found in this area either.

5. The revision(reduction) of the number of court houses that are
supported under the Project was done in agreement with the Bank
team. Due to higher actual construction costs the initially allocated
budget was found insufficient for the rehabilitation of all planned
court houses. In response to the request of the Armenian Government the
Bank has in principal approved some reallocation within the project
components, which would allow to complete the rehabilitation of as
many court houses as possible.

In addition, the Bank has also agreed with the government’s request
to extend the Project’s Closing Date from December 31, 2004 till June
30, 2006.