Amendments To Armenian Criminal Code Are Welcomed By PACE Co-Rapport


2009-04-03 12:32:00

ArmInfo. The co-rapporteurs for Armenia of the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Georges Colombier (France,
EPP/CD) and John Prescott (United Kingdom, SOC), today welcomed
the adoption of amendments to Articles 300 and 225 of the Armenian
criminal code. The co-rapporteurs underlined that, in its opinion,
the Venice Commission considered that these amendments would be a
clear improvement to the Law, and considerably reduce the scope for
over-broad and abusive interpretation. "We note that the changes
introduced to the Law within the agreed timeframe, on the basis of
proposals by the special working group set up by the Speaker of the
National Assembly, are fully in line with what was indicated to us in
January this year. This is a clear signal from the Parliament that
it wants to avoid any politically-motivated application of these
articles. It is clear to us that this should have a considerable
effect on the cases in relation to those deprived of their freedom
in relation to the events of 1 and 2 March 2008 which are currently
before the courts," said the co-rapporteurs.

However, they stressed that it is the application of these amendments
that will ultimately count. We hope that the authorities, and
especially the Prosecutor General, will now follow the clear signal
made by the National Assembly," said the co-rapporteurs. "We repeat
that the Assembly has demanded that all persons deprived of their
liberty in relation to the events of 1 and 2 March, and who did not
personally commit violent crimes, should be released. These amendments
offer an effective mechanism for Armenia to comply with that demand,"
said the corapporteurs. "However, we want to stress that there are also
persons deprived of their liberty who are not covered by Articles 300
and 225 of the Criminal Code. We will therefore continue our dialogue
with the authorities, and the National Assembly of Armenia, with the
aim of securing their release." The co-rapporteurs will report back to
the Monitoring Committee during the April part-session on the progress
made by Armenia in implementing Resolutions 1609 (2008), 1620 (2008)
and 1643 (2009), especially with regard to the persons deprived of
their liberty in relation to the events of 1 and 2 March 2008.

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