"Armenia Faces Constitutional Crisis"



"Unlike the capital, public awareness of human rights and their
protection is on a rather low level in Armenian marzes," Artur Sakunts,
head of the Vanadzor branch of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (HCA),
told A1+.

The ignorance is determined by the activity of NGOs, mass media and
lawyers. Many marzes, for example in Tashir have no lawyers. Few
lawyers are skillful and capable of resisting to pressure. Besides,
only 2-3 NGOs work efficiently today," continued Mr. Sakunts.

Every year HCA Vanadzor Office collects data as to how many
administrative violations have been challenged within a year.

"In fact, of 1200 administrative fines registered annually only
one or two are challenged. The figures already speak of pressure,"
underlined Artur Sakunts.

"Human rights protection will remain on a low level unless Armenia
has independent courts. People don’t instill confidence in courts and
think that courts are unable to restore their rights. People don’t
trust regional courts either as they think the courts are dependent of
the executive branch-marzpets, local police authorities and prosecutor
offices," says the head of HCA Vanadzor Office.

"Only after losing their last hope to solve the problem through
acquaintances and money people appeal to courts in hope to awaken
their pangs of conscience.

Armenia faces a deep constitutional crisis with state bodies – courts
and law-enforcement agencies sitting idle," concluded Artur Sakunts.