Armenia Ombudsman Tells Journalists He Will Appeal To Constitutional

10.10.2011 16:45

RA Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan today issued a statement
to Armenian journalists, saying that he will appeal to the RA
Constitutional Court this week regarding the issue of unconstitutional
provisions in the RA Civil Code regarding libel and defamation.

In the statement, the Ombudsman draws attention to criticisms
in the local journalistic community regarding Andreasyan’s move
to decriminalize libel while he was employed in a private law firm
(prior to his current post) which resulted in amendments to the Civil
Code made last year.

Despite criticisms, Andreasyan notes that the current legislation
corresponds to international norms and “if applied well, can
effectively guarantee both freedom of speech and a person’s right
to dignity.”

The Human Rights Defender, continuing, weighed in on the drastic
increase of the number of lawsuits mainly launched by MPs and major
businessman against newspapers following the amendments to the
Civil Code:

“The current quantity of civil suits would not endanger freedom
of speech if this freedom did not threaten the judge who applies
legislation unlawfully and unjustly (hereinafter, a nefarious judge).

“The complaints resulting from the current application of the law
prove that as in other areas, so as in the area of freedom of speech,
the nefarious judge discredits a good law and the RA legislation,
discredits good judges and the entire judicial system, discredits
all the branches of our government and the state. Eliminating the
factor of the nefarious judge is my work and the work of journalists,
fair judges and every individual concerned for human rights.

“Nevertheless, considering that my convictions and approaches might
be perceived as preconceived by the proposer of the legislative
amendments, as well as understanding the argument that the current
application of the law by the courts is due to the ambiguous
descriptions of the law, I have decided to submit these concerns to the
RA Constitutional Court for examination,” reads the statement, in part.

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