Armenia Urged To Implement Upr Commitments & Recommendations


States News Service
March 25, 2013 Monday

The following information was released by International Federation for
Human Rights (FIDH):

Civil Society Institute (CSI), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee
(NHC) and FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) released
a mid-term assessment (May 2010 – December 2012) following the
recommendations by the United Nations member states in the framework
of Armenia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2010.

The report provides information on Armenia’s legal system and state
practice, as discerned through recent monitoring activities undertaken
by CSI and FIDH in cooperation with NHC on issues such as the right to
an effective remedy, judicial independence, the right to a fair trial,
the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, the penitentiary system
and juvenile justice.

The Armenian authorities have taken some steps to amend national
legislation, such as drafting a new Criminal Procedure Code,
introducing some amendments to the Criminal Code, and developing
programmes and policies for judicial reform; however in practice,
Armenia has not made real progress in fulfilling its human rights

The routine use of torture and ill-treatment, especially in police
custody, continues unabated. Victims of torture do not file official
complaints fearing retaliation, and perpetrators are not held
accountable for such acts. The definition of torture in the Criminal
Code falls short of the requirements of the United Nations Convention
against Torture (UN CAT). On the rare occasion that cases have been
reported, no thorough, independent or effective investigations have
been conducted. The courts continue to accept evidence allegedly
obtained using torture and ill-treatment. Victims of torture and
other human rights violations lack access to effective remedies.

Lack of judicial independence remains one of the most serious concerns
in Armenia. In many cases, the judiciary fails to comply with the
guarantees of fair trial standards, envisaged both in international
and national legislation. Courts continue to show prosecutorial bias,
violating the principles of presumption of innocence, equality of
arms and the adversarial nature of proceedings.

To date, neither a system of juvenile justice nor appropriate
specialization among prosecutors, lawyers and investigators working
with juveniles have been introduced in Armenia. Custodial measures
are widely applied to juveniles.

No progress has been made on penitentiary reform. Penitentiary
institutions in Armenia remain overcrowded and living conditions
have not improved. No inmate rehabilitation programmes have been
implemented whatsoever.

CSI, NHC and FIDH call upon the Armenian authorities to redouble
their efforts to implement the recommendations and voluntary pledges
explicitly undertaken by Armenia during its Universal Periodic Review
in 2010.

From: A. Papazian

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