The constitutional changes that took place in Armenia are solely and entirely a political process, which will potentially serve as a tool at the hands of international players, according to a former minister of justice.
In an interview with Tert.am, Arpine Hovhannisyan, now the president of the Legal Education and Oversight NGO, refrained from any comments on the legal consequences of the reforms, considering the whole process unjustified.
The former minister noted that even "illegal constitutional processes" would require corresponding changes in the law "On the Constitutional Court" to allow for the procedure of terminating judges' authority based on individual legal acts.
"Unless it has been carried out, those judges' authority will not be terminated," she said.
Asked to comment on the possible impact of the reforms on Armenia's international reputation, the former minister said she believes that the country will pay a heavy price in the mid to long run.
"It is a tool at the hands of different international organizations and different 'players'. They will be used against the Republic of Armenia, because the institutions which are in principle responsible for ensuring rule of law and democracy in the European domain, have already given their response, issuing a negative evaluation which will have a landmark role in both the individual domain, i.e. – when considering the process at the European Court of Human Rights, and during observations by monitoring bodies," she noted.
Hovhannisyan said she regrets that Armenia's international image largely suffered as a result of the controversial processes. "We have replenished the ranks of such countries against which the ECHR has passed similar rulings with respect to anti-constitutional processes. I am sure the judges will seek protection of their individual interests," she added.