PACE monitors express concern at Pashinyan’s call to block courts

Tue 21 May 2019 09:46 GMT | 13:46 Local Time

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Political stakeholders must refrain from actions and statements that could be perceived as exerting pressure on the judiciary,said the co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Armenia, Yuliya Lovochkina (Ukraine, SOC) and Andrej Šircelj (Slovenia, EPP/CD), following the statement by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan calling on citizens to block the entrances and exits of courts, on 19 May, read a statement posted on the Assembly's website.

This call followed a judge’s decision to release former President Kocharyan from pre-trial detention.

“Without prejudice to the merits of this decision, we wish to emphasize that the independence of the judiciary is a pre-requisite for the rule of law, and that the rule of law is therefore best served by the absence of any interference from political actors. There are clear legal procedures, such as appeals to a higher court, to challenge a court decision that seems questionable. Respecting the rule of law requires respecting the procedures that exist to protect all citizens, irrespective of who they are,” said the co-rapporteurs.

"However, we recognize that the reaction of the public to this court decision underscores the still low level of public trust in the judiciary,” they added.

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