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“My Step” to Initiate A Process of Removal of Chairman of the Constitutional Court 

“My step” fraction of the National Assembly will initiate a process of terminating the powers of Hrayr Tovmasyan, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Armenia as is envisaged by the powers of the National Assembly.

Parliamentarians are discussing inviting Hrayr Tovmasyan to the Parliament and giving him the floor for explanations. The National Assembly has established suspicions that Hrayr Tovmasyan mishandled the judicial proceedings in the criminal case against former President Robert Kocharian. The decision to terminate Tovmasyan’s powers will be made not by the Parliamentarians, but by the members of the Constitutional Court (Judges) by a two-thirds vote.

One of the grounds against Tovmasyan’s impartiality in the case is the fact that he has family ties to Kocharyan’s lawyer, Aram Orbelyan.

On September 16, Ararat Mirzoyan, Spokesperson of the National Assembly, for the first time spoke about the situation in the Constitutional Court and the upcoming actions of the parliament. He specifically stated that the Constitutional Court, while deliberating on the appeal presented by Robert Kocharyan did not consider the barrier’s to three Court members’ participation in hearing the appeal (Hrayr Tovmasyan, Hrant Nazaryan and Arevik Petrosyan) due to existing facts of a bias exhibited by these members. In addition, the Dissenting Opinion of Court member Felix Tokhyan pointed out that the court demonstrated unjustified haste in arriving at a decision, and that this decision might have been not adopted should the process not follow such a speed. The same Judge also mentioned in the Dissenting Opinion that given the public outcry over this high-profile case, the Court should have considered investigating the appeal through verbal procedure, which it didn’t. “As for the substance of the Constitutional Court’s decision, one can clearly note that without clear justification the Court significantly diverted from its own legal position it has been expressing for over a decade on that same legal gap under its examination.”

Ararat Mirzoyan also spoke about procedural violations in relation to another appeal made by Robert Kocharyan over 300.1 charges of violating the constitutional order. The Court suspended consideration of this appeal and forwarded it to the Venice Committee and the European Court for Human Rights. “Up until now the procedural grounds for sending such letters to ECHR and Venice Committee are not clear, especially given the fact that by its working decision of July 18, the Constitutional Court had already suspended consideration of this appeal. Up until now, the National Assembly has not be presented the Armenian text sent to ECHR and Venice Committee where the Republic of Armenia is a defendant party,” said Mirzoyan. National Assembly’s spokesperson also deliberated on the legality of Hrayr Tovmasyan’s election as a Chairperson of the Highest Court being a member of the Parliement from the Republican Party and a political figure, who was appointed to this post and in essence, the members of the Constitutional Court were deprived of an opportunity to elect their Chairperson and therefore this was an abuse of the autonomy of the Constitutional Court.

Ararat Mirzoyan called for the Parliament to express its position on the presented issues and the given situation.

This speech was followed by a closed meeting of the “My Step” fraction.