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LAW

OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

ON COUNCIL OF JUSTICE

Adopted by the National Assembly

on October 25, 1995.

 

Chapter 1.

Formation of the Council of Justice

Article 1. The President of the Republic shall be the Chairman of the Council of Justice.

The Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General shall be the Vice-chairmen of the Council.

The Council shall also be comprised of fourteen members – two legal scholars, nine judges, and three prosecutors, appointed for a term of five years by the President of the Republic.

Three members of the Council shall be appointed from among the judges of courts of first instance, courts of appeal and the court of cassation.

Article 2. Before formation of the new judicial system the membership of the Council of Justice shall be comprised of eleven members: two legal scholars, six judges, three prosecutors, appointed by the President of the Republic. Three members of the Council shall be appointed from among the judges of district (city) people’s courts and judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Armenia.

The authorities reserved to the members of the Council of Justice by this Article shall terminate upon the formation of the new judicial system.

Article 3. Candidacies for judge-members of the Council shall be nominated at the general meetings of judges of courts of first instance, courts of appeal and the court of cassation.

Before formation of the new judicial system candidacies of judge-members of the Council shall be nominated at the general meetings of judges of district (city) people’s courts.

General meetings of judges of courts of first instance and courts of appeal, and before their formation – general meetings of judges of district (city) people’s courts, shall be summoned and, before the election of a chairman for those meetings, shall be presided by the Minister of Justice.

The meeting of judges of the court of cassation (while the court of cassation is not formed – the meeting of judges of the Supreme Court) shall be convened and presided by the chairman of the court of cassation (before the formation of the court of cassation – by the chairman of the Supreme Court).

The general meeting of judges shall be valid if more than half of judges are present at the meeting.

For the purpose of filling vacancies in the Council of Justice, general meetings of judges shall nominate by secret ballot three candidates for each vacancy. Three candidates, having received the majority of votes, shall be considered as nominated for each vacancy.

The meeting shall elect a counting committee comprised of at least three members to hold voting and summarize the results of voting. Candidates nominated for the membership of the Council shall not be included in the committee.

Voting shall be considered valid if more than half of the total number of judges participated in the voting.

The results of the voting shall be recorded and promulgated at the meeting.

The results of elections shall be recorded. The record shall be signed by the chairman and the secretary.

Nominated candidacies shall be submitted to the President of the Republic.

The meeting of judges, except for cases of voting prescribed in part six of this Article, shall adopt decisions by the majority of votes of judges present.

In case of death of a judge-member of the Council, expiration of the term of authorities, early termination of authorities or resignation from the membership of the Council according to his own request, the candidacies for vacancies shall be nominated according to the procedure prescribed by this Article within two months’ period.

Article 4. Candidacies for prosecutor-members of the Council shall be nominated by the Prosecutor General.

In case of death of a prosecutor-member of the Council, expiration of the term of authorities, early termination of authorities or resignation from the membership of the Council according to his own request, the Prosecutor General shall nominate a new candidacy within two months’ period.

Article 5. The President of the Republic shall appoint legal scholar members of the Council from among lawyers practicing in pedagogical or scientific fields and having a scholar degree in law sciences.

Chapter 2.

Grounds For Early Termination of Authorities of a Member of the Council And the Procedure of Appointment to the Vacant Position

Article 6. Authorities of a judge-member of the Council shall be considered as early terminated if:

  1. he has lost citizenship of the Republic of Armenia;
  2. his authorities as a judge have been early terminated;
  3. he has failed to attend the meetings of the Council two times consecutively without justification. The absence is considered unjustified if no sick-leave certificate has been submitted or the absence has not been agreed with the chairman of the Council.
  4. he has been convicted by a court verdict having entered into legal force;
  5. the age limit for service as a judge defined by the Constitution has expired;
  6. he has been recognized as incapable, missing or dead by a court verdict having entered into legal force.

Article 7. Authorities of a prosecutor-member shall be considered early terminated if:

  1. he has lost citizenship of the Republic of Armenia;
  2. he has been removed from the position of a prosecutor;
  3. he has failed to attend the meetings of the Council two times consecutively without justification. The absence is considered unjustified if no sick-leave certificate has been submitted or the absence has not been agreed with the chairman of the Council.
  4. he has been convicted by a court verdict having entered into legal force;
  5. the age limit for service as a judge defined by the Constitution has expired;
  6. he has been recognized as incapable, missing or dead by a court verdict having entered into legal force.

Article 8. Authorities of a legal scholar member of the Council shall be considered early terminated if:

  1. he has lost citizenship of the Republic of Armenia;
  2. the requirements prescribed by Article 5 of this Law have been amended;
  3. he has failed to attend the meetings of the Council two times consecutively without justification. The absence is considered unjustified if no sick-leave certificate has been submitted or the absence has not been agreed with the chairman of the Council.
  4. he has been convicted by a court verdict having entered into legal force;
  5. he has been recognized as incapable, missing or dead by a court verdict having entered into legal force.

Article 9. In case of death of a member of the Council, expiration of the term of authorities, early termination of authorities or resignation from the membership of the Council upon his own request, the appointment of a new member of the Council shall be made according to the procedure defined by this Law within two months’ period.

Chapter 3.

Rights and Obligations of the Member of Council of Justice

Article 10. Each member of the Council shall have a right to one vote during the voting process.

Article 11. The judge-member of the Council shall not participate in the voting if:

  1. the Council has submitted a proposal to the President of the Republic on giving consent to terminating his authorities as a judge, putting him under detention, calling for administrative or criminal responsibility by the judicial procedure.;
  2. disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against him.

A prosecutor or legal scholar member of the Council shall not participate in voting from the moment of accusation brought against him.

Article 12. The member of the Council shall have the right:

  1. to familiarize himself with materials referring to the issues discussed at the meeting;
  2. to ask questions;
  3. to make proposals within the limits of his authorities;
  4. to receive clarifications from the reporter.

The member of the Council shall be obligated:

  1. to attend the meetings, except in cases prescribed by part eight of Article 20 of this Law;
  2. to fulfill the assignments given by the chairman or deputy chairmen of the Council;
  3. to keep irreproachable the honor and dignity of the Council member.

Chapter 4.

Authorities of the Council of Justice and the Procedure of their Performance

Article 13. The Council of Justice shall, upon the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, draft and submit for the approval of the President of the Republic the lists of official fitness and professional promotion of judges.

The lists of official fitness and professional promotion of judges shall be drafted according to the procedure defined by the Charter of the Ministry of Justice.

The lists of official fitness and professional promotion of judges shall be drafted, submitted to the President of the Republic in January of each year and shall be approved within one month’s period.

Upon the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, by the decision of the Council of Justice the lists of official fitness and professional promotion of judges may be amended and submitted for the approval of the President of the Republic without observance of the time period prescribed by part three of this Article.

The lists of official fitness shall include:

  1. court judges that correspond to the taken position by their professional, practical and moral characteristics;
  2. those persons over 25, having higher legal education, that have at least three years of professional experience as a lawyer and are competent to work as a judge.

The lists of professional promotion of judges shall include those persons included in the lists of official fitness that deserve promotion due to their professional, practical and moral characteristics.

Judges shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of Armenia on the basis of lists of official fitness and professional promotion.

Article 14. The Council of Justice, upon the recommendation of the Prosecutor General shall draw up and present the lists of the official fitness and the professional promotion of the prosecutors to the President of the Republic for approval.

The lists of the official fitness and the professional promotion of the prosecutors are drawn up, presented to the President of the Republic each year in January and are approved within a period of one month.

Upon the recommendation of the Prosecutor General, by the decision of the Council of Justice, the lists of the official fitness and the professional promotion of the prosecutors can be changed and presented to the President of the Republic for approval without observing the time period stipulated by the second part of this Article.

The lists of the official fitness and the professional promotion shall include:

  1. the prosecutors, who by professional, practical and moral characteristics comply with the occupied position;
  2. the citizens of the Republic of Armenia over 25 having a higher education in law, have at least three years professional experience of a lawyer and can perform authorities of a prosecutor.

The lists of the professional promotion of prosecutors shall involve persons included in the lists of official fitness who deserve a promotion by their professional, practical and moral characteristics.

The appointments of the prosecutors are made on the basis of the lists of the official fitness and the professional promotion approved by the President of the Republic.

Article 15. Any member of the Council can nominate candidacies for the chairmen and judges of the Court of Cassation and its chambers, chairmen of the Court of Appeals and the first instance courts to the Council.

If a candidacy of the judge or the chairman of the court is nominated for the position of another judge or the chairman of the same court or the same instance court, the fact that the candidate is included in the list of official fitness of judges is enough.

When nominating a candidacy the professional, practical and moral characteristics of the candidate shall be presented.

If the presentation of the candidate is incomplete, the chairman assigns the presentation of the candidacy to another member of the Council.

The candidacy approved by the Council is presented to the President of the Republic.

Article 16. Besides the candidacies stipulated in Article 15 of this Law, the Minister of Justice presents the candidacies of judges of other courts to the Council. The initial recording and the initial selection of the candidacies of judges are implemented according to the procedure stipulated by the Charter of the Ministry of Justice.

If the candidacy of the court judge is nominated for the position of a judge of the same court or the same instance court, the fact that the candidate is included in the list of official fitness of judges is enough.

The Minister presents one candidate for a vacant position, by describing the professional, practical and moral characteristics of the candidate.

If the Council does not approve the candidacy, the Minster presents a new candidacy.

The candidacy being approved by the Council shall be presented to the President of the Republic.

Article 17. The Prosecutor General shall present candidacies of the deputies of the Prosecutor General, prosecutors heading the structural divisions of the Prosecutor’s office to the Council of Justice.

If the candidacy of a prosecutor is nominated for the same position or for the position of the prosecutor of a similar structural subdivision of the Prosecutor’s office, the fact that the candidate is included in the list of official fitness of prosecutors is enough.

The Prosecutor General shall present one candidacy for each seat, by describing the professional, practical and moral characteristics of the candidate.

In case the Council does not approve the nominated candidacy, the Prosecutor General shall present a new candidacy.

The candidacy favoured with the approval of the Council is presented to the President of the Republic.

Article 18. The Council of Justice shall present recommendations to the President of the Republic to bestow qualification ranking on judges and prosecutors.

The qualification ranking of the judges and prosecutors are defined by law.

When bestowing qualification ranking the professional preparedness, occupied position and the length of service of the judges and the prosecutors shall be taken into consideration.

Any member of the Council can make recommendations on bestowing qualification ranking on a judge or a prosecutor from the lists of official fitness of the judges and prosecutors.

The Council considers the opinion of the Minister of Justice concerning the recommendation of bestowing qualification ranking on a judge.

The Council considers the opinion of the Prosecutor General concerning the recommendation of bestowing qualification ranking on a prosecutor.

Article 19. The Minister of Justice shall apply to the Council concerning the issue of early termination of the powers of a judge and the Prosecutor General shall apply to the Council concerning the issue of giving agreement to arresting a judge, calling a judge to administrative or criminal for responsibility according to a judicial procedure.

The grounds for early termination of the powers of a judge by the conclusion of the Council are the following:

  1. committing a gross violation of legality;
  2. committing an action incompatible with the title of a judge.

In cases stipulated in the first part of this Article, the Minister of Justice or the Prosecutor General shall submit to the Council the materials serving as a basis for a proposal to early terminate the powers of a judge, to arrest a judge, to call a judge to administrative or criminal responsibility.

No proposal can be made for the second time to early terminate the powers of a judge, to arrest a judge, to call a judge to administrative or criminal responsibility.

When considering an issue on early terminating the powers of a judge the Council shall invite and hear the judge.

In case the judge does not appear after the second call of the Council due to an unreasonable excuse, the Council has a right to consider the issue in his absence.

Article 20. In case of the presence of grounds defined by this Article the Council shall call the judge to disciplinary responsibility.

The right of initiating a disciplinary proceeding against a judge of the Court of Cassation is vested on the Chairman of the Court of Cassation.

The right of initiating a disciplinary proceeding against the judges of the Court of Appeals, the Economic Court and the first instance courts is vested on the Minister of Justice.

Before the establishment of the new court system disciplinary proceedings against the judges of the Supreme Court shall be initiated by the Chairman of the Supreme Court, and against the judges of the district (city) People’s Court the proceedings are initiated by the Minister of Justice.

The following are the grounds for the disciplinary responsibility of a judge:

  1. committing a violation of legality;
  2. having defects in judicial activities due to negligence;
  3. violating the working discipline;
  4. committing an action improper for a judge.

When calling a judge for disciplinary responsibility the Council of Justice can pronounce rebuke, reprimand, a severe reprimand.

In case, when considering the issue of calling a judge to disciplinary responsibility the Council of Justice does not consider it expedient to apply means of disciplinary penalty against him, the Council can discontinue the disciplinary proceeding and be satisfied by the consideration of the issue.

When considering the issue of calling a judge to disciplinary responsibility the sessions of the Council are presided by the Chairman of the Court of Cassation (before the establishment of the new court system the chairman of the Supreme Court). The President of the Republic, the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General are not participating in such sessions.

When considering the issue of calling a judge to disciplinary responsibility the Council of Justice shall invite the judge.

In case the judge does not appear after the second call of the Council due to an unreasonable excuse, the Council has a right to consider the issue in his absence.

Article 21. Upon the inquiry of the President of the Republic the Council of Justice shall express an opinion on the remission issues.

In connection with the remission issues, before the adoption of the conclusion, the Council shall hear the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General.

Article 22. The Council of Justice has a right to receive necessary information for the performance of its authorities defined by the Constitution from state bodies, NGOs, official persons and citizens, including materials, administrative, criminal, civil cases, references and other documents from the judicial, prosecution and investigating bodies.

Chapter 5.

Organization of the Activities of the Council of Justice, The Acts of the Council

Article 23. The sessions of the Council shall be called by the Chairman of the Council.

The sessions of the Council are presided by the Chairman of the Council or upon his assignment the Minister of Justice or the Prosecutor General.

If the Chairman of the Council is not present at the session of the Council, the Minister of Justice shall preside over the session when considering the issues related to the judges and the Prosecutor General shall preside when considering issues related to the prosecutors.

Article 24. The session of the Council shall be valid if more than half of the total number of the Council members are present.

Article 25. When implementing the authorities stipulated by Articles 13,14, 20 of this Law, the Council shall adopt decisions, and when implementing the authorities stipulated by Articles 15,16,17,18, 19, 21 conclusions.

Article 26. The decisions and the conclusions of the Council are adopted by majority of votes of the participants of the session.

The decisions of the Council can be revised only by the Council.

The conclusions of the Council are of a consulting nature.

If for being nominated for a position more than one candidates of a judge have received votes necessary for approval, the candidate having received more votes shall be considered to be nominated.