Law 15:58 26/12/2022 Armenia

Open letter to USAID: Judge Anna Pilosyan has carried out her duties ‘heroically’

Human and civil rights advocate, criminal defense attorney Garo Ghazarian has addressed an open letter to the USAID Armenia chief concerning judge Anna Pilosyan. The full letter follows:

"OPEN LETTER

Mr. John Allelo

Mission Director, USAID Armenia

Dear Mr. Allelo,

Congratulations on your December 15th launching of a new five-year project supporting the Government of Armenia to establish a fair and equitable justice system, and to increase public trust in the rule of law, funded by USAID and implemented by Development Professionals, Inc.

At the launch event, you stated that “USAID’s Justice Sector Support Project stands ready to help Armenia resolve issues that plague the judiciary, such as an inefficient case management system, a growing backlog of cases, and a lack of transparency over court rulings.”

Reportedly, the project’s activities are to advance the functional independence and effectiveness of the judicial branch, strengthening of the capacity of the courts, the relevant self-regulatory agencies, and educational institutions, as well as by facilitating multi-stakeholder oversight of the implementation of justice sector reforms.

With this writing, I bring to your attention, to include in your ongoing discussions regarding the current challenges facing the judicial system and opportunities for strengthening the justice sector in Armenia, a matter ripe for consideration: the case study of a Judge in Armenia, Anna  Pilosyan who this past week was before the country’s Supreme Judicial Council, responding to charges brought by the Justice Ministry, of “not timely issuing rulings” in merely 4 (0.1%) of the more than 5,000 cases on her docket.

Here are the two sessions of the SJC:

1/ https://youtu.be/ccXW7XSJcZE
2/ https://youtu.be/uMPWbsN2__k

During one of my 3 visits to Armenia in the last 6 months, I visited a courtroom in Yerevan where, presiding in one of the courtrooms was Judge Anna Pilosyan. I’ve known Judge Pilosyan for seven (7) years. She is one of several judges in Armenia whose careers I have followed, and whose courtrooms I have visited over the years, to observe proceedings underway, in an effort to observe courtroom proceedings, and to bring my findings and suggestions for improvement of the Judicial System of Armenia to among others, the country’s Ministry of Justice.

For over a decade now, during just about each visit to Armenia, I have met and shared my observations and concerns about Armenia’s Judicial System generally, and about its Judiciary particularly, to multiple Justice Ministers and multiple Human Rights Defenders, including Mr. Karen Andreasyan, the current Chair of the Supreme Judicial Council of Armenia (SJC), when the latter was serving as Ombudsman of the Republic.

Further, following judicial proceedings with an eye to identify shortcomings as well as improvements, are undertaken by me in person — when in Yerevan, and from afar — when away from Armenia.

I confess, I thought I’d seen all anyone needed to realize the urgent need for judicial reform; and, though I had opted to bite my tongue for the last two years, post 2020 war unleashed onto Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), witnessing of the hearings this past week held by the SJC made me realize that my previous concerns about Armenia’s Judicial System pale in comparison to my utter shock at the dysfunctional state which the Judicial Branch of Armenia is in these days.

My latest observations concern a session of Armenia’s SJC which had come at the request of the Justice Ministry. It was to hold accountable and to mete out discipline to judge Anna Pilosyan for her “failure” to tender an opinion on four (4) matters in a “timely fashion.” So far so good. Except, as I watched these proceedings, it soon became clear to me, that while Judge Pilosyan was being chastised for the delays, several critical factors appeared to be overlooked by both the Ministry of Justice as well as the SJC.

Chief among those factors was the fact that Judge Pilosyan was saddled with over 5,000 cases, and she was being called to account for delaying the issuance of her rulings in just four (4) matters. Simple arithmetic yields a 99.9% performance when measuring the four (4) delayed opinions against the more than 5,000 matters which all sides seemed to agree were on the Judge’s plate. It is this backdrop which begs the question: does it not appear, by all accounts, that Judge Pilosyan has carried out her duties heroically, and as a true “Lady of Justice?”

The answer to that question is what compels me to write to you about the imperative of infusing logic, common sense, and anything resembling justice in today’s Armenia. Why? Because, on any given calendar year, there are 2,000 working hours (50 working weeks at 40 hours per week, with 2 weeks vacation). That is just 24 minutes per case. And exactly what kind of justice can be reached in just 24 minutes?

I have been an active member of the U.S. justice system for 38 years and a lawyer for more than 31 of those years. My service as Dean of a Law School and a Law Professor spans a period of 22 years. I have lectured extensively at law enforcement academies in the U.S. and have served for years as a member of more than one Judicial Evaluation Committee in the State of California. And in all of these years, I have yet to come across a case that can or has competently been decided in only 24 minutes.

Justice is not just meant to be speedy in a vacuum. Justice, true justice, is one which is deliberate, methodical, thoughtful and considerate. Justice is reached only after careful consideration of all the facts and relevant legal principles. And, though it is said that “justice delayed is justice denied,” what is neither often enough said, nor it is often understood, really understood and adhered to, is this: “justice rushed, is a recipe for injustice.”

Thus, I call on the USAID, in its efforts to bring about reform to Armenia’s System of Justice, to see to it that the Judiciary is revamped, its ranks are multiplied at all levels — from its courts of general jurisdiction to its courts of appeal, and on to the country’s highest court. But for the immediate future, the USAID ought to take a close look also at Armenia’s SJC. It is poised to render its ruling on the matter of Judge Anna Pilosyan on this upcoming Monday, December 26th, at 5:45pm. Do take a close look and determine whether the system’s shortcomings are accounted for, and whether institutions are held as accountable as those who try their level best to function within it. Take a close look to see whether it is sound to hold an individual judge accountable for a dysfunctional system, or Armenia’s version of fairness and due process is bringing to life the notion of “justice rushed is a recipe for injustice” in Judge Pilosyan’s case.

Justice in Armenia can only be achieved by reforming the judicial system, not by hauling to the gallows judges like Anna Pilosyan who are saddled by an outrageous amount of matters to rule upon and expected to do so wholesale, 24 minutes per matter. The people of Armenia would be best served by hiring of, and by training of, more and more judges. Until then, everyone involved ought to be grateful for the the likes of Judge Pilosyan, for they are the ones who clearly are burning the midnight oil and producing rulings on 99.9% of the more than 5,000 cases assigned to them.

To be clear, if there is an instance that is a timely indicator of what is — and what is not — necessary to be addressed by USAID this is it.  So do keep a close eye on the SJC’s upcoming ruling on the matter of Judge Pilosyan to determine whether substantive and procedural due process are at play, and whether fairness and common sense are evident. Do keep an eye on the matter to ensure that these principles and values are alive and well in Armenia.

After all, the USAID has invested millions of American taxpayers’ money in Judiciary reform in Armenia. Keeping a close eye on the plight of Judge Anna Pilosyan is a good place to see if the U.S. taxpayers’ money is producing dividends in Armenia, lest it turns out that, despite best efforts by the USAID, the Judicial System in Armenia is not only not changing for the better, it is getting worse."



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

17:07
Armenian culture ministry debunks Azerbaijan's lies
The Armenian Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports (MoESCS) has officially denied Azerbaijan’s false reports about attempts...
16:30
Harry and Meghan reportedly contacted Kate Middleton to make peace
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had reached out to Kate Middleton before her defiant return to the spotlight at last week’s Trooping the...
16:14
Armenian government approves €15 million EU aid for Artsakh refugees
The Armenian government on Thursday approved an agreement on €15 million assistance from the European Union to respond to the needs of...
15:36
Armenia drop one spot in FIFA rankings
FIFA has today published the updated list of national teams' rankings. Armenia's national team has lost one spot to be placed 96th in...
15:23
Opposition MP: Armenian Foreign Ministry statement causes concern
Opposition MP Tigran Abrahamyan has expressed concern over the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s response to Baku’s strong criticism of...
14:36
Raya Nazaryan elected Bulgarian parliament speaker
UDF MP Raya Nazaryan was elected Bulgaria's National Assembly Chair on Thursday. She received 131 votes in favour, 66 MPs voted against, and...
14:08
Russia plans to open consulate general in Armenia's Kapan
Moscow expects to open a Russian consulate general in the Armenian city of Kapan shortly, State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny...
13:47
'Diplomatic failure': Expert reacts to Pashinyan-Erdogan phone call
Professor Ruben Melkonyan, dean of the YSU Faculty of Oriental Studies, has called the latest phone call between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol...
13:03
Yerevan Conservatory head replaced
Tsovinar Movsisyan was installed as caretaker rector of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory on 13 June pending the election of a new head,...
12:34
Iran condemns Canada's listing of IRGC as terror group
Tehran condemns Canada’s listing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization as “an unwise and...
12:15
Russia reacts to Armenia's decision to skip CSTO meeting
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin noted that Russia expects Yerevan to understand that the Collective Security Treaty Organization...
12:04
Ombudsperson: Protection of displaced Karabakh Armenians' rights crucial
In a message on World Refugee Day marked on June 20, Armenian Human Rights Defender Anahit Manasyan called attention to the forced displacement...
11:30
Armenian church marks Feast of the Holy Translators
The Armenian Apostolic Church on Thursday marks the Feast of the Holy Translators St. Sahak and St. Mesrop, Qahana.am reports. Catholicos...
11:15
West's agenda in South Caucasus doesn't always meet interests of regional states, Russia says
Agenda of the West in the South Caucasus region does not always meet the interests of regional nations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail...
11:00
Ecuador hit by nationwide blackout
A nationwide electricity outage struck Ecuador on Wednesday, leaving the nation of some 18 million in the dark, including the capital's...
17:02
Archbishop says Armenian church not involved in protest movement
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of the Tavush for the Homeland protest movement, rejects the Armenian leaders’ claims that the...
16:30
Russia says France provoking another escalation in South Caucasus
France is provoking another bout of escalation in the South Caucasus with its sale of Caesar howitzers to Armenia, TASS quoted Russian...
16:06
Lawyer: Reporter Abraham Gasparyan brutally beaten by 20 police officers
Lawyer Arsen Babayan denounced the “unprecedented” police violence against protesters demanding Prime Minister Nikol...
15:36
Protest movement in Armenia to continue with new momentum, leader says
The protest movement aimed at ousting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government will continue in Armenia with new momentum, says its...
14:53
Armenian defense minister meets with Macron's military adviser
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan on Wednesday held a meeting with General Fabien Mandon, French President Emmanuel Macron's...
14:31
Amendments to SFOPS bill call for increased funding for Armenia
Armenian Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) has offered a bipartisan amendment with Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) to the FY25...
14:04
Tatoyan Foundation releases report on police violence against protesters in Yerevan
The Tatoyan Foundation has released a special report on the police violence against protesters outside the Armenian parliament on June 12....
13:36
Foreign Ministry: Baku's reaction to Armenia-France military cooperation causes confusion
Azerbaijan's reaction to  the Armenia-France military-technical cooperation by official Baku causes confusion, the Armenian...
13:10
Opposition MP: Armenian government conceded strategic advantage in Syunik
Opposition MP Tigran Abrahamyan has reacted to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s latest trip to Syunik Province, highlighting that he...
12:36
Albania charged by UEFA over fan trouble during Euro 2024 Italy clash
The Albanian FA has been charged by European football's governing body for fan troubles during their Euro 2024 match against Italy on...
12:20
Archbishop Bagrat unveils next steps of protest movement
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan unveiled the next steps of the Tavush for the Homeland protest movement led by him at a news conference on...
11:55
At least 550 hajj pilgrims die in Mecca amid extreme heat
At least 550 pilgrims have died during the hajj, underscoring the gruelling nature of the pilgrimage which again unfolded in scorching...
11:45
The regime that rules Armenia has crossed all red lines: must be disposed of ASAP
By Harut Sassounian www.thecaliforniacourier.com I am deeply disappointed and saddened by the events that took place in Armenia last...
11:35
Catholicos Aram I seeks Iran's support for release of Armenian prisoners in Azerbaijan
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I on Tuesday received Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Moujtaba Amani, accompanied by embassy political officials....
11:24
EU brings relief to victims of floods in Armenia
Following the flash floods in Armenia’s Lori and Tavush regions in May, the European Union is providing €100 000 in humanitarian...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}