22.07.2019 | The RA Prosecutor's Office puts into circulation a draft law strengthening the penalty for traffic crimes

Back in 2018, the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Armenia paid special attention to the alarming state of road accidents.


In 2016-2018, on the instructions of the RA Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan, the Department of Supervision over Legality of Pre-trial Criminal Proceedings of the General Prosecutor's Office reviewed and analyzed the dynamics of accidents in the reporting period, prosecutorial oversight of the lawfulness of the preliminary investigation in criminal cases under Article 242 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia, the main laws of the causes and conditions that give rise to such crimes, the effectiveness of preventive measures for road accidents and the effectiveness of the policy of punishment. In particular, if in 2016 there were 700 crimes, provided for by Article 242 of the Criminal Code, then in 2017 - 972 cases, and in 2018 - 1283 , that is, only in the context of 2017-2018 the number of accidents increased by 32% ". In the first six months of 2019, 685 such cases were registered in the Republic, which is 133 or 24.1 percent more compared to the same period of 2018. Compared with 2017, in 2018 the number of deaths increased by 25% or 44 cases. And for the first half of 2019, it was registered by 16% or 15 cases of more deaths compared with the same period of 2018(94-109). As a result of identifying the causes and conditions conducive to road traffic accidents, it became clear that most of them were caused by drunk driving, exceeding the prescribed maximum speed, as well as by the person driving the vehicle without a license. On April 15, 2018, the problem of accidents with the participation of the heads of territorial departments of the prosecutor’s office at a meeting of the prosecution board summarized the working meetings of the RA Prosecutor General’s Office in the regional prosecutor’s offices earlier this year, and the results of the work of the prosecutor’s office over the previous year were the subject of discussion preventive measures and increased criminal prosecution.


During this period, the Prosecutor General instructed to map the most risky road sections for traffic accidents and to  take measures to limit the speed of cars and increase driver vigilance.


Taking into account the traffic safety issue as well as the high level of public danger of such offenses, the task was to pay close attention to the immediate involvement of prosecutors in the planning of operative-intelligence and investigative emergency investigations of road accidents and to assist them in the effective organization of the evidence-proof process within their jurisdiction.


In addition to the above, for the purpose of solving the issues of improving efficiency, speeding up the examination of criminal cases in  in cases of road accidents and obtaining more complete results of the assigned examinations, at the initiative of the RA Prosecutor General, the National Bureau of Expertises has acquired a modern computer software, which provides an opportunity to analyze and model vehicle accidents and to provide more accurate conclusions within a shorter period of time by integrating complete source data.


The general rules of sentencing, the circumstances of the case and the identity of the accused in the consideration of judgments handed down on the basis of court decisions, draw attention to the establishment of proportionate penalties by the courts and monitor the strict execution of sentences after their appointment.


When discussing the grounds for choosing a preventive measure for defendants in criminal cases, it is important to consider the nature of the traffic offense, the circumstances of leaving the scene after an offense committed by drivers with alcohol consumption. Proceeding from the need to toughen the punishment for violating traffic rules and having studied international experience, the Prosecutor General's Office developed a draft of legislative changes aimed at tightening the sanctions provided for in Article 242. It  is submitted to the RA Ministry of Justice. Legislative changes stipulate that the scale and factors that pose a public danger, such as the state of alcoholic intoxication in the implementation of an accident, a two-time excess of the speed limit and driving a car by an unauthorized person, are considered as aggravating circumstances. The project proposes for the actions provided for in part 2 of Article 242, to establish terms of imprisonment for a term of three to five years. The latter is due to the fact that the absence in the existing legal regulation of the established limits of punishment leaves a wide scope for determining the sanction at the discretion of the courts and often setting the punishment to an act disproportionately dangerous for society.


The proposed amendments to the legislation will contribute to the implementation of a policy of proportionate punishment for crimes envisaged by Article 242, aimed at preventing accidents and protecting public order, people's life and health.