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The RA Prosecutor’s Office Division of Public Relations, head of the Division – Arevik Khachatryan

08.09.2021 | The RA Prosecutor General's Office proposed amendments and supplements to the Constitutional Law on the "RA Electoral Code"

In the RA Prosecutor General’s Office, taking into account also the situations that occurred during the elections to the National Assembly (June 20, 2021), the legal mechanisms operating in the RA regarding overcoming the inviolability of status when initiating criminal prosecution against MPs were studied.

 

According to the constitutional law “Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia” (part 5 of Art. 90), in relation to a candidate for deputy, an elected deputy - before he/she assumes the powers of a deputy, criminal prosecution can be initiated only with the consent of the Central Election Commission. Without the consent of the Central Election Commission, he/she cannot be deprived of his/her liberty, except in the case when he/she is detained at the time of the commission of the crime or immediately thereafter.

 

The study indicates that, despite the fact that the condition of turning to the CEC in such situations and obtaining the consent of the latter was established, there is no regulation as to which body - the preliminary investigative body or the prosecutor should apply to obtain such consent, in what order and in what time frame should the CEC consider the submitted petition, who should participate in the consideration and what decision should be taken.

 

Such a reality may lead to a situation where a person is detained at the time of the commission of a crime or immediately after that and a petition is submitted to the CEC to initiate criminal prosecution and obtain consent to choose detention in custody as a preventive measure, but the commission will consider the petition a few days later.

 

In addition, a comparative analysis of the relevant articles of the constitutional law “RA Electoral Code” shows that the wording of a candidate for deputy and an elected deputy - before he/she assumes the powers of a deputy have different legal contents. Therefore, there is a need to clarify the circle of persons who enjoy legal guarantees, based on the principles of legal certainty.

 

Taking into account the abovementioned circumstances, the RA Prosecutor General's Office  elaborated and submitted to the RA Ministry of Justice a proposal on legislative amendments regarding amendments and supplements to the constitutional law “RA Electoral Code”. The bill provides for certain legal guarantees for a candidate included in the electoral list and for an elected deputy. In particular, the latter have the right to get acquainted with all documents and materials submitted to the CEC, ask questions, submit objections, give explanations and submit petitions.

 

In addition, it is also proposed to clarify that on the issue of giving consent to initiate criminal prosecution or imprisonment against a candidate included in the electoral list of a party, the prosecutor requests the CEC by submitting all the materials that serve as the basis for the request. Regarding the clarification of the terms for consideration of applications and making decisions, it was proposed to establish that the chairman of the CEC organizes the meeting, and a decision on the application can be made no later than the next day of receipt of the application.

 

It is worth mentioning that within the framework of the elections that took place on June 20, 2021, on criminal cases concerning various electoral crimes, the RA Prosecutor's Office submitted to the RA CEC petitions to initiate criminal prosecution against 8 people included in the lists of candidates and imprisonment of them, all of which were satisfied.