October 19, 2021 - 11:47 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Venice Commission has confirmed that the Human Rights Defender of Armenia is an A-status Ombudsman.
The opinion on the legislation related to the Ombudsman's staff was prepared upon request of Human Rights Defender Armen Tatoyan, a spokesperson for the Council of Europe said. By letter dated 17 March 2021, Tatoyan requested an opinion of the Venice Commission on the Armenian legislation related to the independence of the Ombudsman’s staff vis à vis international standards on national human rights institutions. The package of the 2020 amendments was recalled by the government in April.
The Venice Commission concluded that the Human Rights Defender of Armenia is an A-status Ombudsman and National Human Rights Institution NHRI with long experience in the field of protection and promotion of human rights and other specific aspects of the mandate assigned to it by the Constitutional Law. This institution, as a key player in strengthening the rule of law, democracy and human rights, can play a key role in their development and consolidation in Armenia, the opinion said.
The Commission noted that the required independence of the Ombudsman institution is measured by the independence of its head, its staff, and its budget, both in terms of amount and of management. It recommended revising the Ombudsman's legislative framework in order to clarify and guarantee his or her full independence in staff policies, notably recruitment, career, job classification, job descriptions, etc. It also advised Armenia to ensure that the Ombudsman’s staff system and staff policies are based on clear criteria, linked to the specificities, functions and responsibilities of the institution. It should be avoided that staff-related issues subordinated to any other state body or agency, notably the executive power.
The Commission invited the legislators to take the opportunity of a possible revision of the constitutional Law on Human Rights Defender not only to implement the previous recommendations formulated in the 2006 and 2016 opinions of the Venice Commission which are still valid but also to fully implement all Venice Principles.