OSCE trains Armenian lawyers on preparing third party submissions

Third party submissions in constitutional and international human rights procedures, and the enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgments will be discussed at a two-day workshop organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan together with the Armenian Chamber of Advocates that started in Yerevan today.

The workshop aims to identify avenues for drafting joint submissions on specific human rights cases, including submissions on the execution of judgements of ECtHR, in co-operation with international human rights organizations.

The workshop brought together some 30 lawyers and human rights defenders from various regions of Armenia; it is run by two experts from the UK-based non-governmental organization Interights and several local experts. Workshop participants will review the experience of the execution and implementation of the ECtHR judgments, legal matters related to reopening of cases, ECtHR case law on moral damage and the validity of submissions to the Committee of Ministers.

The Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, underscored the role of advocates and human rights defenders in promoting human rights and rule of law in the country. “A workshop with such broad participation facilitates an open, informed and professional discussion, crucial for continued enhancement of the skills of legal practitioners and their effective involvement in domestic and international instances,” he said.

The workshop is a follow-up to the project launched by the Office last year on preparation of amicus curiae (‘friends of the court’) briefs by lawyers and human rights defenders which resulted in the preparation of seven written opinions to the Constitutional Court and two requests for leave for submission to the ECtHR.

Ruben Sahakyan, the Chair of the Chamber of Advocates, said: “Since 2010, we have been successful in submitting opinions on each and every application that the Constitutional Court has admitted into its procedure. With the support from the OSCE we are striving to build the capacity of the Chamber and its affiliated bodies in setting up a working mechanism of amicus curiae briefs which remains until now quite a unique experience for Armenia.”

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