Armenian Parliament votes to adopt draft on Constitutional amendments at first reading

The Armenian National Assembly voted 89-0 to adopt draft on Constitutional amendments at first reading.

The bill proposes amendments to Article 213, which will terminate the liabilities of a member (judge) of the Constitutional Court who has served for a period of not less than 12 years in total.

Members (judges) that have been in office for less than 12 years will remain in office until the term expires.

Once the amendments to Article 213 of the Constitution come into force, the term of office of the President of the Constitutional Court will be terminated. The election of a new chairman of the Constitutional Court, who will be elected for a six-year term, will take place after the vacancies are filled.

It was earlier planned to hold a referendum on Constitutional amendments, but it was cancelled because of the state of emergency declared due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In its Opinion, the European Commission of Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) clarified the scope of the Constitutional Court’s review in the framework of the process of amending the Constitution and acknowledged the National Assembly’s power to revoke its own decision calling for a referendum.

Moreover, it recognized that the aim of implementing fully the provisions of the Constitution of 2015 concerning the composition of the Constitutional Court is legitimate.

 To reconcile this aim with the need to preserve the judges’ security of tenure and their independence, the Venice Commission recommended that judges who have not yet completed a term of office of 12 years should be able to stay in office until completion of this term, and  that judges who have already served a term of 12 years should be able to benefit, before being replaced, from a new transitional period whose length should be determined by the Armenian authorities.

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