STATEMENT BY RUBEN MELIKYAN AND SIRANUSH SAHAKYAN ON VAHE GRIGORYAN’S LETTER09.07.2019
Letter from Siranush Sahakyan and Ruben Melikyan, co-founders of the “Path of Law” NGO, to the RA National Assembly, RA Government, RA General Assembly of Judges and the RA President.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
A few days ago, on June 28, the press published Vahe Grigoryan’s letter addressed to you, which presents certain arguments about the existing “crisis” in the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia, while offering options to overcome this “crisis”.
We would like to inform you that on July 4, the NGO “Path of Law” founded by us, organized a representative conference entitled “The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia: red and green lines”, where several speakers, as well as other participants during their speeches, addressed some of the theses presented in the above-mentioned letter by citizen Vahe Grigoryan. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply to you in the same letter format (you may also consider this letter to be a “note” or a “request”).
Before referring to the arguments of the content, we consider it necessary to clarify why we consider the text authored by Mr. Grigoryan a “citizen Vahe Grigoryan” letter, despite the fact that the text published in the press is signed by “Judge Vahe Grigoryan”.
The point is that the powers of a judge of the Constitutional Court are exhaustively limited by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Constitutional Court, and they do not directly or indirectly encompass submission of official letters or applications containing official legal theses or authorization of public letters by the state bodies and officials outside the scope of a specific case pending before the Constitutional Court. However, Article 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia undoubtedly states that “State and local self-government bodies and officials shall be authorized to perform only actions for which they are authorized by the Constitution or laws. In other words, when referring the letter mentioned above (when submitting the letter), Mr. Grigoryan did not act on behalf of the legal point of view and could not even do that using his official position of the RA Constitutional Court Judge. Thus, we believe that at the end of Mr. Grigoryan’s legal-political essay, the signature of “Judge Vahe Grigoryan” is either an edition made by the press or a clear emphasis of his status by citizen Vahe Grigoryan, just as the authors of this letter, citizen Ruben Melikyan and citizen Siranush Sahakyan considered it appropriate to sign it as “advocates” without expecting that the letter would be considered in the context of the rights of the lawyer provided by the RA Law “On Advocacy”.
At the same time, viewing Vahe Grigoryan’s letter as a letter of the judge and making it a subject of discussion in a manner different from that of a citizen’s letter would mean accepting ipso facto, that Judge Vahe Grigoryan went out of his official jurisdiction.
After presenting the important clarifications above, let’s take a look at some of the theses contained in the letter of citizen Vahe Grigoryan and their “logic”;
1. The problems related to the status of the Constitutional Court or its activities cannot be discussed or resolved with the bodies that have appeared, are and will continue to appear as representative of that court.
Moreover, it is the Constitutional Court that has determined, is and will continue determining the conformity of the normative legal acts adopted by that bodies with the Constitution, resolving disputes concerning their constitutional authorities. In their relations with the Constitutional Court, these bodies may have only a certain influence provided for by the Constitution and the laws solely in the formation of its composition. While, the functional activities of the Constitutional Court are unconditionally protected from any possible interference or encroachment of this, and any other subject.
When approaching the “logic” of citizen Vahe Grigoryan’s questions, for example, the issues regarding the status, jurisdiction and activity of civil or criminal courts and their judges should hereafter be discussed and resolved based on the result of the consensus by the defendants, victims, plaintiff, respondents, prosecutors, lawyers and consensus. Likewise, drivers should examine the traffic policemen about their knowledge of traffic rules, before being fined.
2. The use of different words in the legislation (a member of the court and a judge of the court) cannot itself lead to a primitive conclusion about the status difference.
Otherwise, one can also claim that the minister is not a member of the government, the real member of the academy is not an academic, and the member of the national football team is not a football player.
3. The change in the procedure of election of the official himself, including the changes in the nomination and the term of office, will not result in the transformation of that body which is “distinctly and substantially different” from the previous one.
Otherwise, it can equally well be argued that the present Court of Cassation is a different court from the previous one, so all the staff appointed during the old one must resign, and all investigators must terminate their powers because the investigative bodies and their main function were not previously constitutional; hence, they are all new and different types of investigative bodies.
Likewise, a change in the editorial nature of the oath cannot lead to ‘incompatibility’ of the activity. Otherwise, we can now claim that the new driving license is incompatible with the old car, the new garment with the old locker, and the new neighbor with the old relative.
4. The author of the discussed letter gives the Constitutional Court is the most biased and the most preconceived representative of the Constitutional Court. His choice, the processes preceding and following it, the approaches he say out loud clearly show his political motives, ambitions, and goals. The author of the letter, in his own words, is a prominent and expressive example of the future architect of a “court formed by party decisions and expediency», «under the dominance of one party”.
On the basis of the foregoing, we ask to discuss the content arguments presented in this letter in the same order, manner, and extent that you intend to discuss the dissertation of Vahe Grigoryan’s letter, if you intend to discuss it at all.
Siranush Sahakyan, Advocate
Ruben Melikyan, Advocate