The government is finally amending the codes on civil procedure and penitentiaries. Armenia has been racking up a bill at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) because case after case goes up to the Court regarding the same issues, and the Court keeps finding against Armenia. It got to the point where the Court stopped analyzing the details of the new cases because they were substantially the same as previous ones, with the only question being how much Armenia needed to pay. Armenia currently owes an unpaid €42,550 from these cases.
Another big push for human rights comes from Parliament debating the alternative military service law that allows those with religious convictions to perform work service instead of military service. The change would help protect religious freedom, especially for the Armenian Jehovah Witness population who refuse to fight but are willing to serve the country in other ways. Armenia has already been fined €112,000 for violating these rights. Fortunately, there has been some progress in teaching students about these rights. Unfortunately, a Prosperous Armenia MP said that the bill shouldn’t be rushed through from pressure from the Council of Europe and that “a number of European countries are rife with related issues and that they should resolve them before forcing them on Armenia.” What the MP doesn’t realize is that 1) every country has human rights issues and every country should work to improve them regardless of “pressure” from the outside, 2) the ECHR can penalize Armenia with fines for not having these laws because Armenia gave the Court the power to do so.
Another great improvement is that Armenia is introducing the use of probation, which will lessen the loads on prisons and keep people free to settle their accounts and develop a stronger defense for their case. Unlawful detention is another issue where Armenia has had to pay thousands of euros for violating human rights.
It’s a simple idea. Armenia is bound to the ECHR as a member of the Council of Europe. Unless Armenia wants to keep paying fines, it needs to adapt its domestic codes to not violate human rights. How it does it (e.g. more western-style or eastern-style) doesn’t matter, as long as the final solution stops the government from infringing on the people’s rights.