Comparative law and justice/Armenia

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Mpotter14 22:19, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Armenian flag.


Armenia is a civil law country with a population of 2,967,004.[1] Armenia is a small country in the Middle East, slightly smaller than the state of Maryland, US, totaling 29,743 spuare km. Located in Southwest Asia, Armenia is a landlocked country just east of turkey. The climate is considered higland continental--hot summers and cold winters.[2] The country is covered with mountains, leaving very little forest land. The lowest point of elevation is at the Debed River, 400m. The highest point of elevation is at its highest mountain Arragats Lerrnagagat, 4,090m.[3]


Map of Armenia.
Geographic Coordinates:
40 00N, 45 00E[4]


The people of Armenia are made up of 97.9% Armenians, 1.3% Yezidi (Kurd), .5% Russian, and .3% of others. Also, the relgious groupd which make up the country are 94.7% Armenian Apostolic, 4% of other varieties of Christianity, and 1.3% Yezidi--Yezidi religion is a monotheist religion with elements of nature worshipping. The languages spoken within the country are 97.7% Armenian--the official language, 1% Yezidi, 0.9% Russian, and 0.4% of others.[5]

Age Structure:

-0-14 years: 18.2% (male 289,119/female 252,150)
-15-64 years: 71.1% (male 986,764/female 1,123,708)
-65 years and over: 10/6% (male 122,996/female 192,267)[6]


Brief History[edit]

Armenia was the first country to adopt the religion of Chritianity early in the 4th century. It has been under the countrol of several different empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. The eastern area of the country declared its independence from Russia in 1918 however, it was conquered once more by the Soviet Union in 1920. Armenia has been involved in an extended conflict with Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh (a primarily Armenian populated region). Nagorno-Karabakh was given to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920's by Moscow. The two countries began fighting over this region in 1988--the conflict worsened with the attainment of independence in both countries from the Soviet Union in 1991. As a result of the two countries not being able to establish a peaceful resolution Armenia's economy has been severely hurt. Consequently, Turkey closed its common border with Armenia in 1994 which added to the Armenia's economic struggle. However, in 2009 Armenian leaders decided to pursue rapprochment with Turkey which may lead the re-opening of the common border.[7]


Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit]

Economic Development[edit]

GDP(official exchange rate) $8.714 Billion
GDP per capita $5,500
Labor Force 1.481 million (2007)

[8]


Industries:

diamond processing metal cutting machine tools forging-pressing machines electric motors
tires knitting wear hosiery shoes
silk fabric chemicals trucks instruments
microelectronics jewlery manufacturing software development food processing

[9]


Armenia's exports contribute 714 million dollars (U.S. dollars). The countries main exporting commodities are pig iron, unwrought copper, nonferrous metals, diamonds, mineral products, foodstuffs, and energy. It's trade partners of exports consist of--in order of highest percentage of trade--Germany, Russia, the U.S., Bulgaria, Georgia, Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada. Armenia's imports total 2.72 billion dollars; its main importing commodities are natural gas, petroleum, tobacco products, foodstuffs, and diamonds. The countries main partners for imports consist of--also highest percent to lowest--Russia, China, Ukraine, Turkey, Germany, and Iran.[10]


Health[edit]

Infant Mortality Rate:

Total 20.21 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 24.97 deaths/1,000 live births
Female 14.77 deaths/1,000 live births

[11]


Life Expectancy at Birth:

Total population 72.68 yrs
Male 69.06 yrs
Female 76.81 yrs

[12]


Education[edit]

In Armenia children are expected to attend school, the expectancy life for school is 11 years for the males and 12 years for the females. The literacy rate within the country is 99.7% for males and 99.2% for females.[13]


Governance[edit]

Armenia is a democratic country, who's state power is administered by their Constitution and laws based on the principle of seperation of its three powers of government. The government of Armenia consists of a president as well as three powers of government; executive, legislative, and judicial. In addition, the country is seperated into eleven different sections/regions calleds marzes, including their capital Yerevan which is considered its own marz. Each marz has its own govenor--who are appointed and dismissed by government decrees, such governement decrees can be ratified by the President. Each govenor implements regional policy in the following areas--finance, urban development, housing and utilities, transport and road construction, agriculture and land use, education, health care, social security, culture and sports, nature and environmental protection, commerce, public catering, and services. The marz's govenor coordinates with the executive authorities in the areas of--international affairs and national security, defense, communication, energy, taxes, emergency situations, civil defense, and others.[14] Armenia's state government is seperated into three powers with a president not considered part of either. The President is the head of state, responsible for ensuring adherense to the constitution, and guarunteeing soverignity, and territiorial integration and security. The President is elected by the citizens of Armenia for a five year term.[15] The Executive Power consists of a Prime Minister who is nominated by parlimentary majority and appointed by the president; as well as ministries of-- Territorial Administration (also the Vice Prime Minister), culture, the Diaspora, education and science, energy and natural resources, foriegn affairs, justice, nature protection, transport and communication, agriculture, defense, economy, emergency situations, finance, healthcare, labor and social affairs, sport and youth affairs, and urban development. The President appoints and discharges members of the ministries on the Prime Minister's proposal.[16] The Legislative Power is made up of a single chambered National Assembly, which is made up of one hundred thirty one deputies; seventy five of these deputies are represented proportionally, fifty six are represented in majority. Citizens elect the deputies from their region for five year terms.[17] The Judicial Power, is made up of the first instance court of general jurisdiction, coutrs of appeal, the court of Cassation, which ensures uniformity in the implementation of the law, as well the Constitutional court which administers constitutional justice. The Constitution and the law define the procedure for the formation and the activites of the judicial power.[18]


Office Holding Qualifications[edit]

Presidential Qualifications: atleast thirty five years old, a citizen preceding ten years, a permenant resident preceding ten years, and the person running must still have their right to vote, if their right to vote has been revoked they are not eligable to hold office[19]

National Assembly Qualifications: atleast twenty five years in age, residency preceding five years, must also have their right to vote[20]


Law Making Process[edit]

The law making process in Armenia is explained in their constitution, articles 111 and 112-


Article 111[edit]

  • The Constitution shall be adopted or amended by referendum, which may be initiated by the President of the Republic or the National Assembly.[21]
  • The President of the Republic shall call a referendum upon the request or agreement of the National Assembly. For such a decision of the National Assembly is required the majority votes of the total number of the Deputies.[22]
  • The President of the Republic may remand the Draft Constitution or the draft of constitutional amendments, within twenty one days following their submission back to the National Assembly, with his or her objections and suggestions, requesting a reexamination.[23]
  • The President of the Republic will submit to a referendum within the period prescribed by the National Assembly a draft Constitution or draft constitutional amendments, when they are reintroduced by at least two thirds of the total number of Deputies of the National Assembly.[24]
  • If the initiative belongs to the President of the Republic, the National Assembly shall within a three-month period following the receipt of the draft of the Constitution or amendments thereof put the motion on holding a referendum on the draft to the vote. If the majority of the total number of the deputies of the National Assembly vote for the draft, the latter shall be deemed adopted and the President of the Republic shall submit the draft to a referendum on the date set up by himself/herself.[25]


Article 112[edit]

  • Laws may be submitted to a referendum upon the request of the National Assembly or the Government in accordance with Article 111 of the Constitution.[26]
  • Laws passed by referendum may only be amended by referendum.[27]


Elections[edit]

Elections in Armenia are conducted as a Secret Ballot system where privacy in voting is both a right and responsibility of the voter, voting by proxy is prohibited. Voting in Armenia is only permitted in it's territory.[28] To be eligible to vote, one must be an eighteen year old citizen, voting is not required, it is voluntary.[29]


Judicial Review[edit]

Judicial Review is the job of Armenia's Constitutional Court, which plays a role like the United States' Surpeme Court; they are responsible for administering constitutional justice.[30]


Courts and Criminal Law[edit]

First Instance Courts of General Jurisdiction- Jurisdiction over civil, criminal, military, and administrative cases, detentions, search warrants, and privacy of communication [31]

Courts of Appeal (two seperate)- first: Court of civil appeals, second: Court of criminal and military appeals[32]

Court of Cassation- highest judicial instance in RA (besides the Council of Justice), provides the universal application of law and correct interpretations of law[33]

The Council of Justice- an independent body made up of nine judges, elected by the General Assembly of judges for a term of five years. The Council of Justice has several jobs including, forming and submitting a list of candidates for new judges and lists of promotions for judges, proposes candidates for chairmen and judges for the Court of Cassation, Courts of Appeal, Fisrt Intance, and other specialized coutrs (ex. economic court), by request from the president the Council of Justice expresses opinions on the issue of pardon, and it imposes disiplinary liability on judges.[34]


Punishment[edit]

In Armenia, corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime[35] According the armenian criminal code, "The persons who committed a crime are equal before the law and are subject to criminal liability regardless of sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, ethnic minority identity, birth, property, or other statuses."[36] In addition the countries criminal code also states that they do not descriminate against criminals based on sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, ethinic minority identity, birth, property, or any other status. Punishments within the country are sentence with consideration of the accused as well as the accused crime, "the punishment and other legal and penal measures applied to the person who committed an offence must be fair, appropriate to the gravity of the crime, to the circumstances in which it was committed, to the personality of the criminal; they must be necessary and sufficient to correct the criminal and to prevent new offences."[37] Article 19 in the countries criminal code explains the different types of crimes as well as how they are punishable. The article states that the degree of crimes are categorized as not very grave, medium gravity, grave, and particularly grave. Not very grave crimes are considered those which require a maximum of 2 years of prison, or for a crime in which the punishment doesn't require imprisonment, or lastly a crime "committed through negligence," in which the punishment would not be more than 3 years of imprisonment. Medium gravity crimes are classified as crimes which don't consist of a punishment more than 5 years of imprisonment, and crimes committed through neglagence with a punishment no more than 10 years of imprisonment. Grave crimes are crimes in which the punishment does not exceed more than 10 years of imprisonment. Lastly particularly grave crimes are those in which the punishment is more than 10 years or life of imprisonment.[38] Article 49 in Armenia's criminal code states the types of punishment which they practice, including fines, public worsk, deprivation of special titles such as military ranks, confiscation of property, correctional labor, arrest, service in a disciplinary battalion, and imprisonment. Article 86 explains the type of punishments for minors including, fines, public work, arrest, and imprisonment.[39]

According to article 104 of the countries criminal code, "murder is illegal willful deprivation of one’s life punished with imprisonment for 6 to 12 years."[40] According to article 138, "Rape, sexual intercourse of a man with a woman against her will, using violence against the latter or some other person, with threat thereof, or taking advantage of the woman’s helpless situation, is punished with imprisonment for the term of 3 to 6 years."[41]


Law Enforcement[edit]

Republic of Armenia Police (RA Police)

According to the types of police structures from Reichel's Comparative Criminal Justice Systems on page 194, the Armenian police structure would be considered single centralized, they have one national police force which is responsible for enforcing one set of laws throughout the country [42]. The RA Police are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior, meaning their law enforcement and military powers are linked. The commander of the Interior troops is also named the ex-officio deputy chief of police.[43]. The RA Police is made up of a central headquarters with one Chief of Police, one first deputy, and several deputies; all of which are appointed by the President. There are eleven Police Departments throughout the country, one for each of its marzes as well as one in its capital Yerevan, along with fifty two precincs, and several specialized diectories. The rankings of police officers in Armenia begins at the lowest rank with soldiers, followed by police soldiers, junior officer personnel, police middle/secondary officer personnel, senior officer personnel, and finally supreme officer personnel. The qualifications for RA Police is to graduate from a five year training program at The Police Academy [44].


Corruption[edit]

There is very little information for Armenia and their level of corruption, however in 1999 the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index ranked Armenia at a 2.1 on a 10 point scale (0=very corrupted, 10=no corruption) also ranking the country 76th out of 99, inferring that there is a high level of corruption in the country.[45]

Public Opinion--

"Most Armenians are still sceptical about the government's commitment to fight corruption. Only 22% of respondents of the phone survey conducted by CRD/TI Armenia in February 2004 believed that the adoption of a government anti-corruption strategy demonstrated political will to combat corruption."[46]


Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit]

It must be noted, that the crime rates in foreign countries are difficult to track for many reasons. Culturally, values on violence and crime range from culture to culture as well as throughout religions. There are also economic difficulties to take into consideration when trying to track crime; economic inequality, labor market conditions, and education levels can have a large impact on crime rates. In addition to culturally and economically, a cultures structural factors must also be considered when tracking crime. A countries laws on violence and punishment, along with government corruption will definitely have an effect on its crime rates. These along with measurement errors such as a societies ability to organize data, or even a societies definition of crime, must be considered when tracking and comparing a countries crime rates.[47]

According to the OSAC 2010 Armenia Crime and Safety Report, crime in Armenia is pretty much average compared to the amount of crime that one wold find in a large American city. However, in 2009 there was a recorded 71.3% increase in crime in Armenia, which may be the result of an increase in reporting of crime. The most common crimes reported to the American Embassy in 2009 were relatively minor, including pick-pocketing, vehicle break-ins, purse snatchings, and cell phone theft.[48] In 1994, the homicide rate was 5.4 per 100,000, compared to 2.8 for assaults, 0.6 for rapes, and 2.9 for robberies. The rate of theft was 47.9 per 100,000. Drug trafficking is increasing significantly in Armenia. Armenia is an illicit cultivator of marijuana, mostly for domestic consumption however, it is increasingly used as a transshipment point for illicit drugs, more specifically opium and hashish; to Western Europe and the US via Iran, Central Asia, and Russia.[49] In 2008 the homicide rate in Armenia was only 2.5 which is significantly better than it was in 1994. The source of this data is the Armenian Police, and the United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS).[50]

Rights[edit]

Family Law[edit]

Marriage/Divorce[edit]

Armenian women have a fairly high degree of equality within the family. Family law states that the for marriage for women is seventeen while for men it is 18. However, in select cases the marriage age can be lowered to sixteen for both men and women.[51] "A Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2005 showed that 17 per cent of women aged 18 were married, divorced or widowed. In a 2004 United Nations report, this figure was reported to be 9 per cent for girls between 15 and 19 years of age."[52] Marriage must be consented by both parties, and recorded with a registration. "Registration is automatic in the case of civil weddings, but many couples marry in the church without registering."[53]


The marriage law states equality between both spouses in all areas of family, which includes parental authority. The law states two different procedures for parental authority in divorce. If tehre are any children and they are of the age of majority and there is no dispute over property, couples can divorce by mutual consent. If this is not the case, the case is brought before the court. The court awards custody acorrding to the child's best interest. According to cultural traditions, the courts often apply a period of reconciliation. "The Family Code states that assets belonging to the divorcing parties should be divided equally. In many cases, the regulation is not applied, either because the marriage was not recorded by a registrar or because the woman signed a prenuptial agreement forfeiting her right to the application of the law. It should be noted that Armenian tradition is generally hostile to divorce. As a result, many women remain married even though they may be subjected to conflict or domestic violence."[54]


Inheritance[edit]

Women also have equal inheritance rights as men however, it is much more difficult for them to record property titles for their inherited land.[55]


Human Rights[edit]

The constitution of the Republic of Armenia's articles 40-47 express the fundamental civil and human rights that are protected in the country. Article 40 state that every citizen in the country has the right to freedom of literacy, aesthetic, science and technology creation, use scientific advancement, and participate in society. Article 41 states that every citizen "shall have the right to preserve his or her national and ethnic identity," minorites have the right to "preservation and development of their traditions, religion, language and culture."[56] Article 42 articulates that the rights and freedoms expressed in the constitution will not exclude rights and freedoms prescribed by law. Also, "everyone shall have the right to act in a way not prohibited by the law and not violating others’ rights and freedoms. No one shall bear obligations not stipulated by the law... The laws and other legal acts exacerbating the legal status of an individual shall not be retroactive. The legal acts improving the legal status of an individual, eliminating or mitigating his/her liability shall be retroactive if prescribed by the acts in question.[57] Article 42.1 says, "the fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms shall apply to legal persons to the extent these fundamental rights and freedoms are applicable to them." Article 43 states, "the fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms set forth in Articles 23-25, 27, 28-30, 30.1, Part 3 of Article 32 may be temporarily restricted only by the law if it is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public order, crime prevention, protection of public health and morality, constitutional rights and freedoms, as well as honor and reputation of others...Limitations on fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms may not exceed the scope defined by the international commitments assumed by the Republic of Armenia. Article 44, "special categories of fundamental human and civil rights, except for those stipulated in Articles 15, 17-22 and 42 of the Constitution may be temporarily restricted as prescribed by the law in case of martial law or state of emergency within the scope of the assumed international commitments on deviating from commitments in cases of emergency." Article 45, "everyone shall be obliged to pay taxes, duties and other compulsory fees in conformity with the procedure prescribed by the law." Article 46, "every citizen shall be obliged to take part in the defense of the Republic of Armenia in conformity with the procedure prescribed by the law." Article 47, "Everyone shall be obliged to honor the Constitutions and laws, to respect the rights, freedoms and dignity of others...The exercise of the rights and freedoms with the purpose of overthrow of the constitutional order, incitement to national, racial and religious hatred, propaganda of violence or warfare shall be prohibited."[58]

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