Ruben Melikyan met with a group of Artsakh lawyersOn April 9, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh with the attorneys of theArtsakh Republic Chamber of Advocates and School of Advocates.
Both R.Melikyan and the Chairwoman of the Artsakh Republic Chamber of Advocates O.Altunyan highlighted the use of the joint potential of the Institute of Advocacy and the Ombudsman’s institution in guaranteeing human rights. The Ombudsman briefly presented the main records of the 2017 Human Rights Ombudsman’s Annual Report and expressed his willingness to closely cooperate with the Artsakh advocates community in the areas of identification of human rights issues, elaboration of proposals for their solution, as well as developing of advocacy capacities and professional experience exchange.
The advocates set forth a number of questions to the Human Rights Ombudsman which were mainly of legislative and law enforcement issues in the areas of protection of the client’s legitimate interests in pre-trial andjudicial phases, as well as effective legal assistance in places of detention. Within his competence, R.Melikyan committed to investigating the presented issues, international experience in overcoming them and together with the advocates’ community to elaborate and debate the suggestions for resolving the issues.
At the end of the meeting, the sides agreed to keep on the regular contacts.
he Human Rights Ombudsman published 2017 Annual ReportOn March 31, 2018, under Paragraph 1 of Article 30 of the AR Law on Human Rights, the AR Ombudsman’s institution published the 2017 Annual Report on the activities, as well as the situation of human rights and freedoms protection in Artsakh.
The document provides information on the overall situation of human rights and freedoms protection in Artsakh, human rights violations in separate areas, recorded problems and possible solutions, as well as recommendations aimed at raising the level of human rights guarantee.
In 2017, the Ombudsman’s staff received 119 applications from 150 persons, of which 55 were written and 64 were oral. The quantitative difference between the applicants and applications is conditioned by collective applications.
In 2017, the activities of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution of the Republic of Artsakh continued to be aimed at guaranteeing human rights and freedoms in Artsakh, implementing preventive measures, raising awareness on human rights in the public, civil society structures in Artsakh, AR public authorities, as well as establishing and strengthening cooperation with the Republic of Armenia, Diaspora and international partners.
Through the report, the Ombudsman has drawn the attention of the competent bodies to certain issues existing in the AR Law and law enforcement practice (right to fair trial, property right, right to personal liberty and others)making relevant recommendations on regulating the issues set forth, inter alia, basing on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.
The Ombudsman’s institution is willing to actively cooperate with both the AR state authorities and civil society structures for the purpose of resolving the recorded and any other common issues.
Throughout 2017, the Ombudsman went on active cooperation with the Armenian Republic Ombudsman, a number of structures from Diaspora, and international partners. From this perspective, the Ombudsman’s international visits and meetings in USA, Belgium France, Austria, Hungary and Romania are remarkable, during which R.Melikyan has taken active steps to establish international relations and strengthen the existing ties, raise issues related to rights of Artsakh’s citizens and in the direction of publicizing and internationalizing the reports of the Artsakh Republic Ombudsman on the atrocities committed by Azerbaijan in April, 2016.
The Ombudsman appointed Gerard Guerguerian as advisor
On March 29, 2018, on a decree by AR Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan, Gerard Guerguerian has been appointed as adviser to the AR Ombudsman.Let’s remind that the AR Law on Human Rights Ombudsman enacted on February 1, 2018, along with other content and structural changes, allows the Ombudsman to have up to 5 advisers on a pro bono and voluntary basis.
Below is Gerard Guerguerian’s biography:
Gerard Guerguerian was born in 1953 in Lebanon. He lives in France since 1970.
He is graduated in political sciences from the Institute of Political Sciences of Paris, and in International Law from the University of Panthéon Assas in Paris. He also holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Paris.
Mr. Guerguerian has practiced international and corporate transactional Law. He has also for many years negotiated and structured a significant number of US and European acquisitions and Joint ventures. He has served during his career as Executive Director and Executive Senior Vice President of major multinational European and US based corporations.
Gerard Guerguerian has written and lectured on International Law topics. Besides publishing numerous articles, he is the author of 2 French books on the Armenian-Turkish relations and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including “Nagorny Karabakh, between Secession and Self Determination.” Being member of the Paris Bar, he has dedicated his expertise to the Armenian issues from the International Law perspective.
Since 2015, Mr. Guerguerian has initiated and implemented different projects in Artsakh aimed at capacity building of the youth.
AR Human Rights Ombudsman required detailed clarifications from the AR Police on Asya Khachatryan’s caseWithin the scope of the discussion commenced on his own initiative, AR Ombudsman, based on Asya Khachatryan’s interview published on March 26 by express.am information agency, made a request to the Police of the Republic of Artsakh demanding explanations on Asya Khachatryan’s claims.
Guided by paragraph 1 of Article 9 and points 2 and 3 of paragraph 1 of Article 24 of the AR Law on Human Rights Ombudsman, the Ombudsman requested the AR Police to present clarifications on the following:
1. Asya Khachatryan’s allegations concerning the incident between the latter and police officers at “Victory Square” in Stepanakert at midnight on February 1, in particular, whether the police officers represented themselves in response to the citizen’s request (see 0:11-1:34 video snatch),
2. Asya Khachatryan’s allegations concerning the incident between the latter and police officers in the evening of February 2 in Stepanakert (the citizen did not specify the address of the mentioned building), in particular, whether the police officers represented themselves in response to the citizen’s request (1:35-2:35), 3. Asya Khachatryan’s allegations on being taken by the police officers to Stepanakert Police Departmentand the treatment towards her there (2:36-6:56), in particular:
3.1. On what basis was Asya Khachatryan taken to Police Department (2:36-2:38)?
3.2. Was a relevant entry made in the register (3:01-3:24)?
3.3. Was Asya Khachatryan introduced to her rights?
3.4. Was the police officer (according to the citizen’s words, “the investigator”) who allegedly talked to the citizen presented himself in response to the latter’s request (3:43-3:46)?
3.5. Was Asya Khachatryan introduced to the legal basis of her appearance at the Police Department (3:31-3:53)?
3.6. Did Asya Khachatryan present a lawyer’s claim and what response did she receive (5:58-5:59)?
3.7. How long was Asya Khachatryan at the Police Department?
4. Asya Khachatryan’s allegations on the alleged incident between the latter and police officers in civilian clothes in her flat at 1 am of February 4, and the treatment they showed (6:57-10:11), in particular:
4.1. Did the mentioned police officers properly introduce themselves to Asya Khachatryan (7:08-7:37)?
4.2. For what purpose and legal basis did they allegedly enter Asya Khachatryan’s flat (7:37-7:38)?
5. Asya Khachatryan’s allegations on her and her friend’s (the citizen did not mention the identity) being taken to the Police Department on the night of February 4 and the treatment towards them (10:11-10:36), in particular:
5.1. On what basis were Asya Khachatryan and her friend allegedly taken to Police Department (10:34-10:36)?
5.2. Was a relevant entry made in the registry? (10:38-10:48)?
5.3. Were Asya Khachatryan and her friend introduced to their rights?
5.4. Did Asya Khachatryan demand to inform the person she chose about her being deprived of freedom and what response did she receive (11:13-11:18)?
5.5. Did Asya Khachatryan present a lawyer’s request and what response did she receive (11:27-11:32)?
5.6. Did the police officer (named “John” as mentioned by the citizen) make a claim to Asya Khachatryan incompatible with the law on her behavior in public places (15:52-16:22)?
5.7. How long Asya Khachatryan and her friend were at the Police Department?
6. Other clarifications on the claims made by Asya Khachatryan in the mentioned video footage.
The Ombudsman also demanded to inform him about the measures taken to check Asya Khachatryan’s clarifications.
The Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh, within his jurisdiction and pursuant to his commitment taken on March 26 statement, continues the discussion procedure.
The Ombudsman launched a discussion procedure on Asya Khachatryan’s caseOn March 26, at 20:20 pm, epress.am released a material with the headline: “Karabakh policemen to Asya Khachatryan: Go and require law in Armenia” and attached posted a video footage which showed Asya Khachatryan’s claims on committing illegal acts against her by Artsakh Republic Police.
Based on the video footage and guided by Article 15 of the AR Law on Human Rights Ombudsman, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh made a decision to initiate a discussion procedure.
If Asya Khachatryan’s allegations are true, then the actions of the officers of the AR Police are unacceptable and should be subjected to a strict legal assessment.
At the same time, we clarify that the content of the telephone conversation with the AR Ombudsman presented in the video and newsletter is incomplete and partially incorrect. In fact, the AR Ombudsman clarified to A.Khachatryan the effective remedies in this situation; moreover, he encouraged the latter to use them. And the citizen noted that she would present her claims to the AR Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution in written form. But the AR Ombudsman’s office had not received any written complaints on the mentioned facts.
The Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution of the Republic of Artsakh will be consistent in providing adequate legal response to A.Khachatryan’s claims and will take all measures envisaged by the law in this direction. Additional information will be provided to the public concerning further discussion procedure. Strengthening of legal culture in Artsakh and guaranteeing human rights, has been and remains the credo and priority mission of the The Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution of the Republic of Artsakh.
Representatives of the AR Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution met with civil society
Human Rights Ombudsman appoints Head of Department and AdviserBy the decree of the AR Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan, Artak Beglaryan has been appointed Head of Department of the Staff. By another decree, the Ombudsman has appointed Babken DerGrigoryan as an Adviser. Under the new AR Law on Human Rights Ombudsman, enacted on February 1, 2018, the Ombudsman staff is divided into two structural units – the Department and Secretariat. The Department will provide the content part of the Ombudsman’s activities, and the Secretariat will carry out the technical support. In addition to content and structural changes, the new law also allows the Ombudsman to have up to 5 advisers on a pro bono and voluntary basis.
Below are the biographies of Artak Beglaryan and Babken DerGrigorian: Artak Beglaryan is a specialist in politics and public administration. Since 2012 he has been working as Assistant, then as Press Secretary to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Artsakh, and in the recent months - as Advisor to the State Minister. He currently studies at the National Defense Research University of the Defense Army of the Republic of Armenia for a PhD Degree. He holds a Master Degree from the University College London in Politics, Security and Integration. He also studied at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, USA, specializing in Public Policy and Administration, as well as, at the Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece, with a specialization in Business Management with the EU Erasmus Mundus student exchange program. He holds an Undergraduate Degree from the Department of Political Science, Yerevan State University. Beglaryan has participated in a number of international conferences and has published academic articles. He has been involved in civic activities for years joining and managing various non-governmental organizations.
Babken DerGrigorian is an economist and international development consultant, with an area focus on the South Caucasus. He currently serves as the founding executive director of the Artsakh Human Rights Foundation – an organization dedicated to improving the protection of fundamental human rights in Artsakh. DerGrigorian has consulted for a number of international human rights organizations and development agencies, including The HALO Trust, Transparency International, and the United Nations Development Program. In addition, he has worked as a programs coordinator for the Open Society Foundations in Armenia. DerGrigorian holds two masters degrees from the London School of Economics, in Political & Development Economics and Political Communication, respectively. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Public Affairs from UCLA.
Ruben Melikyan met with Lars Adaktusson, European Parliament MP andmember of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
On January 23, 2017 Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh Ruben Melikyan met with the delegation led by Lars Adaktusson, European Parliament MP, and member of Committee on Foreign Affairs. Representative of the Hay Dat European Committee Ashkhen Fiksova participated in the meeting.
During the meeting R.Melikyan presented the main directions of activities of the AR Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution, general situation of human rights and responded to the guests’ questions.
The Ombudsman touched upon the cruelty committed by Azerbaijan during the April war, as well as the reforms emerged as a result of 2017 Constitutional referendum. At the end of the meeting, R.Melikyan underlined the importance of cooperation with the international human rights community noting that strengthening of ties would promote the improvement of the human rights situation in Artsakh.
A legal clinic was opened with the Ombudsman’s support
On November 1, with Ruben Melikyan’s support, a legal clinic was launched in Artsakh State University as a result of cooperation between Artsakh State University, Yerevan State University Faculty of Law and Armenian Bar Association (USA). Under the supervision of experienced lawyers, the clinic students will provide free legal aid to citizens of the Republic of Artsakh. The reception is open for public on working days at 14:00 – 18:00.
The Ombudsman met with the delegation of parliamentarians from the USA California state in Artsakh
On December 8, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh met with the delegation of the USA California state parliamentarians in Artsakh. Ruben Melikyan introduced the guests the status and activities of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution of the Republic of Artsakh, including the fact-finding results of the 2016 April war. At the guests’ request, the human rights issues in Artsakh and ways of their solution were discussed. The Ombudsman underlined that, unfortunately, international human rights communitydoes not pay sufficient attention to the human rights issues in unrecognized states the consequences of which influence Artsakh citizens as well. At the same time, Melikyan also presented the positive tendencies in that issue.
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