A group of lawyers of the Chamber of Advocates are going on a one-day strike on June 11 against the judicial system, in particular the Court of Cassation.
This action is unprecedented in the history of the judicial system of Armenia and it is highly important for change in this system.
Armenia’s judicial system is the appendix of the Armenian government and its decisions must be approved by the central government first.
The rich people and the officials win in the judicial system. Meanwhile, the judicial system is one of the main factors for the health of any country. The country can have prospects only if the judicial system is independent.
The judicial reforms were launched several years ago. It would be an exaggeration to say that the process is totally useless. In the end, comfortable premises have been provided by these reforms.
But the content of the activities of courts is far behind the office layouts. Though some changes were reported in the low judicial instances, courts of general jurisdiction, there are judges who make sudden unexpected fair and brave decisions when not the rich and strong but the right wins.
But these cases are so few that the authors can be counted on one’s fingers and last year the U.S. embassy in Armenia counted three of them and awarded them for defending freedom. Nevertheless, this tendency is important and it proves some movement. But this movement stops at higher courts and it is not accidental that the lawyers’ action is against the Court of Cassation.
Even the slightest tendency of change of courts may be continued in case the weakness reaches the highest levels of the system. The Court of Cassation is actually the “last Bastion” of the system. Having got accustomed to home and foreign pressure and relative freedom of courts, the government clings to this “bastion” not to allow the establishment of the judicial system and block unfavorable court decisions.
A one-day strike is not a wave of protest but it is a precedent of coordinated fight which can have more essential influence on the judicial system than concerns expressed for years.
It is noteworthy that the lawyers assume responsibility who form a very important institution for the society. They are worried about their responsibility to the society while the judicial system hinders its successful implementation.
We should think that this process fits into the logic of responsibility towards the society which expresses the community of lawyers and which can be one of the important episodes of the civil wave.