Updated with vote in the Armenian parliament
The Armenian parliament on Monday approved in first reading a set of changes to the Constitution.
The changes propose the end the mandate of those judges of the Constitutional Court who have been in office for a total of more than 12 years. Those judges who hold office for a total of less than 12 years will remain judges until their term ends.
According to the amendments, the powers of the chairman of the Constitutional Court Hrayr Tovmasyan are also terminated. "The election of a new chairman for a period of 6 years will be made after filling the vacancies that will emerge after these changes," according to government MP Vahan Hovakimyan.
An Armenian court over the weekend refused to authorise the arrest of Armenian opposition leader and oligarch Gagik Tsarukyan.
The decision came after days of deliberation, and follows a decision by the Armenian parliament last week to lift Tsarukyan's parliamentary immunity. Tsarukyan is being accused of being part of a process of vote buying by his Prosperous Armenia Party in the 2017 parliamentary elections. Tsarukyan is also being investigated on a number of other economic crimes.
Tsarukyan and his supporters welcomed the court decision, and said that it is a proof that the government had no case. Prosecuters however indicated that they will appeal.
On Friday, another Armenian court ordered the release on bail of former President Robert Kocharian. Bail was set at 2 billion AMD, equivalent to around 2 million USD. A number of Russian businessmen put forward the necessary money for the bail, and Kocharian was released on Saturday.
These high profile cases come as the Armenian government continues its efforts to make changes in the judiciary. The Armenian parliament will meet on Monday morning (22 June) to discuss changes in the membership of the Constitutional Court.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: Gagik Tsarukyan (archive picture)
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