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The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) recently published the Detention Procedure Assessment Tool, which evaluates the use of detention in criminal cases at pretrial and sentencing stages. The publication was presented to stakeholders during a November 16 event in Yerevan, and the report’s findings were discussed in a November 18–19 roundtable in Dilijan.
The report is based on a comprehensive field assessment. The assessors interviewed 68 Armenian stakeholders, including prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, police, investigators and correction facility officials. They also worked with local staff attorneys and a group of Armenian criminal law experts to review relevant Armenian legislation and secondary sources.
The report praised the 2008 judicial code’s inclusion of a stare decisis model, which establishes a case precedent system. The report also commended the Public Defender’s Office for its efforts to provide legal services to the poor, and Armenian courts for taking the initiative to protect the rights of both victims and defendants. Despite progress, the report found that detention is ordered too frequently, both at pretrial and disposition stages. The report also identified areas in which Armenia fails to comply with international norms.
ABA ROLI will organize additional detention procedure roundtables and trainings in December. Supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, our work encourages compliance with international human rights norms, focusing on pre-trial detention, pre-trial motion and admissibility of evidence.
To learn more about our work in Armenia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.