Since 1996, ABA ROLI has worked in Armenia to advance the rule of law. In the past 25 years, our principal achievements include helping to establish critical local legal institutions—including Armenia’s first unified bar association, first legal aid clinics, and the region’s first Public Defender’s Office. ABA ROLI also supported several critical advances in legal education reform, judicial reform, and criminal law reform.
From 2012–2016, with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), we implemented the Armenia Criminal Law Reform Program, which increased access to justice by supporting more effective legal representation and through assisting in the implementation of criminal justice reforms in Armenia’s justice sector, including the Criminal Procedure Code and the National Justice Strategy.
In 2016–2018, ABA ROLI provided entrepreneurship and tax-related training and legal assistance for the influx of refugees and asylees who settled in Armenia during the Syrian civil war under a pair of grants from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
From 2017-2019, ABA ROLI worked with the Office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia to strengthen its institutional capacity in targeted areas and its outreach to the human rights community and the public through a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
In 2020-2021, we managed a USAID rapid response program to provide targeted support to vulnerable women and LGBTI persons during the COVID-19 crisis, namely through overseeing resources for human rights organizations that offer social, psychological, legal, and urgent medical support to these marginalized groups.
In the wake of Armenia’s peaceful political transition of 2018, the Government of Armenia (GOAM) prioritized both the eradication of corruption and the installation of a culture of integrity. The government’s ambitious reform agenda is outlined in the 2019-2022 Anti-Corruption Strategy (ACS) and its associated 2019-2023 Judicial and Legal Reforms Strategy. Together, these pillars are designed to serve as a roadmap toward a future of economic and public life free from corruption, with a fair and impartial judiciary, and transparent and accountable governance. The ACS establishes a new institutional framework with separate entities tasked with preventive and investigative functions, sets out specific measures for strengthening the preventive and investigative functions, and prioritizes strategic communication and public education to make citizens the owners and drivers of anticorruption reforms.
A lengthy series of public deliberations and expert consultations on institutional models to combat corruption inspired the Armenian government to establish the Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC) in 2019. The CPC serves as the main entity responsible for preventing corruption and building integrity across both government and society. The ACS sets out the legal-regulatory framework and processes that enable the CPC to prevent corruption and foster the integrity of public officials and civil servants. Within the mandate of the CPC is one of the focal areas of the Judicial and Legal Reform Strategy, the integrity of justice sector actors. However, CPC is under pressure to draft and finalize a critical legal and regulatory package for parliament to consider. This package of legal and regulatory measures is essential to shore up and fix key elements of the CPC’s mandate, and to ensure effective implementation of corruption prevention mechanisms across the GOAM.
Based upon the current social and political environment of Armenia, ABA ROLI’s current program in the country addresses the promotion of concrete interventions to impede corruption. In 2021, we helped launch a five-year program to support the implementation of specific legal-regulatory measures for corruption prevention.