To promote civic engagement in and oversight of the Armenian justice system, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) launched an Informal Jurors Program with a July screening of the movie 12 Angry Men. A total of 12 law students, journalists and non-governmental organization representatives are taking part in the program, which will allow participants to observe criminal trials, assess the merits of the prosecution’s case and publicize their findings at a public event this fall. The movie screening was organized to introduce participants to the jury trial system.
The Armenian justice system does not use juries, but criminal justice reforms currently underway and slated to take effect in 2015 are anticipated to improve the ability of the defense to present its case, creating a more balanced and adversarial criminal justice system.
Following the movie screening, participants discussed the concept of reasonable doubt. While they were skeptical of the utility of juries at first, many later said that jury trials would promote civic engagement and faith in the rule of law in Armenia.
ABA ROLI’s Criminal Law Reform Program in Armenia is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
To learn more about our work in Armenia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].