The documentary explores the possibility of jury trial adoption and its potential for building public trust in the judiciary and for addressing judicial corruption. It features interviews with prominent Armenian judges, advocates and prosecutors, including representatives from the Court of Cassation and the Prosecutor General’s Office, as well as the actual judge, prosecutor, and defense advocate that participated in neighboring Georgia’s first jury trial after it adopted an amended Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in 2010.
Armenia is in the process of revising its CPC to incorporate more adversarial trial elements. The film explores the concern that Armenia is too small for effective jury trials and that extended networks of people would inevitably bias jurors—a concern that some Georgians had prior to their country’s introduction of jury trials.
The film screening was followed by a lively debate on the advantages and disadvantages of adopting jury trials in Armenia. Opponents of jury trials argued that the tight networks of people—the fact that “everyone knows each other”—would make partiality unavoidable in Armenia, while proponents said that jury trials would make the justice system more visible and understandable, allowing society to participate in the administration of justice.
The documentary was produced as part of ABA ROLI’s criminal law reform program in Armenia, which 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].