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October 14, 2009

Armenian Legal Professionals Trained on European Convention on Human Rights

October 2009

Early this month, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) organized a two-day training on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for legal practitioners based outside the capital. A total of 30 advocates, public defenders, prosecutors and investigators attended the training in Dilijan, Armenia, which focused on applying articles five and six of the ECHR.

The training was co-sponsored and organized by the resident legal advisor (RLA) of the U.S. Embassy and the Armenian Institute for Democracy, a local non-governmental organization. Armenia’s legal framework provides theoretical protections for human rights, which nonetheless is compromised in practice making the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) a particularly vital check for holding state actors accountable for human rights violations.

Participants, led by Keith Peterson, ABA ROLI criminal law program legal specialist, Ara Ghazaryan, a local advocate, and Davit Khachaturyan, RLA office legal specialist, discussed the legal right of suspects to remain at liberty during pre-trial proceedings in the absence of permissible grounds for detention, which include the risk that the suspect will flee, impede the implementation of justice or commit a new crime. Participants also discussed the use of evidence obtained in violation of the law. At the end of the training, participants discussed a hypothetical case, before they role-played the involved parties—ECtHR applicant, defendant (state) and judges—in a mock ECtHR hearing.

The seminar also provided advocates, public defenders, prosecutors and investigators a rare networking opportunity and a forum for discussion. The discussion allowed participants to engage with one another, build more constructive communication, create strategies for pending cases and develop plans for better assisting clients.

To learn more about our work in Armenia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>.