YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An open hearing dedicated to the formation of the institution of ombudsmen in Armenia was held in Yerevan–Thursday. The hearing was organized by the Strategy Humanitarian Center of Political Science in St. Petersburg–Institute of Philosophy and Law–Armenian National Academy of Sciences–Yerevan Press Club–and the Sakharov Human Rights Fund. Attending the hearing were members of the Presidential Human Rights Commission–members of Parliament–and representatives from Karabakh.
The expert for the Council under the Human Rights Commissioner in the Russian Federation–vice-president of the Congress of National Unions–Antuan Arakelian informed those present about the state of the ombudsmen institution in Russia which has been operating in that country for over a year. He pointed out that this institution operates in over one hundred countries–and its activities are the most successful in post-Communist countries.
The hearing participants expressed their opinions of Armenia’s readiness for the formation of the ombudsmen institution and of the extent of the institution’s authority in the country.
Armenian Ambassador to Scandinavian countries Vladimir Karmirshalian said that no one can say in advance how well this institution will work in Armenia. "The public is to a certain extent ready for that–and I think that step by step we will get this institution to work. As regards to the authorities’ readiness–it is another task: if they are not ready–they should be prepared," he said.
Chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission Paruir Hairikian commented on a remark made by a Russian expert who called the point in the bill under which the candidate for the ombudsmen is nominated by the president "nonsense." According to Hairikian–it is the result of faults in the Constitution which does not stipulate such an institution–also the powers of the National Assembly are limited. Thus the right of nominating a candidate is given to the president.
This opinion was shared by Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Science–Education–Culture–and Youth Affairs Shavarsh Kocharian. He said that only relevant amendmen’s to the Constitution will allow the ombudsmen to have corresponding rights.