Constitutional Law of The Republic of Armenia on Human Rights Defender

CHAPTER 2. GUARANTEES FOR THE ACTIVITIES OF THE DEFENDER

Article 5.  Independence of the Defender

 

1.In the course of exercising his or her powers, the Defender shall be independent, be guided only by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, this Law and international treaties of the Republic of Armenia.

 

Article 6. Immunity of the Defender

 

1. The Defender may not, during his or her term of office and thereafter, be prosecuted or held liable for activity carried out as part of his or her mandate, including for the opinion expressed at the National Assembly.

2.Criminal prosecution against the Defender may be instituted, as well as he or she may be deprived of liberty only upon the consent of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia by at least three fifth of the total number of parliament members.

3. The Defender may be deprived of liberty without the consent of the National Assembly if caught in the act of committing a criminal offence or immediately thereafter. In this case, deprivation of liberty may not last more than for seventy-two hours. The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall be notified without delay of the deprivation of liberty of the Defender.
4. The Defender may not, during his or her term of office and thereafter, furnish explanation or be questioned as a witness with regard to applications or complaints addressed thereto during his or her term of office, the essence of documents obtained during the examination or consideration thereof or the decisions rendered by him or her.
5. Correspondence, phone conversations, postal, telegram messages and other forms of communication of the Defender related to exercise of his/her powers, shall be subject to monitoring only by a court decision upon a motion of the Prosecutor General, if it is related to the need to prevent or detect grave or particularly grave crimes.

 

Article 7. Security of the Defender

 

1.The Defender and the members of his or her family shall be under special protection of the State. Upon the application of the Defender, competent state bodies shall be obliged to undertake necessary measures to ensure the security of the Defender and his or her family.

 

Article 8.  Funding and social guarantees for the activities of the Defender

 

1. Appropriate funding shall be ensured at the expense of the funds of the State Budget for smooth operation of the Defender and the Staff thereto.
2.  The budget of the Defender and the Staff thereto shall constitute a part of the State Budget, which is funded in a separate line. The activities of the Defender as the National Preventive Mechanism shall also be specifically funded from the same budget line.
3. The Defender shall — as prescribed by the legislation and within the deadline prescribed by the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On the Budgetary System of the Republic of Armenia" — submit the budget request (estimate) for the activities of the Defender and the Staff thereto for the upcoming year to the authorised state body to be included in the draft State Budget.
4. Where the budget request (estimate) of the Defender and the Staff thereto for the upcoming year is approved by the Government, it shall be included in the draft State Budget, and if there is an objection it shall be submitted to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia along with the draft State Budget. The Government shall present to the National Assembly and the Defender the justification for the objection on the budget funding.
5. The amount of allocation for funding provided from the state budget to the Defender and the Staff thereto as well as to the Defender as the National Preventative Mechanism cannot be less than the amount provided the year before. The funding from the state budget is implemented in equal monthly installments in the form of pre-payment for every month.
6. The Defender shall participate in the hearings at the National Assembly on the draft Law of the Republic of Armenia «On State Budget» in part related to funding of activities of the Defender and the Staff thereto, as well as the Defender as the National Preventative Mechanism.
7.  The Defender shall have the right to annual paid leave for the duration of 30 working days.
8.  During the entire term of office, the Defender shall be released from mandatory military service, mobilisation and military exercises.

 

Article 9. Obligation of state and local self-government bodies and organisations to assist in the activities of the Defender

 

1. State and local self-government bodies, organisations, officials or representatives thereof shall be obliged to provide the Defender, as prescribed by this law, with the necessary materials, documents, information and clarifications — free of charge and within the shortest possible time — as well as otherwise assist in the activities thereof.

2. The materials, documents, information and clarifications requested by the Defender must be sent to the Defender within the shortest possible time, but no later than within 30 days after receiving the request if a shorter deadline is not specified in the request.

3. Within the scope of his or her powers, the Defender shall enjoy the right to priority reception at state and local self- government bodies, organisations, officials and representatives thereof. In case of rapid response by the Defender upon his or her request the bodies referred to in this paragraph and the officials and representatives thereof shall be obliged to immediately render assistance to the Defender or the representatives thereof.

4. State and local self-government bodies, organisations, officials or representatives thereof shall be obliged to guarantee the possibility of unimpeded and confidential communication of the Defender or the representative thereof with a person held in a place of restriction or deprivation of liberty. Conversations in private of the Defender or the representatives thereof with such persons shall not be subject to intervention or wiretapping.

5. Complaints and other documents addressed to the Defender as well as requests or other documents sent by the Defender shall not be subject to verification or censorship. They must be sent to the Defender without delay upon receipt by competent bodies or organisations, but no later than within 24 hours thereafter.

 

Article 10. Liability for obstructing the activities of the Defender

 

1. Any interference, not provided for by law, with the activities of the Defender shall be prohibited.

2. Obstructing in any way the exercise of powers reserved to the Defender by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and this Law, as well as threatening the Defender or insulting or displaying clearly disrespectful attitude towards him or her shall entail criminal liability.
3. Failure to provide the materials, documents, information or clarifications requested by the Defender within the deadlines prescribed by this Law shall entail administrative liability.

 

Article 11. Guarantees for the activities of persons holding office within the Staff of the Defender and experts of the National Preventive Mechanism

 

1. Where criminal prosecution is instituted on any ground against a person holding office within the Staff of the Defender or an expert of the National Preventive Mechanism, or where he or she is in any way deprived of liberty, the body conducting the proceedings shall be obliged to promptly inform the Defender thereon, immediately after obtaining data about the person in question.
2. Persons holding office within the Staff of the Defender and experts of the National Preventive Mechanism may furnish explanation or be questioned as witnesses with regard to the essence of applications or complaints addressed to the Defender or the decisions rendered by the Defender based on the examination thereof, as well as provide them to other persons for familiarisation only upon the written consent of the Defender.