The Board of RA Chamber of Advocates applied to the RA Human Rights Defender, raising the issue of constitutionality of RA Criminal Procedure Code regulations related to the interrelationship between mandatory legal representation and one’s right to defend himself/herself in person or through legal assistance.
Examination of the respective provisions of RA Criminal Procedure Code reveals that the authority conducting the proceedings can decline the suspect’s or defendant’s refusal to have a lawyer (the court declines when giving a sanction). The existing regulations result in a conflict between, on the one hand, the defendant’s fundamental right to defend him/herself through legal assistance of his/her own choosing, and on the other hand, the court’s obligation to ensure effective legal representation (as a component of the general right to fair trial), in the framework of which the court is entitled to apply the institute of mandatory legal representation.
According to the application, the code does not definitively and clearly regulate the instances when the state’s (acting through the authorities conducting the proceedings) obligation to ensure mandatory legal representation prevails over the defendant’s right to defend him/herself through a lawyer of his/her own choosing.
Taking into consideration the above, the Human Rights Defender applied to RA Constitutional Court.