On the day of Referendum on the Constitutional Reforms (December 6, 2015) the Office of RA Human Rights Defender registered all signals, addressed to its hot line, when needed it provided relevant legal counselling to citizens, as well as ensured rapid response. The Ombudsman also carried out an all-day monitoring of the electoral process with the assistance of mass media. Some complaints were received from representatives of human rights NGOs as well.
The signals, addressed to the Human Rights Defender, were related to hindering of professional activities of journalists, observers and members of electoral commissions, the facts of improper arrangement of the electoral process, inaccuracies in the electoral lists, gatherings of people in polling stations, bribing, unlawful arrests of citizens by the police and other problems.
It is necessary to especially stress thatany case of hindering the activities of journalists and observers should be immediately examined, and the persons committed such infringements, should be punished with overall severity of the law.
The free and equal activity of mass media constitutes the guarantee, on the one hand, enabling the society to completely enjoy its right to free information, and on the other hand, to prevent the state bodies from arbitrariness and irregularities.
The notifications on the received signals have been sent by the RA Human Rights Defender to criminal prosecution bodies. The results of criminal proceedings, related to the violations, registered by the Ombudsman’s office, as well as the reports, related to the received signals, prove that institution of the most criminal cases, based on the prepared materials, have been denied or and the relevant proceedings have been discontinued. As for the persons, whose actions were treated as crimes as a result of investigation proceedings, they have been convicted for fine payment.
The mentioned practice concerning the investigation of crimes, related to electoral process, is not effective from the view of prevention of such infringements of the law. Such a situation is also unacceptable from the view of the struggle, carried on by the state competent bodies against the acts, trespassing the human rights of citizens. It is necessary to rule out the practice of denying institution of criminal cases, based on the materials, prepared in connection of reports about such acts. It does not ensures an effective prevention of crimes in this sphere, as well as it is not effective from the view of proper legal protection of persons, who suffered damage as a result of such crimes and compensation of their losses.
The public report can be found here.