|European Court delivers rulings in two KHRP-assisted cases against Armenia|
The European Court of Human Rights today delivered judgments in two KHRP-assisted cases against the Armenian government.
The cases were brought on behalf of Armenian nationals, Mr. Zaven Karapetyan and Mr. Stepan Stepanyan, who on 22 March 2003 and on 20 May 2004, were respectively arrested and detained by the local Armenian police for “[disobeying] lawful orders and [using] foul languages” in response to police orders.
The arrests occurred against the backdrop of the first and second round of the presidential elections in Armenia, and were a clear attempt by the authorities to contain the political rallies and demonstrations that were causing widespread unrest across the country.
In Karapetyan vs. Armenia, the judgment ruled that the applicant's detention amounted to degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3 of the Convention. This was after Karapetyan was sentenced to six days administrative detention and was forced to share his cell— the size of less than nine square metres— with eight other people; smaller than the international legal standards for an individual person.
In both cases, the Court also held that the government had violated the fair trial principles stipulated under Article 6 of the Convention. This followed Mr. Karapetyan’s conviction within hours of his arrest and without the applicant being given any right to legal representation during his trial. Meanwhile, Stepanyan was convicted based on the exclusive evidence of the two arresting police officers. The Court concluded that “the applicant's guilt or innocence could not have been properly determined” given that there was no direct assessment of either the police officer’s evidence, or of the applicant himself, during the trial.
‘These two new rulings continue to shine a light on the urgent need for democratic reforms to protect against inhuman and degrading treatment and to guarantee the right to a fair trial in Armenia’, said Chief Executive Kerim Yildiz. 'As with the Court’s rulings in four KHRP-assisted cases earlier this year, as a member of the Council of Europe, Armenia must act in accord with its international obligations and afford its citizens the right to freely speak, associate and assemble with others without fear of reprisal.’