a) Armenia / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 11-12-2007 / e) DCC-720 / f) On the compliance of Article 419.6 the Criminal Procedure Code with the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia / g) Tegekagir (Official Gazette) / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Procedural safeguards, rights of the defence and fair trial.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Procedural safeguards, rights of the defence and fair trial - Trial/decision within reasonable time.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Cassation Court, power to bestow legal force upon legal acts of inferior courts
Provisions allowing the Cassation Court to bestow legal force upon judicial acts by the Court of First Instance and the Appeal Court are constitutional because they prevent the rotation of cases within the judiciary and to ensure the implementation of the constitutional norm on administering justice within a reasonable time and of the principle of legal certainty.
I. The applicant challenged the constitutionality of Article 419.6 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This provides that, as a result of review of acts of the Court of First Instance and the Appeal Court, the Cassation Court has the power to confer legal force on their decisions. He argued that this provision deprived him of his constitutional right to judicial remedy (Article 19 of the Constitution).
II. The Constitutional Court examined the above mentioned power of the Cassation Court, taking into consideration its constitutional status and its position in the judicial system. According to the constitutional status of the Cassation Court, appropriate amendments have been made to the current legislation. These include the power to confer legal force upon decisions by the Court of First Instance and the Appeal Court.
The Constitutional Court observed that this particular power (and others granted by the same amendments) prevented the rotation of cases within the judiciary. The rationale behind this amendment was to safeguard the implementation of the constitutional requirements to administer justice within a reasonable time and the principle of legal certainty.
The Constitutional Court held that the above power could be exercised at all times, where there are no changes to the factual circumstances of the case as a result of the proceedings at first instance and at the appellate stage, and where the facts that had given rise to the decisions were subject to the various assessments.
The Court found no conflict between the Constitution and the provision under scrutiny. The powers vested with the Cassation Court were in conformity with the Constitution, and the right to trial within a reasonable time guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the lack of powers bestowed by the legislative amendments could jeopardise the rights to judicial remedy, fair trial and trial within reasonable time.