The concluding part of ELA’s Report on the ECtHR judge selection contest

“The Observers’ Call to the CoE Bodies and Options for the Solution of the Problem

8.1. Summing up our observations of the 2015 contest, the observers hereby note that:

8.1.1. Under no circumstances can it be considered transparent in view of the facts described in this Report. The Commission concealed from public in an expremely organized and consistent manner important information of public interest concerning the Candidates and other contestants in blatant violation of Article 27 of the Constitution and Article 10 ECHR. The covert and secret nature of this information on the one hand strengthened the doubts of the public concerning the fact that the only reason for holding a contest was giving legitimacy to a list which was already predetermined at a political level by means of an immitation of formal compliance with the PACE and the Committee of Minsiters’ requirements and, on the other hand, civil society institutes were prevented from performing their “public watchdog” function, as a result of which the responsibility for detecting all of the undetected violations of this contest were left to international structures. We are convinced that this function is impossible to perform effectively by international strcutures unless domestic civil society is involved in such effort.

8.1.2. The Commission, acting in the aforesaid conditions, obvisouly acted as an executive body controlled by one political party and lacking political neutrality and its actions cannot in any way be considered as politically neutral.

8.1.3. The actions of the Commission cause reasonable doubt as to the fact that Candidate A. Haroutyunyan was obviously favoured despite the necessity to verify the information published by the observers in regard to him and that everything was done to ensure his leading position in the list of the ECtHR judge candidates to be submitted to the PACE.

8.1.4. Candidates Mr A. Ghazaryan and Ms L. Hakobyan were obviously included in the list of candidates to ensure the background of Mr A. Haroutyunyan’s manifest superiority among the 3 candidates in order to raise the likelihood of his election.

8.2. In the light of the aforesaid, we call on all decision-makers in the process of election of the ECtHR judge to:

8.2.1. Examine thoroughly the information laid down in this Report and, considering the reluctance of the Commission, as well as the three candidates to work with civil society, including the observers in a transparent manner, to carry out a thorough examination of the information submitted on the candidates. In particular, attached to this Report are the CVs of Mr A. Haroutyunyan and Mr A. Ghazaryan submitted for the contest in 2014 as well as their declarations of interest (Annexes 1 and 2), which we kindly request to be compared with any document submitted by the Government to the PACE in order to reveal any possible discrepancies to request explanations on them. We hope that no such discrepancies will be detected. If, however, such are detected, we believe that the Government must submit reasonable explanations to both the international and national communities on why the documents submitted to one instance were later amended in order to be submitted to another instance.

8.2.2. Examine carefully any information related to Ms Liana Hakobyan since it was impossible to obtain any information on this Candidate from the Commission.

8.2.3. Recommend that the Government of the Republic of Armenia stopped any non-trasparent and secretive practices during the contest as a result of which the public on the one hand is deprived of access to information on an issue of such public important and the details of the CV of a national judge, on the other hand it prevents the representatives of civil society from exercising their “public watchdog” function with a view to verifying such information.

8.2.4. Recommend that the Government changed the membership of the Commission to make sure that the Commission Members have sufficient expertise and professional experience and, on the other hand, that civil society is also represented in the Commission in order to raise public trust towards the process and the independence and legitimacy of the ECtHR.”