The Council of Europe in collaboration with the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Armenia organised a two-day high-level conference "Prosecutorial Independence in Upholding the Rule of Law".
The aim of the conference was to facilitate a cohesive dialogue among main actors in the ongoing reform on strengthening the independence and accountability of prosecutors, in close co-ordination with international partners.
Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia delivered the opening address, followed by a video welcome speech by Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
“In the expectation of our people to have a just society, the Prosecutor's Office is at the forefront [...] between the courts and investigative bodies. And we hope and are sure that this mission will be fulfilled. The role of the prosecution and legal system should also be the protection of democracy and law”, noted Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia.
“As stressed by leaders last month in Reykjavík, the importance of the separation of powers is ensuring independence, impartial and effective judiciaries. The Council of Europe has issued a range of binding standards and soft law tools to help our member states to do that. While threats to the independence of prosecutors persist, this Conference is an opportunity for us to share experiences and best practice on identifying and overcoming these challenges”, said Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
President of the Republic of Armenia, Vahagn Khachaturyan, attended the conference and extended his congratulations on the significant milestone of the 105th anniversary of the establishment of the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Armenia. During the event, the President's decrees on awarding class ranks and state honors to several employees of the Prosecutor's Office were announced and published.
Prosecutors General from six member States of the Council of Europe (Croatia, Georgia, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Armenia) took part in the conference, together with representatives of the International Association of Prosecutors, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, Armenian authorities, and diplomatic corps.
“The conference organised within the Partnership for Good Governance program is the first joint work in this format with the Council of Europe and I am sure that the co-operation will be continuous and will prove its effectiveness. Our cooperation is aimed at reforming Armenia's prosecutorial system based on European best practices”, stressed Anna Vardapetyan, Prosecutor General of Armenia.
“I am very convinced that this conference will be extremely important as a platform to facilitate exchange between the Prosecutors’ Office, general courts and other branches of power, also together with the international community … ”, concluded Andrea Wiktorin, Ambassador of the European Union to Armenia, Head of the Delegation.
Panel discussions focused on the Council of Europe key documents in the field, including the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors’ opinions on the institutional and functional independence of prosecution services, on the recruitment and professional development of prosecutors, transparent accountability systems, disciplinary case examination, and the role of prosecutors in addressing environmental crimes, as well as the Venice Commission Rule of Law Checklist.
The conference participants acknowledged the diverse character of criminal justice systems across Europe, rooted in different legal cultures, but emphasised that the common requirement of prosecutorial independence is a fundamental element for upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice.
The conference participants summarised conclusions in the Outcome Document.
This conference is part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme "Partnership for Good Governance", co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, and implemented by the Council of Europe.