The Media Center held a discussion on the Constitution Court ruling which sets several provisions of the law on Funded Pension as anti-constitutional. The speakers included: Artsvik Minasyan, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Faction; Artak Zeynalyan, Head of Rule of Law, NGO; Mery Khachatryan, lawyer at the Armenian Center for Human Rights Protection after Sakharov; Mane Tandilyan, Dem!em Civic Initaitive; and Davit Khazhakyan, Dem!em Civic Initaitive.
“I am not happy with the ruling as it was a discouraging one. Wherever I am, I’ll persistently follow that the system is pulled down,” Artsvik Minasyan said.
On July 7, 2015 the Constitutional Court ruled that a number of provisions of the law objected by a group of 33 lawmakers did not comply with the Constitution.
Mery Khachatryan believes the Constitutional Court did not fix pivotal issues.
“The law was adopted without any prior public meeting during special sessions. The ruling reads that the case is not viewed as a constitutional-legal issue whilst the Constitutional Court as such is a regulator of the legal field but the procedure defines the Speaker of the National Assembly has the right to hold parliamentary hearings. The Constitutional Court should have made a point that public discussions should have been held because of the public importance,” Khachatryan said.
The ruling may set a dangerous precedent and any legal act may become a law without public discussions, Davit Khazhakyan said.
“Though the ruling says discussions at the committees are not held during special parliamentary sessions, the relevant article of the Constitution specifies the standing committees of the National Assembly are established to discuss laws. There, thus, cannot be any exception,” Khazhakyan said.
Mane Tandilyan described the decision as a step backward. Tandilyan said they are determined to continue their struggle at international courts.
“We are going to object the law at the European Court of Human Rights,” Tandilyan said.
The legal grounds the Constitutional Court used in the ruling contradict the fundamental principles of the law, Artak Zeynalyan believes.
“The decision was not persuasive. The fact that it does not guarantee the return of contributions shows the law is nonsense. It seems to say, “Folks, know that there are no guarantees that your money will be refunded,” Zeynalyan said.
Khachatryan reminded the funded pension will involve the private sector from July 1, 2017.
“The Government chose the option of “silencing” private sector workers who made up the majority of Dem!em Initiative. It is quite possible the initiative – with more improved technologies – will fight against the system in 2017 and by then a lot of changes are likely to have happened,” Khachatryan said.
Though the ruling discouraged many, the struggle is underway, Artsvik Minasyan said.
“The Constitutional Court is not the final point and there are other ways,” he added.
Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator
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