The administrative court is to examine electoral disputes in a collegial formation
On December 19, 2017, based on the application submitted by Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office, the RA Constitutional Court examined the matter of the constitutionality of Article 213 § 1 of the RA Administrative Procedure Code.
HCA Vanadzor applied to the Constitutional Court after, upon the decision made on April 14, 2017, the Administrative Court recognized the rights of an observation mission to challenge at the Administrative Court the fact of the violation of its observer’s rights. However, the Court rejected the complaint filed by HCA Vanadzor and the Organization’s observer challenging the lawfulness of the territorial electoral commission’s actions and the decision made, and, under Article 213 § 1, the plaintiffs were deprived of the opportunity to appeal the decision by the order of re-examination.
Upon the decision of December 19, 2017, the Constitutional Court declared that Article 213 § 1 of the RA Administrative Procedure Code complies with the RA Constitution, taking into account the fact that elections are a term-based procedure and therefore the decision made after the summarization of the election results can lose its meaning.
However, the Constitutional Court declared that, based on the need to ensure the effective exercise of a person’s right to judicial protection, an examination was to be conducted in a collegial formation with regard to the electoral disputes on the legal acts and documents serving as a basis for the summarization of the election results.
In fact, the Constitutional Court found that the current regulations of the RA Administrative Procedure Code do not guarantee a person’s right to a fair trial, which should be corrected; in particular, the disputes on electoral disputes should be examined in a collegial formation.
The Constitutional Court emphasized that the examination of electoral disputes should be conducted in a short period of time, and the final judiciary acts should be executed before summarizing the elections.
Thus, as assessed by the Constitutional Court, the provision of the right to re-examination can lead to a situation where the judicial acts are executed following the summarization of the election results. Therefore, the legislative body of the Republic of Armenia should amend Article 208 of the RA Administrative Procedure Code, providing examination in a collegial formation, even in the case of resolving the electoral disputes in regard to registering the violations in the registers of the territorial electoral commissions.
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