13:12, March 2, 2012

The results and recommendations of an OSCE-supported study on early
conditional release system (parole) in Armenia were discussed today
in Yerevan.

The study was carried out between May and September 2011 by the
non-governmental organization Civil Society Institute with the support
of the OSCE Office in Yerevan. Officials and experts engaged in
the early conditional release system, including judges, advocates,
current and former members of independent commissions gave their
views in anonymous interviews. The aim of the study was to promote
the reform of criminal justice, especially of the conditional release
system to help decrease the prison population.

"The study highlighted concerns and dissatisfaction over the
functioning of early conditional release mechanism in Armenia,
which are frequently voiced," said Vladimir Tchountoulov, the Human
Rights Officer of the OSCE Office in Yerevan. "We hope that the
recommendations included in the study will help to improve the system
and to raise confidence in the criminal justice system, as well as
effectiveness of rehabilitation efforts."

The study analyzes Armenian legislation in the light of international
standards and good practices. It offers a set of recommendations
regarding principles and criteria for taking decisions on early
conditional release, the role of penitentiary institutions in the
process, supervision mechanisms, as well as ways of changing conditions
and revoking decisions.

Arman Danielyan, the President of the Civil Society Institute added:
"Reforming the early conditional release system in Armenia and raising
its effectiveness will require several years of continuous efforts. It
is necessary to review powers, composition and procedures of decision
making bodies and to introduce new tools and mechanisms. Penitentiary
system staff should not be the ones to take such decisions. Besides,
an independent probation service staffed with specially trained
professionals needs to be established."

The reforms of conditional release system are part of the draft of
the Legal and Judicial Reform Programme for 2012-2016 of the Republic
of Armenia.

Electronic version of the study is available here.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress