President attends Constitutional Court Session Hall naming ceremony
Today, President Serzh Sargsyan visited the Constitutional Court where he attended the ceremony of naming the Constitutional Court’s Session Hall after outstanding representatives of Armenian jurisprudence Shahamir and Hakob Shahamiryans.
Before that, accompanied by incumbent Constitutional Court President Hrayr Tovmasyan and former CC President, Supreme Judicial Council Chairman Gagik Harutyunyan, the President of Armenia toured the Constitutional Court’s library, which is named after Gagik Harutyunyan and boasts rich legal, scientific, journalistic materials and professional manuals, intended not only for CC members and staff, but also for legal experts and students. The CC President noted that he was going to digitize the library and make it more accessible to the users thanks to new technologies.
During the ceremony of naming the CC Session Hall after Shamir and Hakob Shahamiryans, the President of Armenia congratulated those present on the event and wished the incumbent and former Presidents of the Constitutional Court every success in their most important and responsible mission aimed at enhancing the quality of justice in Armenia.
The moment is really quite symbolic: first of all, in terms of the ongoing fundamental transformations in Armenia. Now, there is rich study material for future historians. And I hope their overall assessment will be positive. In turn, we should do our best to make it a reality.
Armenian legal thought has gone a long way to development. 200 years ago, Shahamir and Hakob Shahamiryans came up with innovative ideas and spoke about the importance of public institutions - the institutions that today serve as a basis for modern democracies.
I believe that the moment when this hall is being named after the renowned Armenian legal thinkers will continue to be symbolic for decision-makers, and, of course, for people who will ever enter the hall. I congratulate all of us for this good initiative. We appreciate our dear ones, and this is a very important circumstance. Taking the opportunity, I would like to thank Gagik Harutyunyan for his valuable contribution and congratulate him on the 70th anniversary of his birth.
In our times it is not easy to find a person who is hard-working and purposeful. Gagik Harutyunyan has always been where it was difficult and challenging. And he has always been consistent in dealing with different problems.
I think this was the main reason why the Supreme Judicial Council chose him as president of that important body. Thank you very much, Gagik Garoushi. I do not want to speak for too long, because you continue to hold office in another important position, which is very unique in our country, very unique.
You must be able to secure the independence of judges and courts together with your partners, and for that you must be the first to be independent. Otherwise, if you are not independent you will hardly be able to secure the independence of others. Therefore, good words can be viewed as another circumstance and not an assessment of earnings.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Hrayr Tovmasyan on his election as President of the Constitutional Court. Mr. Tovmasyan, I wish you every success and good luck as you are taking over this extremely important steering wheel from Mr. Harutyunyan’s skillful hands. It puts a heavy burden on your shoulders.
Indeed, Hrair Tovmasyan is not a new person in our legal community. He is one of the authors of our Constitution Reform. The concept of “architectural control” is used in construction. In this case, I think, Hrayr Tovmasyan will exercise this “architectural control” with thoughtfulness and care. As much as I know Hrayr Tovmasyan, the supremacy of the Constitution is a matter of principle and a matter of conviction for him. I would like it to be continuous.
As I have said many times, we have a problem of improving the quality of public management. It cannot be addressed by a single person or a separate entity. It is the task of all of us – those who have decided to participate in the difficult, but honorable work of State building.
We have a problem of public perception, the problem of correct transmission and presentation of our work to the public. There is still much to do here. I am convinced that the Constitutional Court, as well as the newly established Supreme Council will do their best to raise the quality of justice in Armenia and, not less important, to raise the level of public perception.
I wish all of us good luck and a good start,” President Serzh Sargsyan said in his welcoming speech.
President of the Constitutional Court Hrayr Tovmasyan thanked the President and all those present for attending the event and went on to note that in a bid to comply with his colleagues’ advice, he had made his mind to start his activity in the Constitutional Court with a symbolic move, and finally he decided in favor of this emblematic event.
“Published as early as in 1783, the “Vorogayt Parats” (Snare of Glory) by Shahamir and Hakob Shahamiryans was the first draft of a constitution in the world, written a few years earlier than the constitution of the United States, Poland and France appeared. It was also a program of Armenian national liberation movement and its theoretical justification.
It is noteworthy that as a matter of fact, the “Vorogayt Parats” substantiates the idea of parliamentary form of government, and it is symbolic that 230 years later we chose the path indicated by our compatriots that has become the basis for a democratic system in many countries. In just a few days we will switch over to the parliamentary system of governance.
The “Vorogayt Parats” is a precept to build the rule of law, and respect the supremacy of Constitution; in modern constitutional terms, it is the pledge for national progress, freedom and happiness.
Distinguished Mr. President,
Today’s gathering has another meaning, and it is difficult for me to say whether it is more or less important than the first one. Today, we named one of the halls of the Constitutional Court after the first President of the Constitutional Court, famous statesman Gagik Harutyunyan. Of course, this is a small piece of appreciation for Gagik Harutyunyan’s legacy, but at the same time, it has another meaning as it is a message to all future generations that the path to building statehood and ensuring constitutionalism to be embarked upon by the Constitutional Court as an institution and the State system in general, goes through appreciation, acknowledgement and continuity.
It was very important for me to start my job with this initiative symbolizing the continuity that we have to ensure for the Constitutional Court that used to be headed by Mr. Harutyunyan,” Constitutional Court Chairman Hrayr Tovmasyan said. Noting that today’s event comes on Gagik Harutyunyan;s last day in office, he handed over a small and symbolic souvenir to Gagik Harutyunyan on this occasion.
“It was difficult to choose souvenirs, which should symbolize today’s meaning and Mr. Harutyunyan’s personality. And what has been chosen, Mr. Harutyunyan, in essence, is my idea and Gagik Harutyunyan, a sculptor, with a strong foot on his feet, not standing, but with his feet in the soil, the seed is in his hand, and the seeds are visible, a person who works hard, who loves his homeland and creates a new system. Mr. Harutyunyan, I want to give this to you as a sign of gratitude and appreciation,” Hrayr Tovmasyan conculded.
Former President of the Constitutional Court, Supreme judicial Council Chairman Gagik Harutyunyan expressed gratitude for appreciation and similar attitude and underlined that Shahamir and Hakob Shahamiryans had a special significance for him in Armenian history.
“Many years ago, when we started publishing the “Vorogaut Parats” in modern Armenian, we found with great difficulty the photos of Shahamir and Hakob Shahamiryans. We created this work mostly based on archival materials. Our society and, especially, the community of lawyers made sure that it had some background and was the summary of our people’s historical thinking.
Many are aware that with the support of the Catholicos of All Armenians, we have initiated the publication of a two-volume book, referred to as “The constitutional culture in the centuries-old history of the people who was the first to adopt Christianity as a State religion.” It is about three thousand pages and will be published later this year. The book will come out in English next year, so that the world can read and recognize. The whole chain will be reflected in it - from the Aratta Kingdom to the Shahamirians and beyond. The book will be summed up in a summary article entitled “Lessons of history and the motto of time.”
The only thing I can say is that success can be expected only where there is continuity, when stones succeed each other, or drops grow into a lake or river. I would recommend to all my colleagues and Constitutional Court members to take note of the following: what we have done so far is preparatory work.
You may remember that by 2005, we had examined the constitutionality of only ten laws over the past ten years, while today we are examining as much within just two months. Ten years and two months. However, the new constitutional amendments open a completely new arena.
Tomorrow, the next day, from 9th of the month, when the new law will come into effect, new applicants may appear at the Constitutional Court and the workload and responsibility shall increase. I am convinced that the initial conditions we have been able to create will give us the opportunity to live up to such high responsibility.
Our task is the following: a lot has been done in terms of constitutional amendments, many have been communicating outside, you have had meetings, speeches in conferences and you have seen that there is no country today to speak of constitutional developments and not praise the process done in Armenia. But everything can stay on paper, if it does not look the same way in real life. Not a situation when we have a constitution, but the constitutionality is incompatible with it is not equivalent. We must really be able to implement the Constitution.
Mr. Tovmasyan, I have known you for a very long time and have witnessed your whole experience. I cherish great hopes, I have great confidence that first of all, the internal atmosphere of friendship and partnership will help solve the problem of collaborative work, leading to event greater achievements. You know that I am with you; I will always be your supporter. We will do our best not only for the Constitutional Court, but also for the judicial system in the country.
The situation is that yes, there is a dynamics, there are steps, but as an established system, we must start from the basics and be able to implement what we wanted during the constitutional reforms, which was initiated by the President of the Republic. It depends on each of us, all our colleagues.
I am confident that collaborative work will enable us to ensure quality and say what we really did and were doing, we were right, and with the suggestion or initiative that the President of the Republic made and implemented this constitutional model or this mechanism is viable and can lead to many positive changes in the country. I wish you happiness and fruitful work. Together, we shall try to tackle the problems that are longing for solution and should be solved soonest possible,” Gagik Harutyunyan said.