Announcement on the “Law on Levying the Property of Illegal Origin” and 14 pertinent laws presented for signature to the President of Armenia
The “Law on Levying the Property of Illegal Origin” and 14 pertinent laws were presented to the President of Armenia for signature on April 21, 2020.
The Government substantiates the adoption of the Law by the necessity to enhance the fight against crime and in this context to levy the property of illegal origin acquired through criminal activities.
During the discussions related to the Law and after it was presented to the President of Armenia for signature, multiple non-governmental organizations, foreign investors, legal and expert community and representatives of business circles, lawyers and individual citizens sent their concerns to the Presidential Administration related to constitutionality of the Law, possible risks in the course of its implementation as well as regarding a negative impact of the Law on the economic development, investment climate and financial stability and its repercussions.
The Presidential Administration discussed all concerns and observations in detail and consistently with the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on State and Legal Affairs and Minister of Justice and received clarifications. The President of Armenia attaches the utmost importance to the fight against crime.
At the same time, it is expected that the Law will be applied with a strict adherence to the objective it is being adopted for, as an exceptional measure in the fight particularly against the socially dangerous crimes. An inappropriate application of the Law can undermine trust toward the state and endanger its efficiency. The Law associates with the framework of the fundamental human rights and envisages interference with the mentioned rights which means that adequate legal guarantees must be provided in the course of its application.
It is also necessary to take into consideration a particular sensitivity of the issues related to the protection of the personal data, entrepreneurial and professional activities and bank secrecy for the business community in particular and public at large in general. Since the Law encompasses a wide range of individuals to whom it can be applied, it is important that the volume of information pertinent to these individuals is meaningful, necessary, proportionate and complies with the objectives set during the adoption of the law.
The Law must be applied taking into consideration the right of people for privacy and family life, constitutional demands on the protection of personal data and exclude any unproportioned interference with that data.
Any abuse of the acquired information in the course of application of the Law must be ruled out. It is necessary to ensure that the rights of individuals are not violated, the information is not collected for unnecessary and illegal purposes, is not stored and used baselessly, is not used to hinder the entrepreneurial activities and is not used to create unequal competition for investors and businesses.
In this context, it is necessary to underscore that on February 6, 2020 the President of Armenia appealed to the Constitutional Court and challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions in the “Law on the amendments and changes to the Constitutional law on the Judicial Code of the Republic of Armenia” and the pertinent “Law on amendments to the Law on Bank Secrecy.” The appeal is to be examined on June 16, 2020.
The Law must be applied with the highest sense of responsibility to exclude any corruption manifestations, discrimination, risks of inappropriate impact.
In addition, in the course of implementation of the Law, efficient legal assistance and protection of the rights of individuals must be guaranteed unequivocally, precise and working mechanisms to return the unlawfully levied property and reimbursement of losses must be worked out.
It is expected that in the course of application of the Law the levied property will be managed in a legal and purposeful way, based on the principles of transparency and accountability for the benefit of the state and its citizens.
It is further expected that with regard to the third persons, who have no part in criminal activities and acquired the property in a lawful manner, particularly the entrepreneurs, who make use of the mentioned property in the investment projects and entrepreneurial activities, the Law is applied with the utmost responsibility, excluding any possible negative impact on the investment and business environment.
The President of Armenia signed today the “Law on Levying the Property of Illegal Origin” and 14 pertinent laws.
It must be stressed that the constitutionality of each judicial norm, in accordance with the RA legislation, is regarded also from the viewpoint of its content and legal applicability. The international and national experience of constitutional justice nonetheless prove that the constitutionality of a legal provision is conditioned not only by the lack of its non-compliance or contradiction to the Constitutional norms but also by the interpretation of that provision in term of legal applicability. Stressing the importance of this starting point, the President of Armenia views as essential to refer in the future to the legal opinions and possible interpretations of the Law in the course of its application.
In the framework of the authority vested in him by the Constitution, the President of Armenia will follow closely a judicious and appropriate application of the laws.