10, 2014

Address by President Serzh Sargsyan to the participants of the 19th international conference on Issues of Constitutional Justice held in Yerevan


Honorable participants of the conference,

I am very glad that eminent constitutional experts from more than 20 countries have revisited Armenia to discuss an issue of exceptional importance – the constitutional status of human dignity.

I am also happy that except for becoming a good tradition, the Yerevan conferences on issues of constitutional justice have acquired international significance.

I would like to lay special emphasis on the topic of the current conference and the immediate connection of the issue in question with guaranteeing the constitutional principle of the rule of law.

The recent 20-year-old history of the Republic of Armenia pertaining to constitutional developments also bears testimony to the fact that there is no alternative to the guarantee of the rule of law in order to establish a legal system and a democratic state. The latter can’t be just a kind wish. It requires adequate constitutional solutions, a harmonious and effective legal system, efficient mechanisms, a legal mentality and a necessary environment for legal culture.

All this is not achieved at once and in one day. We can expect to succeed in case when guaranteeing the rule of law has become a vital task on the public policy agenda, when it is the driving force of political thought, when one’s dignity is the inseparable and guaranteed companion of its everyday social manifestations.

We attach greater value to the issue in question considering that the Republic of Armenia has launched an important constitutional amendment process. Just a few days ago, the specialized commission presented the Concept Paper on Constitutional Amendments. It was also discussed and approved at the plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and will enter a period of political discussions in the near future.

It is difficult to claim that our social system facing great challenges and being radically transformed over the last 20-25 years is based on firm and desired democratic principles, human rights are guaranteed and protected, and there exists a judicial system corresponding to the standards of effective legal systems. We can achieve it by guaranteeing adequate constitutional developments and taking useful lessons from the experience of the international community and especially, of new democratic countries. I have already had occasion to emphasize: “People, political forces and today’s passing interests are all short-lived; the Constitution is for generations.” A constitution which will be based on a stable and firm value system and a social environment where those values will become living facts both for the country and its people.

Indeed, the constitutional institute of human dignity, coupled with legal mechanisms needed for its realization, is the cornerstone of such a constitution. I am sure that the 19th international conference being held in Yerevan will produce reports and trigger discussions on this urgent issue playing a helpful role both in terms of constitutional developments and the practice of constitutional justice.

I wish you fruitful work and pleasant days in our hospitable country.

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