The draft law on Domestic Violence has been returned by the Government of the RA to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs mid January 2013 with the suggestion to make relevant changes in several legislative codes, i.e. Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Code of Administrative Violations; which are currently undergoing major reforms.
Ms. Henriette Ahrens, GTG co-chair and UNICEF Representative opened the meeting by briefing the general situation regarding the draft law on Domestic Violence.
Representative of Ministry of Justice started the discussion by presenting the Ministry’s standpoint on the draft law. He mainly stated that in the draft there are incompatibilities with the Constitution and other legal codes of the RA.
Then Government representative presented their approach towards this issue. She stressed that the Government is well aware about the issue, has appropriate capabilities to deal with it and is as concerned about the topic as civil society representatives. She expressed readiness to work with all interested parties in this matter. She added that there are working groups within the Ministry of Justice who are working on amendments of Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, and suggested to include representatives of women’s organizations dealing with domestic violence issues in these working groups for further cooperation.
As a response the representative of OSI-Armenia spoke about 2 approaches: 1) it’s a must and we can have a separate law on DV; 2) protecting rights by making amendments in several legal documents in a longer run in a comprehensive manner. She stressed that she is for having a separate law on DV and added that Armenia took this liability of having a separate law on DV and it’s not an obligation put on us by Europe. Ms. Minasyan stated that even in case the current draft law contradicts the Constitution it can be changed. She added that it is very difficult to justify current approach under the obligations that the country took. There was also a viewpoint stressing that the meeting itself proves that people are concerned about the topic, and there is no need to fight with each other. She stressed that taking into account the international best practices a separate law is required to combat DV in Armenia.
Mr. Oliver McCoy, GTG co-chair wrapped up the meeting by thanking everyone for their participation. He stated that besides differences in opinion, it was imperative that this type of dialogue continue.