YPC Weekly Newsletter

2010


DRAFT LAW PACKAGE, PRESCRIBING DECRIMINALIZATION FOR LIBEL AND INSULT, PASSED

On May 18 RA National Assembly adopted in second hearing and finally the draft
law package “On Introducing Amendments and Supplements to RA Civil Code”, “On
Introducing Amendments to RA Criminal Code”, “On Introducing an Amendment to
RA Criminal Procedure Code”. As it has been reported, draft laws, decriminalizing
libel and insult, as well as introducing the institute of moral loss compensation,
were adopted in first hearing on March 18, 2010. On April 9 parliamentary hearings,
on which the representatives of journalistic community voiced a number of key
observations, were held. For implementing the recommendations a working group,
staffed by representatives of journalistic associations, including YPC, was
formed under the NA Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs (see YPC Weekly
Newsletter, April 9-15, 2010).

Eventhough within the first and second hearings some changes, proposed by the
working group, were introduced to the draft regarding RA Civil Code, it still
has a number of important shortcomings. In particular, the size of moral compensation
is considered unjustified. The draft prescribes that while defining the size
of the compensation the courts have to take into account the form of libel and
insult, their extension, as well as the material status of the person, disseminating
libel and insult. Nevertheless, in the absence of judicial precedents, such
a vague formulation is fraught with arbitrary court decisions regarding the
compensation size. Besides, as before the definitions of “libel” and “false
denunciation” in Civil and Criminal Codes are not clearly distinguished. This
can become ground for confusion in future, as it has been many times in the
judicial and investigative practice of Armenia. In its turn, this fact does
not permit to talk about the full decriminalization of libel.