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Armenia: Judicial Code Enters into Force

(Feb. 2, 2008) On January 1, 2008, the Judicial Code, which was passed by the Armenian legislature on April 28, 2007, entered into force. For the first time, a post-Soviet republic has adopted a legal act that includes all legislative norms regulating the principles and practices of the judiciary and that establishes new, revolutionary norms aimed at changing the nation's judicial practice and traditions completely. The major novelty is the introduction of the precedential value of the judicial decisions. According to the Code, all rulings of the Armenian Court of Cassation, the nation's highest court for the majority of the cases, must be taken into account by the Court of Cassation in resolving similar issues, as well as by lower-level courts. Publication of all rulings issued by the Court of Cassation made after January 1, 2008, is required. Special provisions have been made to organize the online publication of the judgments. In order to fight corruption within the judiciary, the Code provides for random assignment of cases to judges and prosecutors, instead of prescribed assignment as was the rule before. (S. Gurginian, Armenian Judicial Code Is the Best in the World [in Russian], NOVOE VREMIA, No. 48, Dec. 25, 2007 (on file with author).)