Civil Society to Appeal to RA President on the Issue of Unconstitutional Amendments to Mining Code

Civil Society to Appeal to RA President on the Issue of Unconstitutional Amendments to Mining Code

On May 30, 2022, 44 non-governmental organizations, initiatives and individuals applied to RA President Vahagn Khachaturyan with a proposal not to sign RA draft law "On Making Amendments to RA Mining Code" and to organize a discussion with the interested public. The letter says:

"Dear Mr. President,

We appeal to you as the guarantor of RA Constitution, in case of the adoption of RA draft law "On Making Amendments to RA Mining Code" on the grounds that it will not be signed as unconstitutional.

RA draft law "On Making Amendments and Addenda to RA Mininv Code" approved in the first reading at the meeting of the National Assembly on April 12 contradicts RA Constitution, Aarhus Convention, and RA Law on "Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise".

This draft law proposes to supplement the Code with a new Article 55.1, which provides for the extension of the soil management right on the basis of insurmountable force. Among a number of causes: fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, such as explosions, war, terrorism, civil war, civil disobedience will be considered an insurmountable force, together with various manifestations of protests, as a result of which it was not possible to organize soil management at the mine. Under the draft, the terms of the existing soil management right will be extended for the maximum of those circumstances, without conducting a new examination.

The legal regulations on the extension of the soil management right on the basis of force majeure shall apply to the soil managers who have received the right of soil management before the entry into force of this law, if the force majeure arose during the four years preceding the day this law enters into force. This legislative amendment is, in fact, a restriction on the constitutional right to hold public meetings, rallies, marches, demonstrations, as well as the right to participate in decision-making under the Aarhus Convention, is anti-democratic.

The provision of retroactive effect of this draft law is unconstitutional, as according to Part 1 of Article 73 of RA Constitution ․ “1. Laws that worsen the legal status of a person and other legal acts have no retroactive force.” This legislative change worsens the legal situation of the whole society, violates its rights. It is problematic that, according to the draft law, projects with a modified schedule or geological survey programs will not be subject to a new environmental safety and technical safety assessment.

The amendment to the Code is in contradiction with the current RA Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise, which states in Article 20, Clause 7: "The expert opinion shall lose its validity if the implementation of the envisaged activity does not start within one year after the expert opinion is issued."


Honorable Mr. President,

In order to form a complete opinion on the issue, we suggest organizing a discussion among you and the stakeholder society involving also independent experts with professional and legal knowledge.


Best regards,


1.      "EcoLur" Informational NGO

2.      "Center for Community Consolidation and Support " NGO

3.      "Forests of Armenia" Environmental NGO

4.      "Green Armenia" Environmental NGO

5.      "Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center" NGO

6.      Armenian Environmental Front Voluntary Civic Initiative

7.      Public Environmental Alliance

8.      Dalma-Sona Foundation

9.      "Asparez" Journalists' Club

10.   "Direct Democracy" NGO

11.   “Journalists for Future” NGO

12.   “Dialogue for Peace” NGO

13.   “Lore EcoClub” NGO

14.   "Protection of Rights without Borders" NGO

15.   "Tukhmanuk" NGO

16.   “Lori Youth and Community Development Center” NGO

17.   “Honey” Youth Center Volunteering Initiative

18.   "Spitak Helsinki Group" Human Rights NGO

19.   "Helsinki Association" Human Rights NGO

20.   Syuniq Regional Support to Disabled People “Voghji” NGO

21.   “Public Supervision” Human Rights NGO

22.   “Mitq” Educational and Youth Initiative NGO

23.   “Educational Center For Equal Rights” NGO

24.   “VELES” Human Rights NGO

25.   “EHAK” NGO

26.   Information Freedom Center

27.   “Women’s Support Center” NGO

28.   Yerevan Press Club

29.   Vanadzor office of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly

30.   "Cinemart" Youth NGO

31.   Media Initiatives Center

32.   Club for Public Journalism

33.   "Civic Youth Center" NGO

34.   Goris Press Club

35.   "Women's Rights House" NGO

36.   “New Horizons” NGO

37.   "Armenian Progressive Youth" NGO

38.   Open Society Foundations – Armenia

39.   Coalition against Violence towards Women

40.   “Dilijan Youth Cooperation Center” NGO

41.   “Stepanavan Youth Center” NGO

42.   “HEBA” NGO

43.   Arthur Hambardzumyan, Environmental Lawyer

44.   Eduard Arzumanyan, expert in Energy Sector.”

May 30, 2022 at 16:12