Two out of three main principles of the Aarhus Convention are not met in Armenia, i.e. public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. This says the letter addressed by 3 NGOs, “Transparency International – Anticorruption Center”, “EcoDar” and the Helsinki Civil Assembly Office in Vanadzor to the Secretariat of the Aarhus Convention on 15 September 2009.
As a reminder: these organizations twice applied to the Administrative Court of RA: first time with a lawsuit to recognize illegal the following documents: two positive expert opinions of the State Environmental Expert Commission of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, the government decision on the exploitation of Teghout deposit, as well as licenses issued to Armenian Copper Program (AСР) permitting the exploitation of Teghout deposit, second time with an appeal for the dismissal to deal with this lawsuit. The Administrative Court refused the examination of both lawsuits.
The letter addressed to the Secretariat points out the violations of the main provisions of the Aarhus Convention, which Armenia ratified in May 2001. The Aarhus Convention is an effective instrument for implementing democratic principles in the environmental sphere.
Thus, the letter points out that “the decisions and actions of the state bodies in regard to the exploitation of Teghout deposit violate Paragraph 2, Article 6 (about ensuring public participation in the initial stages), Paragraph 4, Article 6 (ensuring effective public participation), Paragraph 8, Article 6 (the decisions shall reflect the results of public participation), and Paragraph 9, Article 6 (public shall immediately informed about the decisions adopted)”. The dismissal of the lawsuits by the Administration is a direct violation of the third section of the Aarhus Convention – access to justice.
September 22, 2009