Available in Russian
Author: Artur Ghambaryan
Keywords: contra legem law development; contra constitutionem behavior; constitutional delict; parliament; amendments to the Constitution; constitutional control; principle of preservation of statehood; legal principle nemo iudex in sua causa
The purpose of the article is to reveal the essence of contra constitutionem law development by the Armenian parliament in the context of its conflict with the Constitutional Court concerning the 2020 constitutional amendments. The objectives of the article are to present the concept and conditions for the justification of the contra constitutionem behavior of the parliament, to assess the need for its behavior contra constitutionem based on an urgent need for ensuring state-protective constitutional principles, and to discuss issues arising from the legal principle nemo iudex in sua causa as applied to the legitimacy of the inaction of the National Assembly. This appears contrary to the constitutional requirement to apply to the Constitutional Court for a determination of the constitutionality of the draft constitutional amendments of 2020. In the first part of the article, the parliament’s contra constitutionem behavior is discussed as to the concept of contra legem law development. Differences in the concepts of the contra legem and contra constitutionеm law development are also presented. In the case of the contra constitutionem law development, the parliament in a specific situation acts contrary to the requirements of a specific norm of the Constitution, but still in accordance with the state-protective constitutional principles enshrined in the constituent documents of the state. In the second part of the article, the author discusses the legitimacy of the adoption by the Parliament of the draft constitutional amendments for 2020 without applying to the Constitutional Court. The author qualifies this not as a contra constitutionem law development but as a violation of the Constitution itself, since the behavior of the Parliament was not aimed at ensuring state-protective constitutional principles in a state of necessity. The article discusses the decision of the Court of April 29, 2021, on the legitimacy of the behavior of the Parliament, in which it introduced a “reasonable exception” rule so as to justify the Parliament’s the adoption of the constitutional amendments of 2020 without recourse to the preliminary review of the Court. The author concludes that the conditions for the legitimacy of behavior contra constitutionem are actions in a state of emergency, based on state-protective principles and the impossibility of making urgent changes to the Constitution. Behavior contrary to the Constitution can be regarded as contra constitutionem law development, if the condition is met of curbing power-seeking.
About the author: Artur Ghambaryan – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Professor, Head of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University Department of Theory of Law and Constitutional Law, Honored Lawyer of the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia.
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