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Armenian army chief to ‘remain in office’, lawyer says

3-03-2021, 11:58 Armenia » Law
Armenian army chief to ‘remain in office’, lawyer says


3 March 2021, 11:58 - NovostiNK
The chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff must remain in office since the process of dismissing him runs counter to the Constitution, according to Gohar Meloyan, an expert in constitutional law.

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian refused to sign a decree drafted by the prime minister to sack Onik Gasparyan for a second time on Tuesday. Also, he asked the Constitutional Court to determine the compliance of the 2017 law “On the Status of Military Service and Servicemen” with the Constitution. But the decree was said to automatically enter into force in three days' time under the law.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the lawyer cited Article 155 (Part 3) of the Constitution, which says the highest military official of the armed forces is the General Staff chief, who is appointed by the president upon recommendation of the prime minister, for the term prescribed by law.

“Therefore, the powers to remove the chief of the General Staff from office are limited by the Constitution in order to preserve the inviolability of the armed forces in the event of a balance of political forces. (The grounds for dismissal are general: loss of citizenship, a final conviction, resignation, etc.).

“Article 139 of the Constitution defines the cases and procedures for the appointment and dismissal of the highest command staff of the Armed Forces and other troops but do not provide the authority to dismiss the General Staff chief. Hence, the Constitution gives a special status to the General Staff chief and does not authorize either the president or the prime minister of the country to dismiss him,” she said.

“As for Article 40.3 of the law “On the Status of Military Service and Servicemen”, which envisages the opportunity of discretionary dismissal of senior military officials, first of all, it does not apply to the General Staff chief, because, as I said, the Constitution does not provide for such an opportunity, and the Constitution is superior to the law, while the constitutional bodies are authorized to carry out only such actions which are envisaged by the Constitution. Second, the Constitution separates the chief of the General Staff from the highest command staff of the Armed Forces and other troops, noting that the General Staff chief is the most senior military official of the Armed Forces, giving him a special constitutional status.

“Therefore, the process of dismissing the General Staff chief is illegal in itself, and Onik Gasparyan will continue to hold office,” Meloyan said.



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