The partnership between Southwestern and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia enables the Southwestern Armenia Fellow to work directly with the Ministry for a one-year full-time position in Yerevan, Armenia. As articulated in the agreement, the goal is for the position "to serve the developing legal system in Armenia." The Fellowship position is governed by the terms of the agreement (see Memorandum of Understanding above for full terms of the agreement).
The Armenia Fellow will be a Southwestern employee who will reside in and work with the Ministry of Justice in Yerevan, Armenia. The Fellow's work for 2012-13 will involve one or more of the following areas, with specific tasks and targets to be identified prior to start of the Fellowship. The Fellow will also be required to provide periodic reports to Southwestern as well as presentations upon completing the Fellowship.
- Redrafting the entire Civil Code; and, in conformity with the revised Civil Code, drafting civil law legislation for various areas (e.g., lease agreements; mortgages), as well as reviewing legislative drafts prepared by the Ministry or other bodies.
- Revising the Civil Procedure Code (e.g., summons and due process; adjudication time limits), as well as reviewing legislative drafts prepared by the Ministry or other bodies.
- Reforming the criminal justice system in the areas of sentencing, incarceration, and reintegration (e.g., revising the Criminal Code to provide sentencing commensurate with gravity of offense; revising the system of punishments provided by the Criminal Code; and considering alternatives to incarceration for first-time offenders).
- Reforming the penitentiary system, including drafting legislation and developing implementation standards and instructions (in conformity with international human rights standards and best practices).
- Developing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including arbitration and mediation, as well as training mediators (e.g., reviewing Law on Commercial Arbitrations of the Republic of Armenia to expand the scope of disputes subject to arbitration; drafting arbitration and conciliation rules; developing uniform system across various industries; developing guarantees for consumer protection in arbitrations involving consumers as parties; developing confidence in and utilization of ADR among businesses and others).
- Revising provisions of the Judicial Code to balance independence of the judiciary with accountability of the judiciary, as well as reviewing provisions governing the disciplinary procedure for judges, rules of ethics, and the bodies responsible for supervision of judicial ethical standards.
- Providing legal writing and legal reasoning training for judges, attorneys, and the Ministry of Justice staff.
- Providing assistance to the Ministry of Justice in developing better governance and better law- making schemes within the Ministry, which may also be applied to other parts of the government (e.g., best practices for accountability, communications, and workload management).
- Assisting in development of NGO/CSO cooperation schemes (e.g., counsel of NGOs), including drafting and implementing framework documents; enhancing NGOs' cooperation and communications with the Ministry of Justice (e.g., identifying areas of needs/gaps); and providing assistance to NGOs, including preparation of proposals, and fund-raising (grant writing) training.
- Researching certain areas specified by the Ministry of Justice not listed above, as well as reviewing certain legislative drafts prepared by the Ministry or other bodies.