Country

Armenia

Armenia

Name of law : Law of the Republic of Armenia on Freedom of Information
First adopted : 2003

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 3
Scope 30 24
Requesting procedures 30 18
Exceptions 30 20
Appeals 30 19
Sanctions 8 2
Promotional measures 16 10
TOTAL 150 96

Right of Access

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1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 NO Link to constitution (English version) http://www.parliament.am/parliament.php?id=constitution&lang=eng
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 YES Article 1, Section 2. "This law applies to the activity of the state and local self-government bodies, state offices, organizations financed from the state budget, as well as private organizations of public importance and their state officials."
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 Partially Article 4. Main Principles of Securing Information Freedom "Main principles of securing information freedom are: a) definition of unified procedures to record, classify and maintain information b) insurance of freedom to seek and get information c) insurance of information access d) publicity."




Scope

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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES Article 6.2. "Foreign citizens can enjoy the rights and freedoms foreseen by the following law as defined by the Republic of Armenia Law and/or in cases defined by international treaties." / Article 9, Section 1 "A written inquiry must be signed to include applicant´s name, last name, citizenship, place of residence, work or study (in case of legal persons: name, physical address)". Foreigners are included under the scope. As article 9 clarifies, the legal entities are included too.
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES Article 3. Main Concepts Used in the Following Law Main concepts used in the following law include: Freedom of Information - exercise of the right to seek and get information from its holder, as defined by legislation. Information - records/data of facts, people, subjects, events, phenomena, processes that are received and formed as defined by legislation, despite of the way those are possessed or their material carrier (electronic or hard copy documents, records, videos, films, photos, drawings, schemes, notes, maps, etc.) Information holder - state bodies, local self-government bodies, state offices, state budget sponsored organizations as well as organizations of public importance and their officials. Organization of public importance - private organizations that have monopoly or a leading role in the goods market, as well as those providing services to public in the sphere of health, sport, education, culture, social security, transport, communication and communal services. Inquiry - a written or oral application to the information holder with a view of seeking or getting information as defined by the following law. Publication - making the information available for population via printed media and other means of mass media, via World Wide Web, as well as by other ways as defined by legislation." The concepts in the Article 3 are: Freedom of Information; Information; Information Holder; Organization of Public Importance; Inquiry; Publication.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES Article 3. "<...> Information - records/data of facts, people, subjects, events, phenomena, processes that are received and formed as defined by legislation, despite of the way those are possessed or their material carrier (electronic or hard copy documents, records, videos, films, photos, drawings, schemes, notes, maps, etc.). <...>" Article 9 "Procedures of Information Inquiry Application and Discussion 1. A written inquiry must be signed to include applicant’s name, last name, citizenship, place of residence, work or study (in case of legal persons: name, physical address). 2. A written inquiry is registered and processed as defined by the relevant legislation of processing civilian’s applications and appeals, separately from other types of administration. 3. A written inquiry remains unanswered if; a) it does not contain all the information mentioned in the 1st clause of the following Article; b) it is discovered that the information about the identity of the author are false; c) it is the second request on the part of the same person within the last 6 months for the same information, with the exception of the case foreseen by the 4th clause of the Article 10 of the following law. 4. The applicant does not have to justify the inquiry? 5. In case of oral inquiry, the applicant must in advance tell his name and last name. Oral inquiry is given an answer when: a) The disposal of the inquired information can prevent to state and public security, public order, public health and morals, other’s rights and freedoms, environment and person’s property. b) It is important to make sure that the given information holder has the relevant information. c) It is important to clarify the procedure according which the information holder processes the written inquiries. 6. The answer to the oral inquiry is given immediately after listening to the inquiry or within the shortest possible time frame. If the person making the oral inquiry is not telling his name, last name and/or the oral inquiry does not correspond to the conditions defined in the sub clauses a, b and c of the 5th clause of the following Article, then the information holder can decline the oral inquiry. 7. The answer to written inquiry is given in the following deadlines: a) If the information required by the written inquiry is not publicized, than the copy of that information is given tot the applicant within 5 days after the application is filed. b) If the information required by the written inquiry is publicized, than information on the means, place and time framework of that publication is given within 5 days after the application is filed. c) If additional work is needed to provide the information required, than the information is given to the applicant within 30 days after the application is filed, about which a written notice is being provided within 5 days after the application submission, highlighting the reasons for delay and the final deadline when the information will be provided. 8. The answer to written inquiry is given on the material carrier mentioned in that application. If the material carrier is not mentioned and it is impossible to clarify that within the time limits foreseen by the following law, than the answer to the written inquiry is given by the material carrier that is the most suitable for the information holder. 9. In the cases foreseen by the 7 a sub clause of the following Article, the person submitting inquiry can by his wish, as defined by legislation, get acquainted with the information within the premises of the information holder, getting back his written inquiry. 10. If the information holder does not possess the information sought or if the disclosure of that information is beyond its powers, than within 5 days after the written inquiry is filed, it must inform the applicant about that in a written form, and if it possible, also point out the information on the place and body, including archive, that holds that information. 11. If the information holder does not possess all the data on the inquired information, than it gives the applicant the part of the data, that it possesses and in case of possibility also points out in the written answer the information on the place and body, including archive that holds that information." Requesters should have a right to access both information and records/documents because it is included under the definition of information used in the law. The article 9 holds the procedure to access that information.
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES Article 1, Section 2. "This law applies to the activity of the state and local self-government bodies, state offices, organizations financed from the state budget, as well as private organizations of public importance and their state officials." Article 9, Section 10 "If the information holder does not possess the information sought or if the disclosure of that information is beyond its powers, `[...] it must [...] point out the information on the place and body, including archive, that holds that information." All the bodies seem to be included under the scope of the Act. Article 9 section 10 implies that archives are also included.
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES Article 1, Section 2. "This law applies to the activity of the state and local self-government bodies, state offices, organizations financed from the state budget, as well as private organizations of public importance and their state officials." This bodies and classes of information seems to be included under the scope of the Act.
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 NO Not specifically mentioned.
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES Article 1, Section 2. "This law applies to the activity of the state and local self-government bodies, state offices, organizations financed from the state budget, as well as private organizations of public importance and their state officials."
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 NO Not mentioned.
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES Article 1, Section 2. "This law applies to the activity of the state and local self-government bodies, state offices, organizations financed from the state budget, as well as private organizations of public importance and their state officials." Article 3: "Organization of public importance - private organizations that have monopoly or a leading role in the goods market, as well as those providing services to public in the sphere of health, sport, education, culture, social security, transport, communication and communal services."

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES Article 9, Section 4: "The applicant does not have to justify the inquiry."
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 NO Article 9, Section 1. "A written inquiry must be signed to include applicant’s name, last name, citizenship, place of residence, work or study (in case of legal persons: name, physical address)." Article 9. Section 5 "5. In case of oral inquiry, the applicant must in advance tell his name and last name." For the written inquiry requesters are asked for the residential address citizenship, if they work or study so it lost all score. In the case of oral inquiry the requesters are just asked for their names and last names. If any of these details are not given, the request will be refused (art. 9.6).
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 YES Article 9. Procedures of Information Inquiry Application and Discuss "Procedures of Information Inquiry Application and Discussion 1. A written inquiry must be signed to include applicant’s name, last name, citizenship, place of residence, work or study (in case of legal persons: name, physical address). 2. A written inquiry is registered and processed as defined by the relevant legislation of processing civilian’s applications and appeals, separately from other types of administration. 3. A written inquiry remains unanswered if; a) it does not contain all the information mentioned in the 1st clause of the following Article; b) it is discovered that the information about the identity of the author are false; c) it is the second request on the part of the same person within the last 6 months for the same information, with the exception of the case foreseen by the 4th clause of the Article 10 of the following law. 4. The applicant does not have to justify the inquiry? 5. In case of oral inquiry, the applicant must in advance tell his name and last name. Oral inquiry is given an answer when: a) The disposal of the inquired information can prevent to state and public security, public order, public health and morals, other’s rights and freedoms, environment and person’s property. b) It is important to make sure that the given information holder has the relevant information. c) It is important to clarify the procedure according which the information holder processes the written inquiries. 6. The answer to the oral inquiry is given immediately after listening to the inquiry or within the shortest possible time frame. If the person making the oral inquiry is not telling his name, last name and/or the oral inquiry does not correspond to the conditions defined in the sub clauses a, b and c of the 5th clause of the following Article, then the information holder can decline the oral inquiry. 7. The answer to written inquiry is given in the following deadlines: a) If the information required by the written inquiry is not publicized, than the copy of that information is given tot the applicant within 5 days after the application is filed. b) If the information required by the written inquiry is publicized, than information on the means, place and time framework of that publication is given within 5 days after the application is filed. c) If additional work is needed to provide the information required, than the information is given to the applicant within 30 days after the application is filed, about which a written notice is being provided within 5 days after the application submission, highlighting the reasons for delay and the final deadline when the information will be provided. 8. The answer to written inquiry is given on the material carrier mentioned in that application. If the material carrier is not mentioned and it is impossible to clarify that within the time limits foreseen by the following law, than the answer to the written inquiry is given by the material carrier that is the most suitable for the information holder. 9. In the cases foreseen by the 7 a sub clause of the following Article, the person submitting inquiry can by his wish, as defined by legislation, get acquainted with the information within the premises of the information holder, getting back his written inquiry. 10. If the information holder does not possess the information sought or if the disclosure of that information is beyond its powers, than within 5 days after the written inquiry is filed, it must inform the applicant about that in a written form, and if it possible, also point out the information on the place and body, including archive, that holds that information. 11. If the information holder does not possess all the data on the inquired information, than it gives the applicant the part of the data, that it possesses and in case of possibility also points out in the written answer the information on the place and body, including archive that holds that information." No requirements listed beyond the ones mentioned in the preceding question. Also It´s possible to make a request written (art. 9.1) or by oral form (art. 9.5).
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES Article 13, Section 2, Subsection B. "Person responsible for the Freedom of information according to the law: b) explains thoroughly the procedures, conditions and forms of providing information to the person seeking information". ; Article 12, Section A. "Information holders are responsible to: a) ensure information access and publicity."
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 NO
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 YES Article 9, Section 7, Subsection A. "If the information required by the written inquiry is not publicized, than the copy of that information is given tot the applicant within 5 days after the application is filed."
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES Article 9, Section 10. "If the information holder does not possess the information sought <...> it must inform the applicant about that in a written form, and if it possible, also point out the information on the place and body, including archive, that holds that information." Article 9, Section 11 "If the information holder does not possess all the data on the inquired information, than it gives the applicant the part of the data, that it possesses and in case of possibility also points out in the written answer the information on the place and body, including archive that holds that information." ; Article 11, Section 3. "3. In case of declining a written information request, information holder inform the applicant about it within 5 days in a written form, by mentioning the ground for the refusal (relevant norm of the law), time frame within which the decision of refusal was made, as well as the relevant appealing procedure."
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 YES Article 9, Section 8. "The answer to written inquiry is given on the material carrier mentioned in that application. If the material carrier is not mentioned and it is impossible to clarify that within the time limits foreseen by the following law, than the answer to the written inquiry is given by the material carrier that is the most suitable for the information holder."
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 Partially Article 9, Section 6. "The answer to the oral inquiry is given immediately after listening to the inquiry or within the shortest possible time frame. <...>" Article 9, Section 7, Subsection A "If the information required by the written inquiry is not publicized, than the copy of that information is given to the applicant within 5 days after the application is filed." Oral inquires are answered immediately, but written - "within 5 days after the application is filed."
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 YES Article 9, Section 7. "The answer to written inquiry is given in the following deadlines: a) If the information required by the written inquiry is not publicized, than the copy of that information is given tot the applicant within 5 days after the application is filed. b) If the information required by the written inquiry is publicized, than information on the means, place and time framework of that publication is given within 5 days after the application is filed. c) If additional work is needed to provide the information required, than the information is given to the applicant within 30 days after the application is filed, about which a written notice is being provided within 5 days after the application submission, highlighting the reasons for delay and the final deadline when the information will be provided. Article 9. Section 6 "The answer to the oral inquiry is given immediately after listening to the inquiry or within the shortest possible time frame. <...>" The timeline to respond a request is 5 days or 30 days if additional work is needed to provide the information for the written inquiry. For the oral inquiry there are shortest time limits.
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 NO Article 9, Section 7, Subsection C. " If additional work is needed to provide the information required, than the information is given to the applicant within 30 days after the application is filed." The established timeline extension is 30 days so it doesn´t score.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Article 10, Section 2. "The payment defined in the 1st clause of the current Article is not paid in the following cases: a) response to oral inquiries; b) for up to 10 pages of printed or copied information; c) for information via e-mail (internet); d) responding the written information inquiries mentioned in the 2nd clause of the Article 7; e) providing information about the changes of the deadline in the cases foreseen by the 7c sub clause and 10th clause of the Article 9; f) declining the information request." Article 10 establishes that for oral answers, for the first 10 pages and for refusals, there will be no charge.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 Partially Article 10. Conditions of Providing Information.Section 2, Subsection B. "The payment defined in the 1st clause of the current Article is not paid in the following cases: b) for up to 10 pages of printed or copied information". Article 10 establishes clear rules and provides that the first 10 pages are free of charge (not 20).
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 YES Article 6, Section 3. "Freedom of information can be limited in cases foreseen by the Republic of Armenia Constitution and the Law."
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 YES Article 8 Limitations on Freedom of Information. "1. Information holder, with the exception of cases defined in the 3rd clause of the proceeding Article, refuses to provide information if: a. contains state, official, bank or trade secret; b. infringes the privacy of a person and his family, including the privacy of correspondence, telephone conversations, post, telegraph and other transmissions; c. contains pre-investigation data not subject to publicity; d. discloses data that require accessibility limitation, conditioned by professional activity (medical, notary, attorney secrets). e. infringes copy right and associated rights. 2. If a part of the information required contains data, the disclosure of which is subject to denial, than information is provided concerning the other part. 3. Information request can not be declined, if: a. it concerns urgent cases threatening public security and health, as well as natural disasters (including officially forecasted ones) and their aftermaths; b. it presents the overall economic situation of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the real situation in the spheres of nature and environment protection, health, education, agriculture, trade and culture; c. if the decline of the information request will have a negative influence on the implementation of state programs of the Republic of Armenia directed to socio-economic, scientific, spiritual and cultural development." All the exceptions listed are are consistent with international standards.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 NO Article 8 about the limitations on Freedom of Information ails to establish a harm test and establishes some absolute exceptions
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 YES Article 8, Section 3. "Information request can not be declined, if: a. it concerns urgent cases threatening public security and health, as well as natural disasters (including officially forecasted ones) and their aftermaths; b. it presents the overall economic situation of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the real situation in the spheres of nature and environment protection, health, education, agriculture, trade and culture; c. if the decline of the information request will have a negative influence on the implementation of state programs of the Republic of Armenia directed to socio-economic, scientific, spiritual and cultural development." There is a sort of mandatory public interest override, but only applied to some kind of information. Information requests can not be declined in some specific urgent cases that threatens public security and health, the overall economic situation of the country or when could cause a negative influence on the implementation of state programs of the Republic of Armenia.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 NO
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES Article 8, Section 2. "If a part of the information required contains data, the disclosure of which is subject to denial, than information is provided concerning the other part."
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 YES Article 11, Section 3. "In case of declining a written information request, information holder inform the applicant about it within 5 days in a written form, by mentioning the ground for the refusal (relevant norm of the law), time frame within which the decision of refusal was made, as well as the relevant appealing procedure."


Appeals

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36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 Partially Article 11, Section 3. "In case of declining a written information request, information holder inform the applicant about it within 5 days in a written form, by mentioning the ground for the refusal (relevant norm of the law), time frame within which the decision of refusal was made, as well as the relevant appealing procedure." Maximum time limit will be 30 calendar days. No mention about the cost to appeal for a decision, but it is mandatory to pay for "consideration of a case relating to administrative proceedings".
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES Article 11, Section 4. "The decision not to provide information can be appealed either in the state government body defined by Legislation or in the court." Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 8. "Any physical entity regardless of his/her nationality, citizenship, place of residence, sex, race, age, political and other views, and capabilities can appeal to the Defender."
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 YES Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 5 about the independence "Independence of the Defender 1. The Defender shall be independent in executing his/her powers and shall be guided only by the Constitution and the Laws of the Republic of Armenia, as well as recognized norms and principles of International Law. The Defender shall not be subordinated to any state or local self-governing body or official. 2. The Defender shall not be obligated to provide clarifications, not even as a witness, about the nature of a complaint or a document in his/her possession. He/she shall not make them accessible for familiarization with the exception of the cases and procedure not stipulated by the Law. Article 3 about the appointed procedure of the Defender "1. The post of the Defender shall be held by a citizen of the Republic of Armenia having attained the age of 35, who has a university degree, sufficient knowledge and experience in the sphere of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and has a high degree of prestige in the society. 2. The Defender shall be appointed by the National Assembly by the votes of more than 3/5 of the total number of deputies from candidates nominated by the President of the Republic and at least 1/5 of the National Assembly deputies. The Defender should take the following oath upon his/her appointment: “Having accepted the commitments of Human Rights Defender I hereby swear to be faithful to RA Constitution and laws, the principles of justice, social co-existence as to defend the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals and citizens. I swear to act in impartial, honest and diligent manner” 3. The Defender shall be appointed to office for a term of 6 years. The same person shall not be appointed to the office of the Defender for more than two consecutive terms."
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 YES Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 24 (budget approved by parliament); Article 17 (for reports to parliament). "The Defender and His/Her staff shall be financed from the State budget which shall provide their usual activity". Article 17 provides:"Each year, during the first quarter of the year, the Defender shall deliver a report on his/her activities <...> to the National Assembly during the first sitting of the National Assembly’s spring session. <...>".
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 NO
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 12, section 1, subsection 1. "After making a decision on accepting a complaint for consideration, the Defender shall be authorized to the following for examination of the issues raised in the complaint: 1) have free access to any state institution or organization, including military units, prisons, inter alia preliminary detention facilities and penitentiaries;" Article 12, Section 3 "Officials of the state and local self-governing bodies within the framework of their jurisdiction shall transfer to the Defender, free of charge and without hindrance, the required information and documentation, which is necessary for the review of the complaint".
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned. According to our national reviewer, decisions of the ombudsperson are not binding for a state body.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 Partially Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 15, Section 1, Subsection 1. "Based on the findings of the examined complaint, the Defender shall decide: 1) to propose to the central or local government agency or official, the decisions or actions (inaction) of whom have been qualified by the Defender as violating human rights and freedoms, to eliminate the committed violations, indicating the possible measures necessary and subject to implementation for the restitution of human and civil rights and freedoms." No mention about the declassification of information.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Article 11, Section 4. "The decision not to provide information can be appealed either in the state government body defined by Legislation or in the court."
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 Partially Administrative Procedure Code of Armenia, Article 19. The appellant has the right to represent him/herself or with the help of a representative during the substantiation of the proceeding.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 YES Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 7. "1. The Defender shall consider the complaints concerning violations by central and local government agencies or their officials of human rights and fundamental freedoms provided by the Constitution, laws, other legal acts and the international treaties of the Republic of Armenia, as well as by the principles and norms of International Law. The defender can not intervene into judicial processes. S/he may ask for information on any case that is on the stage of trial and direct recommendations/comments to the court, as to guarantee the rights of citizens to fair functioning of the court system as enshrined in the Constitution and norms of International Law. The defender has the right of providing advice to those that wish to appeal the decisions, judgments of the court. 2. The Defender shall not consider the complaints concerning the actions of non-governmental agencies and organizations or their officials. 3. The Defender shall have the right to attend and speak at Cabinet meetings, as well as at meetings in other state agencies when issues related to human rights and fundamental freedoms are discussed. The Defender shall also have the right to propose for discussion at these sessions issues related to violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms requirements of this Law by state agencies or their subordinate agencies or their officials. 4. The Defender shall have the right to attend the sessions of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and make a speech in accordance with the procedure defined by the National Assembly Statute when issues related to rights and freedoms are discussed." Grounds are broad because the article 7 has a big scope.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 9. Appealing to the Defender "1. A complaint shall be submitted to the Defender one year from the day when the complainant became aware of or should have become aware of the violation of his/her rights and freedoms. 2. Within the first year of the effectiveness of this law complaints about violation of rights and freedoms of the past three years can be submitted to the Defender. There shall not be a specific compliant form but it shall contain the first name, last name, place of residence (address) of the physical person, or the name, organizational-legal structure and location of the legal entity submitting the complaint, as well as the indication of the rights and fundamental freedoms that were or are being violated. If the complainant has the documents required for clarification and settlement of the case, as well as acts adopted in judicial or administrative procedure in relation to the complaint, these documents may be attached to the complaint. 3. The complaint may be delivered both in writing and orally. The content of an oral complaint and the data provided in the second part of this Article shall be recorded by the Defender or his staff. 4. The complaints and other documents sent to the Defender by persons under arrest, in preliminary detention or serving their sentence in penitentiaries, as well as persons in other places of coercive detention, shall not be subject to inspection or censorship and shall be directed to the Defender within 24 hours by the administrative staff of those institutions. 5. Upon the request of the complainant the agency receiving complaints addressed to the Defender shall be obligated to provide a confirmation (receipt) on receiving the complaint. 6. No stamp duty shall be collected for the complaints sent to the Defender. " Clear procedures are listed under this article.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 NO
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 NO Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Human Rights defender, Article 15 The Defender’s Decisions. "Based on the findings of the examined complaint, the Defender shall decide: 1) to propose to the central or local government agency or official, the decisions or actions (inaction) of whom have been qualified by the Defender as violating human rights and freedoms, to eliminate the committed violations, indicating the possible measures necessary and subject to implementation for the restitution of human and civil rights and freedoms; <...> 5) to recommend that the authorized state agencies execute disciplinary or administrative penalties or file criminal charges against the official whose decisions or actions (inaction) violated human and civil rights and freedoms and (or) violated the requirements of this Law. " Not to impose, but to propose and recommend.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 Partially Article 14 Responsibility for the Infringement of Information Freedom. "1. For illegal refusal to provide information, or for the incomplete information disposal, as well as for other infringements of the information freedom defined by this Law, the official persons responsible for information freedom are held responsible according to the Law. 2. In the cases foreseen by the 3rd clause of the Article 8 of the following law, the disclosure of information can not cause administrative or criminal responsibility." Article 148 of the RA Criminal Code. Refusal to provide information to a person. "Illegal refusal by an official to provide information or materials to a person immediately concerning his rights and legal interests and collected in accordance with established procedure, or provision of incomplete or willfully distorted information, if this damaged the person’s rights and legal interests, is punished with a fine in the amount of 200 to 400 minimal salaries." Not specifically mentioned about the destruction of documents.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 Partially Article 189, Section 7 of the Code of Administrative Violations. Only the imposition of sanctions is legislated. No mention about remedial actions.The Section of this Article says:"Unlawful failure to provide information by the state and local self-government bodies, state offices, organizations financed from the state budget, as well as private organizations of public importance and their state officials leads to the imposition of a fine <...>."
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 NO No independent oversight body is mentioned in the Act under consideration.
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 NO Not mentioned.


Promotional measures

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54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 12, Section E. "As defined by the law, information holders are responsible to: e)appoint an official responsible for information freedom." /Article 13 Person Responsible for Information Freedom "1.Official person responsible for information freedom can be the head of the information holder or an official appointed by it. 2. Person responsible for the Freedom of information according to the law: a) ensures that the responsibilities of the information holder in the field of FOI are exercised; b) explains thoroughly the procedures, conditions and forms of providing information to the person seeking information; c) elaborates the statistical and complete data of inquiries received."
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO No independent oversight body is mentioned in the Act under consideration.
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially Article 7.Ensuring Information Access and Publicity "1. Information holder works out and publicizes the procedures according to which information is provided on its part, as defined by legislation, which he places in his office space, conspicuous for everyone. 2. Information holder urgently publicizes or via other accessible means informs the public about the information that he has, the publication of which can prevent dangers facing state and public security, public order, public health and morals, others’ rights and freedoms, environment, person’s property. 3. If it is not otherwise foreseen by the Constitution and/or the Law, information holder at least once a year publicize the following information related to his activity and or changes to it, a) activities and services provided (to be provided) to public; b) budget; c) forms for written enquiries and the instructions for filling those in; d) lists of personnel, as well as name, last name, education, profession, position, salary rate, business phone numbers and e-mails of officers; e) recruitment procedures and vacancies; f) influence on environment; g) public events’ program; h) procedures, day, time and place for accepting citizens; i) policy of cost creation and costs in the sphere of work and services; j) list of held (maintained) information and the procedures of providing it; j 1. statistical and complete data on inquiries received, including grounds for refusal to provide information; j 2. sources of elaboration or obtainment of information mentioned in this clause; j 3. information on person entitled to clarify the information defined in this clause. 4. Changes made to information mentioned in the 2nd clause of the proceeding Article are publicized within 10 days. 5. Information mentioned in the 2nd and 3rd clauses of the proceeding Article is publicized via means accessible for public, and in cases when the information holder has an internet page, also via that page. 6. Organization of public importance can decline to publicize the information mentioned in 3b, 3c and 3e sub clauses of the proceeding Article or changes to that information." No specific mention about "guides for the public". There is a calling to elaborate a guide in order to help the people exercise the right in a better way.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 5. "The recording, classification and maintenance of elaborated or delivered data on the part of the information holder is implemented as defined by the Government of the Republic of Armenia."/ Article 12. Responsibilities of Information Holders in the Sphere of Insuring Free Access to Information "As defined by the law, information holders are responsible to: a) ensure information access and publicity; b) record, categorize and maintain information possessed; c) provide truthful and complete information (possessed by them) to the person seeking information; d) define their procedures of providing oral and/or written information; e) appoint an official responsible for information freedom." There is a system, that it will be centrally defined by the Government.
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially Article 7, Section 2. "Information holder urgently publicizes or via other accessible means informs the public about the information that he has, the publication of which can prevent dangers facing state and public security, public order, public health and morals, others’ rights and freedoms, environment, person’s property." With some limitations, only information which can prevent dangers facing state and public security, public order, public health and morals, others’ rights and freedoms, environment, person’s property.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES RA Civil Service Council N-427-A, adopted on 28 October, 2010. This directive regulates the issues connected with the obligatory trainings of civil servants on FOI.
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 7, Section 3.j.1. "If it is not otherwise foreseen by the Constitution and/or the Law, information holder at least once a year publicize the following information related to his activity and or changes to it; j) list of held (maintained) information and the procedures of providing it, j 1. statistical and complete data on inquiries received, including grounds for refusal to provide information;"
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO No independent oversight body is mentioned in the Act under consideration.