President Serzh Sarkisian has formally asked Armenia’s Constitutional Court to certify the legality of his controversial normalization agreements with Turkey, a court official said at the weekend.
Under Armenia’s constitution, international treaties signed by the government need to be endorsed by the Constitutional Court before they can be ratified by parliament and take effect. The two Turkish-Armenian protocols signed by the two countries’ foreign ministries on October 10 require parliamentary ratification.
The court spokesman, Hovannes Papikian, told RFE/RL that Sarkisian submitted the protocols to the court on Thursday. He said the panel of nine judges will decide in the next 20 days when to start their public examination.
The court chairman, Gagik Harutiunian, raised questions about the objectivity of the examination when he accompanied Sarkisian on an early October intercontinental trip during which the promoted the documents in major Armenian communities abroad. Harutiunian insisted that he took part in the trip in his private capacity and that his participation will not compromise his impartiality during the planned court hearings.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation and other nationalist opposition parties have already branded the Turkish-Armenian protocols as unconstitutional. They point in particular to one of the protocol provisions that commits Armenia to recognize its existing border. They say it runs counter to a declaration of independence adopted by Armenia’s first post-Communist parliament in 1990.