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Armenian President Sends Turkey Accords To Top Court

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian
YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has formally asked the Constitutional Court to certify the legality of his normalization agreements with Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Under the Armenian Constitution, international treaties signed by the government need to be endorsed by the Constitutional Court before they can be ratified by parliament.

The two Turkish-Armenian protocols signed by the two countries' foreign ministers in Zurich on October 10 require parliamentary ratification.

Constitutional Court spokesman Hovannes Papikian told RFE/RL on November 23 that the nine judges on the court will decide in the next 20 days when to start a public examination of the protocols.

The impartiality of the examination was questioned when Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian accompanied Sarkisian on a trip during which the president promoted the protocols among major Armenian communities abroad.

Harutiunian insisted that he made the trip in a 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 part of a protocol that commits Armenia to recognize its existing border. They say it runs counter to a declaration of independence adopted by Armenia's first postcommunist parliament in 1990.