Armenia’s ombudsman puzzled by constitutional court ruling on pension law

Armenia’s ombudsman puzzled by constitutional court ruling on pension law

YEREVAN, April 8. /ARKA/. The decision of Armenia’s Constitutional Court on the funded pension law is perplexing to Human Rights Defender’s Office, Armenia’s ombudsman Karen Andreassyan told reporters Tuesday.

On April 2 Armenia’s Constitutional Court declared a number of provisions of the new funded pension plan law conflicting with the country’s constitution and, hence invalid. The Court set September 30 as the deadline for harmonizing the funded pension legislation with its decision. All payments to pension funds charged under the new funded pension law before the ruling must be refunded. 

The ombudsman said he finds it difficult to fully understand from the ruling should people pay the mandatory pension fees or not.

“Myself, having a legal degree, and some other 40 lawyers working in the office, we do not know how to interpret various articles of the Constitutional Court decision”, Andreasyan said.

The law opponents are focused on the provision saying the fees should be refunded, but the government bodies refer to another clause of the decision saying the law will be in force until the end of September, the ombudsman said.

“I am very concerned that being a lawyer I cannot understand which clause of the Constitutional Court decision is a priority. It would be better the CC decisions would not require comments and clarifications”, the human rights defender said.

The constitutionality of the funded pension law was challenged by three opposition parties in the National Assembly — the Armenian National Congress, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Heritage Party — along with the usually pro-government Prosperous Armenia Party. On January 24 Armenia’s Constitutional Court suspended Article 76 of the new pension law, which provides for penalties for failed or delayed pension tax payments, and the third paragraph of Article 86, which obligates employed citizens to choose a pension fund, among other parts of the law. 

According to a poll by Gallup International Association, over 88% of some 1,066 respondents in Yerevan have not supported the new funded pension scheme. –0--

13:27 08.04.2014

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