Armenia

 CountryType of Law 
 
 

Criminal Defamation

No provisions.

General criminal provisions on defamation were repealed by the National Assembly of Armenia on 18 May 2010 (Art. 135 – Libel, Law Amendment ՀՕ-98-Ն, Art. 136 – Insult, Law Amendment ՀՕ-98-Ն). Matters related to libel and insult were moved to civil law jurisdiction.

Criminal Defamation of Public Officials

The legal norm criminalising the insult of representative of the state authority envisaged by Art. 318 of the Criminal Code was abolished on 19 May 2008 by Law Amendment No ՀՕ-67-Ն.

However, there are provisions (Arts. 3322, 344) in the Criminal Code protecting the honour and reputation of the Human Rights Defender and representatives of the judiciary, such as judges, prosecutors, investigators, interrogators, and judicial bailiffs.

Threat or contempt toward the Human Rights Defender (Art. 332): “Threatening or insulting or demonstrating overt contempt against the Human Rights Defender in the course of performance of his/her duties is punishable by fine in the amount of 200 to 500 minimal salaries or arrest for the term of two to three months.”

Slandering judges, prosecutors, investigators, interrogators or judicial bailiffs (Art. 344):
“1. Slandering the prosecutor, the investigator or the person in charge of inquiry, judicial bailiff, in relation to the preliminary investigation, execution of the court sentence, the verdict or another court act, is punished with a fine in the amount of 100 to 300 minimal salaries or with arrest for the term of one to three months, or imprisonment for up to two years.
2. The same action committed in relation to a judge concerning the trial of the case or its materials in court, is punished with a fine in the amount of 300 to 500 minimal salaries or with arrest for the term of one to three months, or with imprisonment for the term of up to three years.
3. The actions envisaged in parts 1 or 2 of this article, which were accompanied with accusing a person of a grave or particularly grave crime, is punished with imprisonment for the term of up to four years.”

Criminal Defamation of the Head of State

No provisions.

The legal norm criminalising the insult of representative of the state authority (including the head of state) was envisaged by Art. 318 of the Criminal Code and abolished on 19 May 2008 by the Law Amendment No ՀՕ-67-Ն.

Criminal Defamation of the State and its Symbols

Contempt of state symbols (Criminal Code Art. 331): Contempt of the coat of arms of the Republic of Armenia, the national flag of the Republic of Armenia, the national anthem of the Republic of Armenia. The penalty is a fine of 100 to 250 minimal salaries (equivalent of approx. €200 to 500), arrest (temporary detention) for one to three months, or imprisonment for up to one year. This provision also applies to the state symbols of other states.

Criminal Defamation of Foreign Heads of State

No provisions.

Criminal Defamation of Foreign States and Symbols

Contempt of state symbols (Criminal Code Art. 331): Contempt of the coat of arms of the Republic of Armenia, the national flag of the Republic of Armenia, the national anthem of the Republic of Armenia. The penalty is a fine of 100 to 250 minimal salaries (equivalent of approx. €200 to 500), arrest (temporary detention) for one to three months, or imprisonment for up to one year. This provision also applies to the state symbols of other states.

Criminal Defamation of the Deceased

No provisions.

Note that Art. 19(2) of the Armenian Civil Code states that protection of the honour and dignity of a citizen may, upon the request of interested parties, be permitted also following his/her death.

Criminal Blasphemy

Art. 339 of the Criminal Code punishes acts or expressions, committed publicly and with intent to insult, that are gravely offensive toward members of, i.a., a religious group.

Criminal Statistics

N/A

Criminal Law and Media

N/A

Recent Legal Changes

The Criminal Code as relates to libel and insult has not been amended or otherwise changed since criminal libel and insult were repealed on 18 May 2010. The provisions of the Civil Code concerning defamation (Art. 19 Protection of honour, dignity and business reputation and Art. 1087.1 on Order and Conditions of Compensation of Damage to the Honour, Dignity or Business Reputation.) have not been changed or amended since the adoption of relevant amendment on 18 May 2010.

It is, however, worth noting that the offence (formerly Criminal Code Art. 151 of disseminating libellous information about a candidate, political party (association of parties) during elections was also repealed by Law Amendment ՀՕ-57-Ն on 25 May 2016.

Notes and Acknowledgements

Information for Armenia was originally collected by IPI as part of a study commissioned by the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). It is reprinted here with the permission of the OSCE. Last update: March 2017.

The information contained in this database is for informational and advocacy purposes only. If you are a journalist facing a defamation claim, you should seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. However, if you are unable to find such an attorney, IPI may be able to assist you in doing so. Please contact us at info(at)ipi.media.

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