Armenia

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EATG seeks to ensure that Europe-wide standards of up-to-date scientific evidence limit overly broad HIV criminalisation

28 Oct 2013
EATG’s new position paper on prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and/or transmission published last week recommends that the criminal law should only be used in extremely rare and unusual cases where HIV is maliciously and intentionally transmitted and that Europe-wide … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Country overview

Article 123 of the Criminal Code criminalises both HIV exposure and transmission. HIV exposure is punished with up to two years' correctional labour, up to two months' arrest or up to a year in prison. "Willfully or self-confidently" transmitting HIV is punished with up to five years' imprisonment. This increases to up to eight years if a pregnant woman or a child are infected, or if more than two individuals are infected. There are no reports of prosecutions. In 2013, The Ministry of Health presented the amendment draft of the Criminal Code to decriminalize HIV transmission.

Specific laws

Specific law enacted Yes

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: Yes

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: No

Prosecutions

Number of prosecutions 0

No data

Convictions

Number of convictions 0

No data

Laws

Applicable laws

Article 123 of the Criminal Code of Armenia

  • This is an HIV-specific law.
  • Both exposure and transmission are subject to prosecution.
  • The maximum sentence is 8 years.

Applicable key wording

Article 123. Infecting with AIDS virus.

1. Subjecting another person to the obvious danger of infection with AIDS, is punished with correctional labour for the term of up to 2 years, or with arrest for the term of up to 2 months, or with imprisonment for the term of up to 1 year.

2. Infecting another person with AIDS willfully or self-confidently, by another person who was aware that he had the disease, is punished with imprisonment for the term of up to 5 year.

3. The committed actions envisaged in part 2 of this Article, which was committed: 1) in relation to 2 or more persons; 2) in relation to a minor, 3) in relation to a pregnant woman, are punished with imprisonment for the term of 3 to 8 years.

Discussion

In 2013, the Draft Amendment to Decriminalize HIV developed - no changes since the last survey in 2004 and 2008 - all information correct and updated as of November 2016.

In 2013, The Ministry of Health officially presented the amendment draft of the Criminal Code to the Government for the discussion. The draft amendment is directed to the decriminalization of HIV transmission, since the criminalization of HIV transmission contradicts to the international principles and decreases accessibility of antiretroviral therapy. The draft amendments were submitted to the Government and Parliament and placed to official circulation by the Ministry of Health of RA.

From the responses received, it appears no one has yet been prosecuted for the transmission of HIV in Armenia. The law distinguishes between exposure to ‘evident risk' and transmission ‘on purpose'. It is not clear what ‘evident risk' means in this respect. ‘On purpose', on the other hand, seems to include transmission by anyone who knows that they are HIV positive. It appears that a person could be prosecuted even if transmission of the virus does not take place. A longer custodial sentence is applied to those who transmit the virus ‘on purpose' to two or more persons, to juveniles or to evidently pregnant women.

Exposing another person to the risk of HIV infection could also be punished. The maximum sentence applicable is five years.

Transmission of other sexually transmitted infections is also subject to prosecution under the next article of the criminal code (article124) but so far we have not investigated whether the wording is similar to that used in section 123 .

Further reading

AIDS Response Progress Report - The Republic of Armenia, 2015 http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/country/documents/ARM_narrative_report_2016.pdf

National Commitments and Policies Instrument (NCPI) - The Republic of Armenia, 2014

http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/country/documents/Armenia%20NCPI%202013.pdf

UNGASS UNAIDS Country report -  Armenia 2008/2009

Cases

Overview

No cases known/ documented.

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017