On February 9, 2005, the NKR law on “Human Rights Ombudsman” was adopted.

The Ombudsman gained the status of Constitutional institute by the NKR Constitution, adopted in 2006.

On April 16, 2008, NKR National Assembly elected the NKR First Ombudsman of Human Rights - Yuri Hayrapetyan.

So far the Republic of Artsakh has had 4 Ombudsman – Yuri Hayrapetyan, Ruben Melikyan, Artak Beglaryan and Gegham Stepanyan.


  • Stage 1

    Sweden was the first country to establish the office of Ombudsman. The word Ombudsman is of Swedish origin. The term was translated from the Old Norse umboosmaor, meaning representative.

    In recent years, the institution has become more closely linked to safeguarding the rule of law and the rights of citizens. The Ombudsman is increasingly being seen as a promoter of the fundamental rights of individuals and a defender of citizens against maladministration, abuse of power and improper discrimination.

  • Stage 2

    On February 9, 2005, the NKR law on “Human Rights Ombudsman” was adopted. However, for about 3 years the Ombudsman had not appointed as the law did not specify exactly which state body should nominate the Ombudsman candidacy as both the President of the Republic and 1/5 of the members of the National Assembly had  the right to appoint.

    The Ombudsman gained the status of a Constitutional Institute in 2006 through the NKR Constitution, adopted on December 10, 2006.

    On May 30, 2007, through the legislative amendment, the Ombudsman's election mechanism was improved by enabling the nomination and election of the candidate to the NKR National Assembly.

    On April 16, 2008, NKR National Assembly elected the NKR First Ombudsman of Human Rights, Yuri Hayrapetyan, and his staff was formed in May.

    The law affirmed that the Ombudsman is honorable, independent person who is authorized by the parliament to protect the rights of the citizens and exercises control over all state and local self-governing bodies and their officials in the form of extensive supervision without the right, adopted by them, to change the decisions.

    In 2009, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh became a member of the European Ombudsman Institute.

  • Stage 3

    On May 5, 2016 Ruben Melikian was elected as the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh. The Office expanded its activities by strengthening the internationalization and publicizing activities of the Ombudsman institute.

    The Ombudsman put in the core of his activity the presentation of sufficient facts to the international community on the war crimes committed by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the war of April 2016, in order to make this incident internationally chargeable and assessed in an appropriate way.

    On February 20, 2017 , Constitutional amendments were adopted, which put the policy of human rights protection at a qualitatively new level.

    On December 21, 2017, a new law on Human Rights Ombudsman was adopted, which provided the institution with qualitatively new opportunities, here are as follows:

    1. The Human Rights Ombudsman defined all the content authorizations provided by international agreements and inherent in the national mechanism for the prevention of torture,
    2. A wide range of legal instruments have been established to promote the improvement of normative acts on human rights and freedoms.
    3. Additional legal instruments have been set up to promote the protection of children's rights,
    4. Issues related to the protection of human rights and freedoms by public service organizations have been included in the scope of the Ombudsman jurisdiction,
    5. The guarantees of independence of the Ombudsman institution have been extended,
    6. The Ombudsman staff divided into two structural units, the Department responsible for the content and the Secretariat responsible for the technical issues. Besides, the institute for Public Policy Advisers was made.
  • Stage 4

    On October 31, 2018, the National Assembly elected Artak Beglaryan in the position of Human Rights Ombudsman, who selected main four directions of his work, which are as follows:

    1. the Improvement of the human rights protection environment, implementation of monitoring function, cooperation with state bodies and civil society institutions, improvement of legal acts;
    2. Enhancing the cooperation with the Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia, its civil society and Armenian Diaspora organizations;
    3. Strengthening the international relations, raising international awareness on Artsakh, program involvement of international organizations in Artsakh;
    4. Proper monitoring of manifestations and consequences of the Armenophobia policy, publicizing its results and taking relevant measures to prevent possible human rights violations.
  • Stage 5

    In March 2021, acting Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan was elected the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh.

    Due to the post-war situation, the following have been announced as priority areas of the Ombudsman’s activities apart from the functions arising from the constitutional mandate:

    • Documentation of the war crimes committed by Azerbaijan during and after the Azerbaijani aggressions unleashed against the people of Artsakh, preparation and presentation of reports to structures and human rights organizations with a primary mandate. 
    • Implementation of international awareness activities regarding the gross violations of the rights of the people of Artsakh as a result of the criminal actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces in violation of the provisions of the tripartite declaration of November 9, 2020, the Armenophobia policy implemented by Azerbaijan, and cooperation with the relevant international structures.
    • Raising international awareness about Artsakh to ensure proper protection of the human rights, implementation of activities aimed at involvement of international organizations.
    • Taking practical steps to protect the rights of the forcibly displaced persons from the occupied territories as a result of the Azerbaijani aggression against the people of Artsakh in fall, 2020, drawing the attention of both the Republic of Artsakh and foreign countries and international structures to the problems leading to the violations of rights of the forcibly displaced persons.

Biographies of the Ombudsmen

Elected in 2021

Gegham Stepanyan

2009-2011 served in the Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh
  • 2016-2019 was a member of Artsakh team of Crisis Management Initiative


    Term of Office 2018 - 2020

    Artak Beglaryan

    2013 – 2018: PhD in Political Science, Institute for National Strategic Studies after Drastamat Kanayan, adjacent to the Ministry of Defense of Armenia. ...
    Term of Office 2016 - 2018

    Ruben Melikyan

    2008  June  – December : USA, Tufts University, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ...
    Term of Office 2008 - 2016

    Yuri Hayrapetyan

    1983 - Graduated from the correspondence department of the Law faculty of Yerevan State University ...