2019 April 11

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & Other Apr/11/2019: Kocharyan stays in jail..... IRS workers.... Traffic safety..... Foreign policy, PACE, OSCE..... Pashinyan tells PACE how Kocharyan regime persecuted journalists.... French prez signs Armenian Genocide bill.... Georgia gives up on Azerbaijan as sole gas supplier
by ar_david_hh

All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.

Update: Pashinyan's relative was charged with falsifying agricultural diploma to get a promotion in a Nature Protection Ministry-run agency. NSS is pressing felony charges.


The Appeals Court confirms the Lower court's decision to keep Rob Kocharyan should remain in jail. He can interfere in the process if let free.


The court has ruled that Serj's nephew, who is suspected of getting high and shooting his friend, can post a bail and receive his passport back. The prosecutors argued that he can flee and not to come back. The court said bail money is enough.


The chief and one other worker of the customs office, which was dirty and had the flag thrown on the ground, have submitted letters for resignation.

Pashinyan earlier said the staff of that office should not work there anymore for the improper conduct. The PM didn't have the authority to fire them, and the IRS refused to fire the workers, but after the story blew up, two of them decided to quit by submitted a resignation letter.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158773 ---- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158801

IRS chief Ananyan says the 7bln tax avoidance they found in SPAYKA was for 2015 alone. They are currently examining the next 2.5 years. They don't want the company to be unable to do its work because of the searches, but there will be no compromise when it comes to uncovering illegal activities, said IRS.


The IRS employee who recorded a CCTV video with his phone showing a visitor going through a cargo x-rey machine, no longer works at the agency, says IRS chief. The story blew up yesterday and received international coverage.


The government has approved a proposal to improve child safety in cars. The drivers will be required to use special chairs for kids (now categorizes as under 7 and between 7-12) that match their size and weight. Kinds under 12 cannot ride on the back sit of a motorcycle or in the trunk of an open pickup truck.



Another change will allow cars to park closer to zebra lines and bus stops, as long as 5 and 15 meter distance is kept respectively.

Drivers who have already entered the roundabout will have the right of way.

Work Ahead signs will have yellow color instead of white for better visibility. Several changes for bike lanes to come.


Pashinyan and delegation are in Europe.

They participated in a PACE session. He praised EU and its values and said Armenians have similar democratic values.

Council of Europe's general Secretary said he was glad that the 2018 revolution brought good results, and congratulated Pashinyan with the anti corruption fight. He said Armenia is a full member of the body.

PM thanked EU for helping Armenia with strengthening its human rights and democracy.

The Secretary said currently the Council's human rights Office cannot visit Artsakh because it's a "grey territory" outside of EU. He believes the EU should give the Office a mandate to visit there.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158840 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158836


German PACE delegate asked Pashinyan to explain how Armenia has such close relations with Russia and EU simultaneously, and whether it can serve as a role model for other nations.

PM said Armenia develops and will develop relations with Russia for strategic reasons, is a member of EAEU (Russian) economic bloc and presides over it, and it's beneficial for Armenia. At the same time, the goals that Armenia has match with the European values. TLDR: "why not".



Delegate asked Pashinyan why an LGBT forum was recently shut down in Armenia. He said he doesn't know the details but everyone has equal rights under the law.

Pashinyan was asked to comment on BHK MP Vardan Ghukasyan's words that the LGBT should be burned. Pashinyan called any violence wrong. Brought an example, said the MP who is saying that someone else should be harmed, was himself once a victim of an assassination attempt during Gyumri mayoral campaign on 2007. Does the MP believe the wannabe assassin was doing the right thing, too? (rekt... next)

Pashinyan also refused to answer whether Crimea is part of Russia or Ukraine.

http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/267557 ---- http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/267556 ----- BHK https://www.lragir.am/2019/04/11/434325/ --- mode deep about the BHK story https://www.lragir.am/2019/04/11/434391/


Pashinyan was asked to comment why Karabakh is currently "occupied". He responded saying that people who were born and raised there could not have "occupied" their own homeland.


He said when Robert Kocharyan was negotiating with Heydar Aliyev, he was also speaking as an (former) Artsakh president and therefor an Artsakh representative. Today we have a different situation because Pashinyan isn't/hasn't been elected by Artsakh population, yet Artsakh needs its own representation in the negotiations table.

He is saying that the negotiating format will not change if Artsakh joins the table.

http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/267555 ---- https://www.lragir.am/2019/04/11/434197/


Pashinyan was asked to comment on possible civil forfeiture law implementation.

He said some people have concerns about this, including those among the former government ranks. Armenia has been obligated to implement the forfeiture mechanism since 2015 (insert a Serj plays himself meme here) by signing documents. The practice is encouraged by EU and UN and it's used to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.

Pashinyan says he can't make that decision by himself and lengthy dialogue is needed in Armenia. It's important that it should not be interpreted as a mechanism to target and persecute specific people, that era is closed in Armenia.

He said he isn't 100% confident that the judicial branch is completely independent right now. Although his administration has ended the practice of government instructing judges what to do, he isn't sure that some judges still aren't under former regime influence.

He said it's important that he himself doesn't do bribery. Reminded that one of his relatives was recently charged with a document falsification, and that no one is above the law.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158825 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/970946.html --- https://factor.am/140871.html


While speaking in PACE, Pashinyan remembered a personal story which made him appreciate PACE even more.

In 1999, Robert Kocharyan's regime was after journalists like him for writing critical articles about Rob's regime. The prosecutors wanted to jail Pashinyan for 3 years, and in those days it was a guaranteed that the judge would satisfy the prosecutors, but something unprecedented happened, and he was only given 1 year.

The reason for this "generosity" was the fact that in those days Armenia was preparing to join PACE body, and a PACE delegation was supposed to arrive, so the regime decided to avoid criticism by going milder. The representative convinced Rob's regime not to jail Pashinyan, and he ended up serving suspended sentence.

Pashinyan also told PACE how he and 100s of other political activists ended up in jail after Match 1st 2008. He was sentenced to 7 years but only served 2, partially because of PACE pressure. While serving, he was visited by a PACE delegation which made a decision to officially recognize him as a political prisoner, so the regime let him go soon afterwards in order not to let that happen.

He thanked PACE for their continuous support in improving democracy and human rights.


Pashinyan spoke about Artsakh. Said AM and AZ should prepare the societies for peace. Internet can become a place where Armenians and Azeris could begin a dialogue without cursing at one another. Any resolution should be acceptable by Armenians, Artsakh Armenians and Azeris.

Unfortunately PACE has been used by agitators for bad rhetoric and to incite conflicts in Artsakh in past. The 2016 military events happened few months after PACE was weaponized in such way.

OSCE is the main body that should work with the three sides (Arm, Arts, Az) on Artsakh conflict. This doesn't meant PACE must stay away from the topic. So far, it has shown zero efforts to work with civil organizations in Artsakh. No steps have been taken by PACE to strengthen democratic bodies there. The explanation for this is that Artsakh isn't recognized by any country. However, helping to strengthen democracy and human rights in Artsakh is unrelated to its being officially recognized as independent. People still live there and shouldn't be ignored. I hope PACE will put people ahead of documents and political statuses, added Pashinyan.



Other Q&A http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/158860


Pashinyan met Venice Committee chief. The latter congratulated with the recent "fair elections and the positive changes". PM thanked him for monitoring and helping to improve election process.


French president Emmanuel Macron has signed into law a bill declaring April 24th as the Armenian Genocide remembrance day. There will be an official ceremony on that day.


Russian Foreign Ministry has welcomed Artsakh's proposal to allow Azeri farmers to use Sarsang water reservoir, in exchange for Azerbaijan removing the airways shutdown. FM Zakharova said OSCE can make this as part of the negotiations in future if there is an agreement, and it can be discussed during the AZ FM and AM FM meeting which will take place soon.


OSCE has directly condemned the government of Azerbaijan for preventing opposition blogger Mehman Husseinov from leaving the country. He was earlier arrested then released for criticizing the Ilham Aliyev regime. He was supposed to visit a human rights hearing in EU.


The Trump administration has added Turkey to the list of 35 risky countries for American travelers. The list includes countries such as Syria, Sudan and eastern Ukraine.


Georgia will begin to buy small quantities of gas from Russian GazProm for the first time since 2006. The move comes shortly after Azerbaijan, their main gas supplier, sharply raised the gas prices for the Georgian industry. Georgia then declared they would diversify their energy sources.


Football Federation says the army/soldiers might have their own soccer team in the national league.


Matenadaran had 113,000 visitors last year, up by 4,000.


Yerevan Central Parking building was recently "liberated" from Bogo the thief. It's the facility that houses buses and drivers who come to Yerevan from provinces. For 30 years, nothing has been done to renovate or improve the facility.

A new director was recently appointed (whose car got arsoned presumably for fighting illegal conduct). The director presents the changes to the facility. Toilets are being renovated, the medical staff now has the necessary basic tools. Simple things such as a blood pressure monitors were missing until now. They might make the toilets 100 AMD per day, to use the money for cleanup. The facility will have new food and banking services, WiFi and TVs, storage lockers for lease, child playground.

There are talks about temporarily leasing the facility to a private company so it can make 145mln in investments.


89KG Hakob Mkrtchyan won the 2019 European weightlifting championship, while David Hovhanisyan won bronze. 👏👏👏


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bc4zjn/anticorruption_other_apr112019_kocharyan_stays_in/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports














2019 Daily Armenia Reports