2019 June 13
Anti-Corruption & News - Jun/13/2019: 3rd Supreme Councilman resigns... Tables turned: Pashinyan vs Kocharyan... Several proposals approved and rejected... Government session... Gas stations could be examined without a warning... Money & tourists.... more stories inside
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Last week, the day before the mayoral election in Abovyan, a QP staffer's house and the car was set on fire, injuring one family member. Some people speculated a political motivation and pointed the fingers at the opponent BHK party.
An investigation was launched. Yesterday, the Investigative Committee sent a letter to BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan asking him to appear and answer a few questions. Tsarukyan tore the letter in pieces. The Investigators accused him of disrespectful conduct.
The 3rd Supreme Court Council member Armen Khachatryan has resigned. Earlier, the chief and the successor acting chief had resigned.
This comes after protests begun last month, demanding judicial reforms.
Update: Kocharyan sued Pashinyan alleging defamation, after Pashinyan said no one should be able to organize a murder then get away through an immunity. Kocharyan's lawyer claimed it was a direct reference to Kocharyan, while Pashinyan's lawyer said it was a general statement not about a specific individual. Kocharyan dropped the defamation lawsuit against Pashinyan after hearing the clarification.
Pashinyan is now demanding Kocharyan to pay 650,000 AMD in court expenses. Kocharyan's lawyer wasn't happy. The court will make a verdict on June 24th.
Pashinyan's lawyer said anyone could read and clearly understand that Pashinyan was criticizing the general idea that the law could grant immunity to murder organizers, and that Kocharyan's lawsuit was frivolous.
"My client went through expenses, and as you may know, his only source of income is his job (shots fired shots fired). We want to prevent future incidents like this", said the lawyer.
The Lower court had earlier ruled that there is a reasonable suspicion that Kocharyan aide and former official Armen Gevorgyan was involved in money laundering, but it didn't find it necessary to keep him locked up until the trial. The prosecutors and the defense challenged the verdict in Cassation Court. Today it kept the earlier verdict intact.
President Sarkissian earlier appointed Vahe Grigoryan for a vacant Constitutional Court seat.
Girgoryan says president Sarkissian's election as a president was done improperly because he was elected by politicians instead of the public. He didn't say he is against the new system in which the president is largely ceremonial, but he believes presidents should still be elected by the public.
When asked about a possible conflict of interest with QP, Grigoryan said he knows several QP MPs from the days when they were in prison and he was providing them with legal services, and not due to friendly meetings. Grigoryan is a lawyer.
The border escalation continues. An Armenian soldier was fatally wounded at the border with Azerbaijan, weeks after both sides accused each other of breaking the ceasefire by using snipers, costing each side a life.
Azerbaijan has released a footage claiming Armenians tried to shoot down their jet with an OSA missile, and that an accompanying drone recorded the incident.
Armenian side denied the jet claim, saying the location it was filmed in - by judging from the video - is 13KM away from the border. There is also no indication it was filmed in June 12th, and no Azeri jets are visible. Army says the footage shows that this missile was most likely aimed towards the drone that was filming the footage, and not a jet.
Armenian side had earlier complained that Azeri jets, copters and drones were violating the buffer zone. Armenian defense minister said the Armenian side has always deployed a similar technology at the border.
The QP MP who yesterday suggested criminalizing the act of insulting policemen or other members of authorities during their duties for doing things related to their duties, has decided to temporarily shelve the proposal after receiving criticism. The opposition wants to know whose idea it is; whether it was the idea of one MP, or the party decided to implement it. They believe the Venice Committee will not accept it at its current form. The QP MP insists that similar repressive laws exist in US, EU and elsewhere so it should be implemented in Armenia as well.
The government has rejected BHK's bill that would criminalize "gay propaganda" among children, concluding that whatever it intends to ban is already banned under existing "anti-porn distribution" and "lewd action" laws.
The government gave a tax waiver to Likvor medical company so it can import products to invest 7.6bln and create various drugs. 13bln in annual production.
The government has approved a proposal to amend the existing law to remove the requirement of issuing gas stations a prior warning before conducting checks. PM's office believes the current warning system allows stations to temporarily fix the problems just for the inspector's visit. (no way?)
They say the change will allow consumer protection agencies to better do the work of catching dishonest stations.
The government approved the plan to raise police salaries/bonuses budget from 7.1bln to 7.7bln.
The government said farewell to departing Justice Minister Zeynalyan. Pashinyan said his work style and methods of approaching issues isn't what they need right now.
Partial source https://hetq.am/hy/article/104627
Two QP MPs are proposing a bill to strengthen the university-student-business-internship ties. The private firms will not be required to pay a salary to an intern who graduated within the past 3 years, which should encourage more of them to hire. To prevent various abuse, a firm has to have at least 10 employees to be allowed to hire 1 intern.
Currently, many businesses complain that the graduates aren't skilled enough to be hired as workers.
For 2019 the EU issued an additional 25mln Euros to help Armenia with meeting the requirements for EU-Armenia comprehensive cooperation agreement, and other reforms. It has to be ratified by several more EU states before going into power.
Congresswoman says the US should grant $40mln more aid to Armenia in 2020, to help with the democratic changes that begun after the 2018 velvet revolution. There is a pending resolution on foreign aid in the House of Representatives.
The Russian ambassador met Kocharyan at his private office for over an hour. It isn't known what they were discussing. Probably health, life and kids' math grades.
EAEU has released 1Q19 stats about how member states' economies are doing. The average GDP growth in the bloc was 0.9%. The highest economic growth belonged to Armenia at 7.1%. The investments in the bloc rose by 1.4%, while the rise within Armenia was 10.8%.
Bloc's industrial production was $385bln, up by 2.8% since last year. 88% of it came from Russia, 6% from Kazakhstan, 4% from Belarus, <1% from Armenia and Kyrgyz.
Other stats inside...
684,000 Russian tourists visited Armenia last year. Lake Sevan is on their top-5 favorite list of destinations in former Soviet republics, according to TourStat. Important factors were visa free regime, locals speaking Russian, hospitality, low prices, food, basically everything the tourist cares about.
Russian tourist inflow rose by 19% in 1Q19 vs 1Q18. Other stays in the slink..
You can travel from Yerevan to Sevan with an electric train for only one dollar and twenty-five cents, this summer. The trip lasts 2 hours.
Chessists Levon Aronyan is so far 2nd in Norway Chess tournament. He has 9/11 points and is trailing behind the world champion Carlsen Magnus 11/11.
Noice cave m8
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c0az3x/anticorruption_news_jun132019_3rd_supreme/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|