2019 May 21
Anti-Corruption & News - May/21/2019: Prosecutor's case detailing army's 2008 protest involvement.... Accusations of bias by court.... Europe responds, urging caution and offering help.... 557mln abuse in Military being investigated.... Army officials being investigated... Europeans r mad at Baku
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.
Here is the TLDR of what prosecutors say happened in 2008.
Kocharyan regime brought 1,000 soldiers from Artsakh Republic during the events. Some of them were stationed in the basement of the government building, others in the Defense Ministry buildings. The soldiers were given Defense Ministry uniforms. Their vehicle license plates were changed from army to Defense Ministry plates to conceal their illegal presence.
On February 25th, after the meeting which promoted Kocharyan to involve army in politics, Murad Abrahamyan led 111 soldiers from the 2nd Army Corps into Yerevan. They settled in the outskirts, where they trained on how to disperse the peaceful protesters.
In February 27th, This group was then sent to Melik-Adamyan street near the public square, and stationed there.
Similarly, 3rd Army Corps sent 100 soldiers in February 24 late night. Some of them were taken from the front lines, while they were resting. They were moved to the Freedom Square on March 1st at 12pm.
114 soldiers from the 1st Army Corps, 87 soldiers from 4th Corps went on February 24th and joined some soldiers from the 5th Army Corps, and conducted protester dispersing training. On March 1st 2pm they were stationed in Yerevan's Republic Square.
4th Army Corps sent 70 soldiers and 6 armored military vehicles to Yerevan-Masis road.
20 special NSS troops from Artsakh Republic were brought and stationed in Yerevan's Hrazdan hotel.
Aforementioned soldiers were given firearms. Former Defense Minister and suspect Seyran Ohanyan visited these troops and was briefed on their crowd-dispersing training progress.
Ohanyan also gave encouraging speeches to the soldiers. In order to demonize the peaceful crowd, Ohanyan told them junkie drug users and criminals are surrounding the protest leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan. He told the soldiers to preserve the stability in the country, stay with the president and prevent Levon from assuming power.
Suspect Yuri Khachaturov, who was Yerevan garrison chief and assistant to Defense Minister, among with other officials formed after Order 0038, stationed in the government building. He was tasked with preserving discipline among the soldiers, directing the 0038 committee works, helping and participating in soldier training sessions. He formed groups of soldiers consisted of 30 people and placed them in various Yerevan streets.
At the request of Khachaturov, at 8pm on march 1st the soldiers from 2nd and 4th Corps were stationed on Paronyan and Leo Streets (not far from the future shootings), to aid the police forces. Other soldiers were sent to aid traffic police to examine cars.
End of tldr
Seda Safaryan , a lawyer representing some of the March 1st victims, says the court did not notify them about their decision to send the case to Constitutional Court. She initially thought Rob was freed based on Artsakh presidents' guarantees. They only learned about the case being finished in Cassations entirely, from the news, while the defense (Kocharyan) was aware of the verdict.
The prosecuting side should have been made aware so they could present counter arguments. Similar complaint was raised by another March 1st lawyer yesterday. (Kocharyan's team counters this argument, saying the possibility that the court could send it to the Constitutional was present from the beginning, they could have argued against it during the trial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeBN2rt4dYA
Safaryan called this an illegal move by the court and said it is purposely helping Kocharyan.
Q: Can the judges leave the room and prepare a verdict while having questions about applying certain laws, without first hearing arguments from both sides regarding application of those laws?
Safaryan says they can't (but they did in this case). Says the case should be taken to European courts if necessary, and also show them that president Kocharyan has controlled judges.
Another lawyer of March 1st victims says the Cassations judges illegally sent the case to the Constitutional court in a hurry, among with all the trial documents, without giving them the ability to challenge the verdict. There will be no challenge by him because all the files have been sent to Constitutional in disregard to time-frames.
On the other hand, says the layer, the Constitutional Court has no right to take the case (they have 30 days to decide to accept or reject it's hearing), because that would violate the victims' rights to challenge the verdict.
Prosecutors still insist that the prosecutor's office has a chance to challenge the verdict. (Kocharyan's side says they can't) http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161981
Protester Vardges Gaspari protested outside of Kocharyan's private residence.
Former regime's politicians earlier said Pashinyan's calls that closed the court entrances for a few hours, was a toppling of the Constitutional Order and punishable by jail. FIP cites the Constitution, saying it was not.
In order for it to be an administrative offense, the 1st to 5th clauses of the Constitution, or the 6.1 clause, should have been violated and the courts should have been crippled down for extended periods that puts the system in danger. Even if that took place, it would not be a felony but rather an administrative punishment. (Some judges went to work on the protest day by simply appearing half an hour head of the protests, which lasted few hours.)
European PACE council has made an announcement regarding Pashinyan's statements following Kocharyan verdict.
It recognized that the Armenian public has low level of trust for the judicial.
They urged politicians not to take actions that could be interpreted as a pressure on the judicial.
They welcomed Pashinyan's move to reform the courts and the fact that EU can help him with that.
EU released a statement about the cooperation with Armenia, recognizing that Armenia has increased the efforts to deepen the relations. Offered support in judicial and educational sphere. Spoke about how various EU projects are helping Armenian businesses and schools.
EU ambassador Switaski says EU is ready to aid in the judicial reforms. Said the reason the public distrusts the courts is because of the corruption that existed in past, and the court's political ties and manipulations.
Prosecutors say they have uncovered an abuse of power in the military. In 2010, army officials signed 557mln worth contracts to purchase various medical supplies. The investigation concluded that the purchased items were "too expensive", aren't designed for military use, aren't fit to be used in Armenian conditions. This is proven by the fact that the items were never used after being purchased, say prosecutors. Hundreds of millions were wasted.
Criminal case is launched.
Yerevan municipality members' cars spent 36% less benzin in 2019Q1 vs last year's period. Mayor's car spent 7.5x less. Money spent on car repairs down by 39% or 6mln.
Nature Ministry says Armenia could soon become the first country where all government members use electric cars. 700k Euro grant will be issued. A dozen cheap electric vehicles for all ministries and possibly president and the PM.
Armenia doesn't produce fuel, but we produce electricity. Electric vehicles allow us to reduce reliance on energy imports. This also improves the nature, says Ministry.
In July, the Parliament could adopt the law that removes import taxes on electric cars.
33 electric cars were imported in 2018. It's expected to double this year.
In 2020, the number of electric car fuel stations will increase. Right now there are 9 Tesla stations in the country. Ministry is working with private investors to install universal fuel stations for other car types.
Yerevan municipality plans to make 10% of the bus fleet electric. The rest should use gas instead of diesel.
The government is discussing ways to help Armenian companies to enter the international stock market and sell shares. UCOM Internet company has expressed interest. Pension funds did too, they want to buy and invest in shares.
This will help Armenian companies to attract international investors so they don't have to solely rely on Armenian banks. It'll also allow the interested Armenian citizens to invest their money in stock instead of just keeping it in banks, said Pashinyan.
48 new army officers and their families received apartments as part of a 320mln government grant that gives apartments for free or favorable conditions.
Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan participated in the new Ukraine president Zelensky's inauguration, congratulated him, spoke about improving the bilateral relations. Zelensky wants to dismiss the parliament. A criminal investigation is launched against the now-former president and chocolate barron Petro Poroshenko. He is suspected of high treason in a seaman related case involving a confrontation with Russia.
The Azeri ambassador to UK has accused Arsenal player Henrikh Mkhitaryan of doing politics instead of sport, over the scandal which prevented Miki from going to Baku for the Europa League final.
The initial reason for the travel issue was the fact that Miki visited Artsakh Republic without asking Azerbaijan for permission. Then Arsenal demanded extra security measures around the hotel where he would stay, and around his bus travel, but apparently Arsenal wasn't happy with what Azeris offered. He won't go there.
Armenian Foreign Ministry criticized Azerbaijan for racism against British-Armenian fans (they are also facing problems with going to Baku). FM said Azerbaijan had an opportunity to prove they want peace between two people.
Popular British TV host and Arsenal fan Pierce Morgan wrote that if both Arsenal and Chelsea refuse to travel to Baku, the UEFA will have to change the finale's location. He urged Chelsea to take action because they have lots of Armenian fans too.
A popular Russian soccer commentator Vassiliy Utkin refunded his airplane ticket to Baku as a protest to the situation regarding Miki's inability to play.
(The game is on May 29th dudes. Sharpen your bottle openers.)
Azeri public TV sent a complaint letter to European broadcasters because during the Eurovision song contest, the Azeri map that was displayed on the screens, did not contain Karabakh and Nakhchivan. 😩
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/brg4ns/anticorruption_news_may212019_prosecutors_case/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|