2019 May 29
Anti-Corruption & News - May/29/2019: How bribery & corruption works in Armenian judicial system; judge hierarchy.... 8.7bln damages in the military... 826mln paid by car service license abusers so far.... Gambling restrictions.... Constitutional judge election... 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.
Flashback 2013: The Human Rights Ombudsman (HRO) published a research on how the corruption works in the judicial system. 120 experts, judges, lawyers, prosecutors participated in this report's creation. Many verdicts and expert opinion on court cases were examined.
There are several main ways the corruption works in the judicial.
A bribe is given to a regular judge. He only guarantees that his own verdict will be favorable. The citizen has to give more bribes to other judges if the verdict is challenged in other courts.
If the citizen gives a larger bribe, the Lower court judge may split the money with other judges to increase the changes that in the event of the verdict being challenged, it won't be overthrown. That bribe is between $500-$10,000 for Lower judges, 2k-15k for Higher court judges, 10k-50k for Cassations judges.
The citizen can lose both verdicts in Lower and Higher courts, but bribe the Cassations to overrule the loss. Citizen only pays the Cassations judge in this instance. (what a great deal 3-in-1 juicyyyyy)
This bribe is handled by a lawyers' office owned by a Cassations judge but registered under other peoples' names. The experts say there is no set amount for a particular type of verdict, it's negotiated.
The HRO report says there are many instances of Cassations judges being pressured by something called "judge zoning institute", developed within the Cassations system. In this system, some Cassations judges have judges from Lower courts under their control. These Lower judges inform their zone leader (Cassations judge) about an ongoing case, through personal meetings, phone calls, intermediary methods.
There are types of cases that mandate the Lower judge to first consult with Cassations judge before making a verdict. For example, cases that the public is interested in, defamation lawsuits (they don't want contradicting verdicts to grab media attention), felony cases in which the judge has to give a very mild verdict, cases involving large businesses (in this case the Cassations zone chief wants to be involved because they can potentially get big money from the business).
HRO report states that lawyers have witnessed many instances how Lower judges were waiting to meet their zone boss at Cassations court, with the case files in their hands. In some cases, Lower court's verdict is entirely written during these meetings at the Cassations court. There is a report by a lawyer stating that he was informed by a Lower judge that the Lower judge received a flash drive from a Cassations judge containing the pre-written verdict.
Sometimes the Lower and Cessation courts collude not in the final stages of a trial, but throughout the initial examination period. Sometimes the Lower judge will take a break during a court session, then contact the Cassations judge for "advice" before the case ends. One Lower judge admitted that he was told to do this numerous times during a trial.
There are 3 types of judges. The "favorite" judges who consult with Cassations judge before every single verdict; slightly more independent judges who only consult Cassations judges for cases that require them to cooperate (listed above); and honest "undesirable and unpredictable" judges who will not collude with Cassations judges. The latter ones are at the risk of being harassed and pressured.
It's not just the Lower court judges who bend over. Cassations judges themselves can be controlled by their chamber's president, who can write a specific verdict and hand it over to Cassations judges. The witness judges and lawyers who participated in this HRO report say that the Cassations judges, however, don't like being bent themselves. Many of them aren't happy about these letters from the Cassations higher-ups.
The report states that the collusion between Lower and Cassations courts results in high rates of Lower verdicts being upheld in Cassations.
Behind the pressure on the judges is the judicial council.
Cassations judge Grigoryan, who read the recent Kocharyan verdict before quickly sending all the paper files to Constitutional Court thus causing displeasure among anti-Rob side, has taken the original papers back to make a copy and send the copy back to Cassations in the event anti-Rob side needs it for a challenge.
2019Q1: Military prosecutors have uncovered 8.7bln in damages done to the state in 41 instances of illegal activities. 22 cases are treated as a felony. 8 have already been charged. Dozens of officials have received warnings. In 2018Q1 the busts totaled 203mln, or 42x less.
Update : Last year dozens of car servicing companies got caught with abusing licenses and underpaying fees. So far they have repaid 826mln. 15 criminal case are still active, 11 were cancelled after the companies compensated the damage.
Parliament will soon vote on a QP bill that gives physical sports gambling "bookmaker" locations 1.5 years to shut down, except those in recreational areas Tsakhkadzor, Sevan, Jermuk, Meghri (for Iranians maybe?). Gambling visitors in these 4 cities will be required to present an ID.
Automated gambling machined will be banned. Gambling ads served on dot am and dot hay domains will be prohibited. Easily accessible gambling machines will also be required to be removed from gas stations.
It's part of the new push against gambling addiction, which affects 66,000 people according to author Alen Simonyan. High ranking BHK and QP MPs have joined the proposal.
The ban will mostly affect Vivaro, Toto, Ajarabet, Eurofootball, GoodWin-Bet companies.
Gambling industry workers were protesting on front of the Parliament building today. They say online gambling will have unfair advantage. They closed Baghramyan street briefly before opening it at the request of the police. They sent a group to Parliament for negotiations (there have been numerous meetings with the industry representatives already). GoodWin-Bet bookmaker boss wants to meet speaker Ararat Mirzoyan.
Bill's author Alen Simonyan says the firm director's complain is mostly over the proposed ban on gambling kiosks in gas stations. This company currently has a monopoly in it, said Simonyan.
Informed Citizens organization chief Ionesyan noted that some pro-Kocharyan activists merged with the gambling worker crowd to agitate the situation.
The gambling workers are constructive and reasonable, while the pro-Kocharyan activists try to create a tension. The gambling workers have asked the police to remove the agitators from the scene, said Ionesyan.
Few years ago a police hostage takeover took place committed by Sasna Tsrer. 2 officers were murdered .10 Tsrer members are going through a trial. Those who are accused of shooting at the officers are still locked up, while other members were released for the pre-verdict period after receiving personal guarantees of some MPs.
During today's court hearing, the sister of one of the killed officers testified about how her brother died. She received a report about the brother being wounded. She went to hospital where the brother woke up after a long surgery and was able to speak briefly. The policeman told her that he was shot by a Sasna Tsrer member during the initial takeover, and wasn't initially allowed to leave. He was shown several photos of Tsrer members to identify the shooter. He gave a negative response to Pavlik and few others, stating they didn't shoot him. Armen Bilyan is charged with his murder. Bilyan's photo was not among those whom the victim identified as non-shooter.
The other dead policeman's father still insists that his son died from a bullet shot by other officers. Says he was also told by other at a hospital that the cops shot his son. The officer's wife (man's daughter in law) says Tsrer shot her husband.
The Parliament is holding a vote to elect a new Constitutional Court judge. Candidacy of 3 others have been rejected in the past year.
Various questions were asked to the candidate. A notable question: the candidate was asked by MPs to comment on Pashinyan's recent call to block the court building entrances. The candidate said he sees a legal problem with it because if he or someone else did it, they could be held responsible for it. However, he doesn't believe it was a toppling of the Constitutional Order (felony), as certain Roboserj circles suggested. He called that an "exaggeration".
In the end, the Parliament voted against the candidate. 55 NAY - 30 AYE. These votes are held with a secret ballot.
Arsenal fans are singing about how Arsenal earlier defeated Qarabagh soccer club and will now bring the championship trophy to London.
Song: "We’ve been to Qarabag and everywhere Shagged brasses in Cologne And now we’re off to Baku to Bring Europa home".
During a training, Arsenal players danced Kochari in honor of Mkhitaryan.
Arsenal fans are being harassed by the police in Baku. Yesterday, two fans were briefly stopped before being allowed to continue to walk. Today, a fan was stopped by the police and asked to lift up the Arsenal flag to check to see if the fan was wearing Mkhitaryan shirt.
British TV host Pierce Morgan: "Unbelievable. Every Arsenal fan should wear a Mkhitaryan shirt tonight & constantly chant his name. Don’t let these anti-Armenian racists win."
German AfD party representatives went to Artsakh, met Parliament members. Artsakh congratulated the party with the recent successful elections in the European Parliament which gave the party more seats. The party reps spoke about helping Artsakh to have its voice heard in the European institutions.
The MPs laid laid flowers in Artsakh war memorial.
Link to original report: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bujk2y/anticorruption_news_may292019_how_bribery/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|