2019 July 5

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption Jul/5/2019: Constitution.... Accusation of illegal nomination of a judge pile up.... other news
by ar_david_hh

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.


Armenia marks the day of Constitution.

Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan and Pashinyan congratulated, and said the Constitution is the best thing ever (true BFFs) and must be cherished. "We must make sure you're able to exercise your Constitutional rights." They mentioned how the public did it in 2018 and achieved various reforms.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165500 -- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165498 -- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165496

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Constitution Day parade https://youtu.be/90lNB5AoPoM?t=592

Constitutional Court chief "member" judge Hrayr Tovmasyan congratulated with the Constitution day. Yesterday he said he won't resign despite the mistrust, and said "there is no crisis in the court". https://factor.am/165424.html

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Former president Serj Sargsyan wants you to be quiet and stop acting like a smarty pants who knows about the Constitution http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/270684

What do legal experts cite as a reason to reform the Constitutional Court and "fire" some judges?

Iravaban has been arguing since September of 2018 that Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan was appointed illegally, with violations to the law and the Constitution.

The report says:

Tovmasyan was still a HHK MP when he was appointed as a member "judge". This violates the 95th clause of the Constitution (see inside).

HHK Parliament speaker nominated HHK Tovmasyan's candidacy on February 16th, 2018. Tovmasyan resigned from the position of a top lawyer in Parliament the same day, however, he didn't put down his MP mandate.

The official Parliament website and pictures show that in February 21st, Tovmasyan continued to participate in a Parliament meeting.

(now former) Parliament speaker's staff informed that Tovmasyan was in fact still an MP despite quitting as a top lawyer. Staff claimed the process was legal.

In March 1st, the MPs discussed the appointment of new Constitutional Court members.

In March 2nd, Tovmasyan was elected as a court member with 64-27 vote.

After that, the Parliament speaker signed a decree to end Tovmasyan's MP mandate, citing the fact that he was elected as a court member, and per Order-008 he couldn't be an MP and a judge simultaneously.

Iravaban says this is a proof that Tovmasyan was first made a judge, then had his MP status naturally invalidated. This is in violation of Constitution's 98th and 95th clauses. His MP status should have been terminated first, and not left to be invalidated naturally after his election as a court member.

Parliament speaker didn't have the legal right to end Tovmasyan's MP status in the manner that was done. The MP termination is regulated by Constitution's 154 clause, which lists several scenarios when MP's mandate ends. Instead of following the Constitution, the Parliament decided to choose a rushed and illegal shortcut solution (less than a month was left until new Constitution's beginning). Entire sections of the Constitution that regulates MP mandate ending were ignored. The Constitutional Court wasn't properly involved with his termination process, as mandated by the Constitution.

In March 13th, Parliament speaker nominated Tovmasyan as the chief member judge. In March 21st he is elected as chief.

As of right now, the Constitution allows the Constitutional Court can make a decision to terminate Tovmasyan's membership.

End of report.

https://iravaban.net/200394.html -- https://iravaban.net/231194.html -- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165501

Eastern Partnership Civil Society - Armenian Platform (Եվրամիության Արևելյան գործընկերության Քաղաքացիական հասարակության ֆորում) released a statement about the Constitutional Court crisis:

The report says reforms are needed to fix the Court, which has been deeply unpopular for many years, has been under a political party influence, hasn't been impartial, has been used as a tool to appropriate political power (past election validity related verdicts).

Report continues: when the Constitution was rewritten in 2015, the public rightfully viewed it as an attempt by then ruling party to give themselves more power.

Report criticizes chief member judge Hrayr Tovmasyan for being politicized and a member of the ruling party at the time of his appointment. This was a violation of the 7th clause of the Constitution.

The 2018 events (revolution) was a process to move from authoritarianism to democracy. The people reformed the Government and the Parliament through this process. It's natural for this to apply to the Judiciary branch as well. The Court be cleared of corrupt elements serving the former government's interests.

The report urges:

   all 3 branches of the government to sit together and discuss the issue
   for constitutional court members to view the situation as a problem of the Court's legitimacy, and not as a personal problem.
   for Court not to hear important cases until this problem is resolved, in order not to create more problems in future by placing these decisions' legitimacy in question
   for foreign organizations to take into account the unique nature and the imperative of constructive resolution of the problem from the point of view of sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia (thank you translator)
   for the government branches and the Civil society to work together on Constitutional reforms to avoid similar issues in future.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165519

EU issued a €5mln aid to clean up the recent algae growth and other dirt in Sevan Lake. The rest of the article was covered in yesterday's post.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165517

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Fake news was spread about cows allegedly drinking Sevan water and dying. In reality, the area where the cows were eating a grass had plants deadly to them. Dozens of animals were affected. https://news.am/arm/news/522282.html --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMYCNrWNScQ

Earlier we learned that the police wants to toughen big truck driver license issuing rules. The changes are done to meet 2006 EU standards. Here are more detail from the proposed bill...

Driving class providers will be regulated and moved out of shadow economy. C-class licenses will be issued after mandatory hands-on classes. More medical examination requirements in certain cases. A new unified database of drug addicts and mentally disabled will be used to see if the applicant is ready to drive (sensitive search must be authorized by the applicant, but no authorization = no license). Th end goal is safer roads.

(what about teaching people to use a seat belt?)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164808

Travel interest towards Armenia among Russian tourists has increased even more this year, by up to 45% (predicted to be 20%), due to the upcoming travel ban between Russia and Georgia, says a Russian tour agency.

Other factors that increase the numbers are relatively similar service prices as in Goergia, and the fact that Russians can visit Armenia with only their passport. Downside is lack of sea access. Sevan lake isn't as warm, and hotels aren't as well developed and haven't made any special offers in the wake of the travel ban.

Most Russians has canceled their trips to Georgia. Some rerouted it to other countries, and some of them set the destination to Armenia.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165533

How much do Armenian tourists spend, and where? The public answers... https://youtu.be/A-wUdOLBJTQ?t=2

Parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan went to Cyprus and gave a speech in their Parliament, about countering Turkey's expansionism. Spoke about mutual history of fighting Ottoman Empire's injustices, Cyprus being the 1st European nation to recognize the Genocide. Spoke about Artsakh issue, border with Turkey, illegal trade tactics by Turkey against Cyprus, etc. In a rare moment, he says, the Parliament broke the rules and begun applauding after the speech. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165525 -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MocJOk5HEro

Armenia and Cyprus discussing defense cooperation. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165504

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Turkey covertly sends 42 German Leopard-2A4 tanks to occupied Cyprus

https://razm.info/137130 --- https://www.tovima.gr/2019/07/03/international/ankara-secretly-sends-42-german-leopard-2a4-tanks-to-occupied-cyprus/

Yerevan municipality is removing the qyartu ad banners from historical-cultural heritage building on Baghramyan-Moskovyan https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165486

After large scale busts in the military last year, the government decided it's best to increase private company involvement in food delivery for soldiers.

24 barracks are part of the pilot program. Military signed a 3-year contract with a company, which must quickly improve the food quality, renovate the food facilities. New healthy food types have been added.

Army says this will remove the food burden from them so officers will have more time to worry about other things. Barracks will monitor the service quality.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980863.html -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gVlhEJkg8U

What do you do when you can't take bribes? You register to drive Uber for extra income, then claim you're transporting hitchhikers when you get caught./s

Healthcare Minister Torosyan was driving to visit his grandparents in Lori when he met two Chinese hitchhiker tourists. Turns out they travel across the world only by hopping into stranger's cars. He dropped them off in Vanadzor.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/165514 --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdDx__Qdvyw

French are suing a cock for causing too much noise in an early morning. You may think this is a joke, but the poultry industry is shitting their pants. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980847.html

Հնդկուհին Ռոբերտ Աբաջյանի (2016 battles hero) անվան լսարանի բացմանը «Կիլիկիա» երգը կատարեց https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2CvwiX3uko


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c9kfmg/anticorruption_jul52019_constitution_accusation/

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