2019 June 14
Anti-Corruption & News - Jun/14/2019: Kocharyan verdict challenge DAY-2; accusations of bias, threats; judge's record; protest outside of Strasbourg ECHR explained........ 4th and 5th Supreme Court Councilmen resign......... Former municipality officials, and an illegal land deal...... more 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.
Prosecutors have launched a felony investigation against former Yerevan municipality and Cadastre Committee employees. They are accused of illegally allowing some people to appropriate land belonging to the city near Halabyan St., and then do illegal construction on it.
Day 2 of the Cassations Court session in which the prosecutors, joined by independent March 1st victim lawyers, are challenging the earlier Kocharyan verdict that freed him. So far the topic is whether the presiding judge should recuse himself.
Today, the prosecutor complained that for the second time, Kocharyan entered the court room from a door dedicated for judges. The judge said he had no contact with Kocharyan. Defense explained that the law allows high ranking officials to use these backdoors as a security precaution. During the first trial in May 18th, a prosecutor also used this backdoor.
The judge is Armen Danielyan. He was challenged by Kocharyan to recuse himself for being biased. Kocharyan said "anyone involved in this setup trial will be held responsible in future, very harshly". The prosecutor complained that Kocharyan was threatening the judge by saying that.
--- Prosecutor www.aysor.am/am/news/2019/06/14/Դատարանում-Դատախազ/1575953
One of the March 1st victim lawyers earlier described Kocharyan's demand for judge's recusal as an orchestrated act to give the impression that Kocharyan is against the judge, while she believes in reality the judge is biased in Kocharyan's favor.
The NSS will examine Kocharyan's complaints that the law was violated during the process of picking the judge to hear the two topics (Topic 1: Kocharyan being freed, Topic 2: case being sent to Constitutional Court). This is Kocharyan's main argument for the judge's recusal. This is also what the March 1st victim lawyer called a deliberately weak argument for recusal with the purpose of creating the impression that Kocharyan is against the judge.
The judge heard Kocharyan's complaints and made a decision not to recuse himself.
Now the other side gets to present arguments against the judge. Even though the prosecutors didn't find it necessary for the judge to be recused, the independent March 1st victim lawyer finds the recusal to be necessary for "real reasons".
The lawyer says the judge was appointed by the Kocharyan administration years earlier, at a time when the judicial appointments and standards weren't trustworthy. She says the judge isn't independent enough.
She said this judge was involved with prior March 1st related illegal arrests of anti-Kocharyan persons. She listed several verdicts made by this judge which were later exposed as being based on untruthful information, yet the judge decided to close the eye on it upon finding out about it, according to lawyer. She lists about a dozen people she believes were arrested illegally.
It turns out, the guy who was protesting and holding a hunger strike yesterday in Strasbourg, outside of the European Court for Human Rights, was one of the men who was allegedly illegally jailed by this judge. The man decided to do the protest after finding out that this judge was chosen to hear Kocharyan's case.
The prosecutors did not see major issues with the lawyer's petition for the judge to recuse himself, but they did mention that just the fact that a judge was appointed by Kocharyan and was involved in prior 2008 case alone isn't an automatic guarantee for recusal, and that the judge should recuse himself only if he thinks these past events made him feel that he is currently biased. (basically the prosecutors remained neutral)
Kocharyan was asked by media to explain how he took the public office while owning very little, and ended it as a billionaire. No comment was given. (Hard work!) His son denied that Rob is a billionaire.
Day 3 is probably on June 18th.
4th and 5th Supreme Court Councilmen have resigned, leaving the board with only 4 judges. The Council was unable to hold its session today due to not having enough board members present.
Food inspection agency has examined several big name ice creams for safety. They discovered that some companies are using artificial ingredients instead of natural milk product, and other issues regarding the production conditions. List inside...
BHK MP has proposed an amendment to the law to either allow the jail inmate to be released sooner, or receive an extra vacation time, if he reads 1 book per month and proves that he read it. QP MP supported it and they agreed to clarify which benefit the inmate will receive.
In a surprise move, a famous BHK MP Tigran Urikhanyan has decided to resign due to unnamed reasons. He will also end his show in BHK-run Kentron TV. https://factor.am/160131.html
Social Media Warfare
Tech expert explains how anti-Pashinyan trolls manipulate dislikes on YouTube. Pashinyan's yesterday interview to Shant TV got 1.5k likes and remained stable, then additional hundreds of dislikes appeared within a span of few minutes, after the interaction was relatively calm. Then some dislikes disappeared and re-appeared. The rate at which the video got this interaction is not in line with viewership/demographic/timeframe expectations. Expert says one way of manipulating like-dislike ratio is by using services that provide social media interaction on mass scale, in exchange for money.
This isn't the first incident of "social media wars". Last year we learned how BHK MP deployed a group of activists to boost his numbers on Facebook.
Russian Levada-Center survey shows that 22% of Russians view Armenia as a friendly country. That number was 11% last year and 17% the year before.
Top 5: Belarus 62%, China 42%, Kazakhstan 38%, Armenia 22%, Azerbaijan 16%.
Turkish-Armenian diaspora will have an Armenian language TV network called Luys TV. 70% of the programming will be in Armenian. They will broadcast news, documentaries, cultural events, etc.
Tourists. What do they like? ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ieNMGMloy4
Edit: Typo. Replace "this judge has chosen" with "this judge was chosen".
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c0oaas/anticorruption_news_jun142019_kocharyan_verdict/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|