2019 June 20
Anti-Corruption & News - Jun/20/2019: Constitutional Court; only 2 judges..... Kocharyan trial..... Panama Paper suspect.... Mining news.... Property tax reforms..... Government/Parliament session.... Supreme Council member.... many 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.
The Kocharyan trial continues. The prosecutors are challenging the May 18th verdict that freed him. The sessions have been heated so far, with the Kocharyan lawyers swinging fingers and talking over the judge, and the judge taking breaks to cool things off. Prosecutors accused the defense lawyers of deliberately orchestrating a delay of the case, and petitioned the judge to sanction them for it.
Today, more victims of March 1st events were present. One of them was beaten by the police and partially lost his hearing as a result. He said his whole family had to leave the country after the events. Another victim was a student who was walking on the sidewalk during the events when the forces shot his eye, rendering it blind.
The defense was arguing for their case. The lawyers representing defendants Kocharyan, Yuri Khachaturov and Seyran Ohanyan kept insisting that the case should be sent to the Constitutional (aka uphold the May 18th verdict), and had their different opinion on how today's session should proceed.
Prosecutors argued that the session should be handled in the manner that was earlier set by the court, and not the way Kocharyan lawyers wanted it to happen.
After the back and forth arguments, the judge made a decision to end the session and return on June 25th for some verdict, saying that the lawyers were continuously and unnecessary delaying the session with their demands, and that the defense chose not to fully utilize the opportunity granted to them to present their case during today's session.
Judge's official reason for ending the session: «Պաշտպանական կողմը առարկություններ ներկայացնելու փոխարեն խնդրեց դատարանին նախ և առաջ առաջնահերթության կարգով քննարկել իրենց միջնորդությունը։ Ստեղծված իրավիճակում, նկատի ունենալով, որ պաշտպանական կողմի դրսևորած վարքագիծն ուղղված է դատական նիստի ընթացքը խափանելուն, դատական նիստն անհարկի ձգձգելուն, իրենց վերապահված իրավունքի իրացումից, ըստ էության, հրաժարվելուն, ելնելով արդարադատության շահերից, դատական ստուգումը համարվում է ավարտված, դատարանը հեռանում է խորհրդակցական սենյակ դատական ակտեր կայացնելու»,–ասաց դատավորը:
"Երբ դատարանում Սեյրան Օհանյանի և Յուրի Խաչատուրովի պաշտպաններն արդեն ներկայացրել էին բողոքների վերաբերյալ իրենց առարկությունները, Քոչարյանի պաշտպաններից Հովհաննես Խուդոյանը ցանկանում էր Քոչարյանի և մյուսների գործի վարույթը կասեցնելու և Սահմանադրական դատարան դիմելու վերաբերյալ միջնորդություն ներկայացնել, ինչը դատարանը գնահատեց նիստը ձգձգելուն ուղղված քայլ:"
Video with comments https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsWowVTCMgs
Raw video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljxMo9rsz3Y ------ https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/164374 ----- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979228.html ------- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979200.html ------ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljxMo9rsz3Y
The prosecutors and the defense found the judge's decision to be unexpected. The defense sharply criticized the "shameful" move.
Next episode on June 25th.
Update: A Cassations Court has ruled that Panama offshore kingpin and former HHK MP Mihran Poghosyan's arrest verdict is valid. He is currently under a house arrest in Russia, awaiting an extradition hearing. He is accused of offshore machinations, abuse of power and embezzlement of state funds.
Last year, the government decided to shut down Amulsar mining and hire ELARD company to assess the mine's damages to the surrounding nature to see if it can continue its works. Investigators were also involved to examine a possible criminal act by unnamed state officials. ELARD finished and submitted the examination results about a month ago.
ELARD, Nature Ministry and the investigators have met and discussed the findings. The official announcement will be made soon.
The copper/molybdenum factory of Teghut mine was recently forced to shut down due to financial problems with the creditors. PM Pashinyan says they worked with the factory and now the problem appears to be solved. Few hundred workers have been re-hired and the mine will begin its production soon. A large share of Armenia's exports rely on mining factories such as the one in Teghut.
Update: We have more details about the arrest of "Haykakan Zham" Roboserj media outlet journalist. She walked into a police official's office and told him that she has a damaging information about the officer's allegedly illegal business dealings and 41mln in unpaid taxes, and that she will publish the information on 4 media outlets if the officer doesn't pay her 800k. She negotiated it down to 400k (very kind thank you).
Before their next meetup, the police official contacted the authorities and they set up the arrest scene. The 400k blackmail money was marked with invisible ink to later serve as an additional proof that she took the money. She was arrested immediately after the second meeting during which she took the money.
The government approved a plan to replace the land tax and property tax with one unified "real estate tax" system that will also take into account the land value attached to the property. The reforms could go into effect in 2021 if approved by the Parliament. The way the Cadastre committee calculates the real estate value will also change in order to address complaints by businesses about some properties being over-priced. The changes will not apply to agricultural properties. More details inside..
1 sq meter land in Yerevan center costs 700k. Real estate transactions rose by 18% YoY. Down 2% May-2019 vs April-2019.
Real estate prices rose 10% YoY, and rose 1% in May-2019 vs April-2019.
The government used satellites imagery to identify 770 hectare land on the shores of Lake Sevan that are subject for cleanup. The work will be done within 3 years, which is twice as fast as initially planned.
The government won't collected import taxes from Manukyan Cognac Factory for 3 years so it can invest 2.8bln and can create an automated cognac, wine, spirits factory in Balahovit, Kotayk. 37 new jobs with 260k salary.
The government and the bipartisan Parliament are working on a plan to make changes on how the ambassadors are appointed. If passed, future ambassadors must have at least 10 years of relevant work experience (Parliament was asking 15 years), and no more than 15% of them can have a political background such as a Minister of Something. Pashinyan wants to relax the last part a bit to prevent a "discrimination". They'll discuss more.
The Parliament has voted 107 AYE - 4 NYE to elect Grigor Beqmezyan as a Supreme Court Council member. (5 of the members had earlier quit)
Few days ago, the Parliament held another vote and elected Vahe Grigoryan as a Constitutional Court judge.
Old Constitution: The Parliament could only vote for Constitutional "members" and not "full-blown" judges.
New Constitution: Parliament can elect a judge.
At the moment, there are only two "real judges" in the Constitutional Court. The reason is because when the new Constitution was enacted since April-9-2018, new judges were supposed to be appointed, but due to political events the process was delayed, thus the old "members" were acting as judges, yet serious decisions can only be made with the presence of at least 5 real judges (total of 9 judges).
Vahe Girgoryan is now the second "real judge" to be appointed since the adoption of the new Constitution. The other judge - chief judge - is currently away so he is the acting chief judge at the moment.
3 judges can be nominated by the president, 3 by Parliament, 3 by a judicial board.
The number of students applying for a university has doubled in Vanadzor. Psychology was the most popular subject, with the music being the least.
Georgian Parliament hosted a religious topic related session, during which a Russian MP was also present. An argument started between Georgians and Russians, and the latter were accused of being occupants (Abkhasian issue). Armenian delegation was also present at the session and decided to leave the room and not take sides.
Georgian opposition is demanding several ruling party officials to resign and snap Parliamentary elections to be held.
Turkish emergency crews in Igdir, Western Armenia are holding exercises to evacuate the local population in the event of an accident in Metsamor nuclear plant, 17KM away in Armenia. Upon receiving an emergency warning from Armenia, the agency plans to evacuate people, move them to hospitals, and to distribute iodine pills which have the ability to block the radiation from penetrating certain parts of the body.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c3161x/anticorruption_news_jun202019_constitutional/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|