2019 May 20

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News - May/20/2019: Cassations court cites multiple reasons to escalate Kocharyan case to Constitutional.... European-style Judicial reforms proposed; US supports.... Chinese firm cooperates with authorities to bust former regime's 868mln abuse... Officials facing charges for faili
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.


Lawyer representing one of the March 1st suspects confirms the earlier reports that Cassations court sent Kocharyan's case to the Constitutional Court.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161859

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A lawyer representing March 1st victims says both sides should have been made aware ahead of time that the case could go to Constitutional, so they could present counter-arguments, said Vahe Grigoryan. He plans to challenge the verdict.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161872 ---- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975480.html

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TLDR of the verdict by 3-4 judges.

One of the judges believes that Kocharyan's presidential immunity is still valid, which is why he agreed to send it to the Constitutional Court so it can rule on that. The prosecutors have been arguing that the nature of the charges, coupled with the evidence, disqualified him from immunity. This was backed by multiple other courts in past.

A judge wants the Constitutional Court to clarify whether there is a conflict between a law and the Constitution, and whatever a law related to the case should be applied.

Judge Alexander Azaryan (appointed by Kocharyan administration, with a history of sending numerous anti-Kocharyan March 1st protesters to jail) found that it doesn't matter whether Kocharyan broke a law while trying to do something that he had the right to do (not clear what exactly).

https://factor.am/152614.html

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FactorTV collected publicly available verified, as well as unverified, information about the members of the Constitutional Court Council members, their political affiliations, money, violations, etc. It's too much for a TLDR. Some have strong ties to HHK, businesses, one of them was a Yelq member for a month, etc.

https://factor.am/152547.html

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Legal/political analyst Safaryan, who is the brother of one of the lawyers of March 1st victims, says the court was turned into a theater and there were numerous violations done by the judge. On the first day, the organized pro-Kocharyan mob applied pressure on the court, physically prevented March 1st victim's lawyers from entering the room to present their arguments against releasing Kocharyan. He also says the lawyers weren't properly notified about the trial details. He says if the case is sent to Constitutional Court, which is currently run by former regime's puppets, it will be illegally thrown away despite over 800 witness testimonies and other evidence of the toppling of the Constitutional Order in 2008, says Safaryan.

https://factor.am/152640.html

Kocharyan's prosecutors will ask the judge who read the verdict to recuse himself from the case. They haven't officially received the full verdict report yet. Once they do, they'll announce whether there will be a challenge.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161854 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161888

Starting 8:30AM on Monday, people in various cities shut down the entrances of court buildings. QP MPs said this is a general protest of the judicial system and not directed specifically towards the Kocharyan verdict.

Lori court gate was closed with vehicles, and the entrance was blocked by residents. They were singing patriotic songs. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161785 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161804

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QP Lena Nazaryan wrote that the courts had 1 year, without any intervention, to reform and cleanse themselves, but failed to do so. They failed to suspend the judges tied to the previous regimes with private interests.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161813

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A judge in Stepanavan couldn't enter the court building https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161808

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Opposition BHK urged Pashinyan to end the protests and to discuss the "serious problems that the judicial problem has" https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161811

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Vayots Dzor court building shut down https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161788

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Kotayk court shut down. Only one employee showed up. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161790

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Ararat court house shut down. The door was sealed with a knot that gets tighter if you try to pull https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161794

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Gyumri court entrance was blocked, but some employees went to work an hour before the blockade begun. They are inside. (modern problems require modern solutions)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161796

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Yeghegnadzor court was blocked. QP MP was at the scene, observing the situation https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161801

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Pashinyan had a conversation with Garegin B, and Aram A the patriarch of The House of Cilicia, briefed the ongoing situation. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161815

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Spitak court road and entrance was blocked. A woman couldn't get inside to get her documents. Few employees managed to enter before the blockade begun. A QP MP present. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161799

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A court in Shengavit district was closed. A lawyer tried to enter through a window but was prevented. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161787

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Cassations court entrance was shut down https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCri8KomvNE

Vardges Gaspari was doing his iconic laying on the ground protest outside of the Cassations. https://youtu.be/qtxnJn6Yrpo?t=7

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The police asked the crowd to let several judges in. The crowd refused. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et_D7WKD6DU

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Pashinyan briefly stopped by at the entrance of Center District court house to greet the crowd. The participants were chanting "Nikol", "Mr PM free us from these plunderers". https://youtu.be/DfF4S99LQxY?t=9

--- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161800

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A misinformation was spread about the protesters allegedly breaking a court window. Witnesses and pictures say it was done from inside, while the protesters were outside. Misinformed former Human rights Ombudsman of Artsakh was criticized for blaming the incident on Pashinyan. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161810

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The Supreme Court building entrance was also shut down. Cars passing by were honking and chanting revolution slogans. Several employees were turned away when they appeared. One of them was sleeping under the rock and wasn't aware about today's protests. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161792

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Supreme Court Council chief Gagik Harutyunyan couldn't get out of the building. He was supposed to meet Pashinyan to discuss the situation

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161820

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A lawyer Gegham Simonyan appeared near the entrance of the Supreme Court and confronted the people who were blocking it. He was shouted down. When he threw a cigarette butt on the ground, citizens asked him to pick it up and throw it in garbage - he didn't. The police didn't allow an escalation.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161797

A Supreme Court Council member Hayk Hovhannisyan breaks the ranks, supports the protests. Says Pashinyan isn't meddling in the judicial system by doing this, but it's rather done to improve the system and to better serve the public. Calls for the courts to be seriously reformed.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161807

Yerevan court system's chief judge Ruben Vardazaryan says he is ready to resign if necessary, regardless of what Pashinyan may say. (Several other judges were unhappy)

https://armlur.am/902120/

Pashinyan gave a speech: He can't comment on the Kocharyan's specific verdict, but the last year shows that the public does not trust the court system.

Courts didn't keep up with the reforms. This distrust means it has no legitimacy. He hasn't directed courts what to do since being elected as PM, but he can't assure that the former regimes representatives don't. The former regime and the judges still have political a human connections.

How can this court system, which allowed illegal conduct by the former government (as confirmed by European courts), be trusted to give March 1st a fair trial? He was hoping that the impartial judges would understand the changes and voluntarily resign, but they didn't. This is unacceptable, is bad for the economy, and is a threat to national stability."

Proposed the following changes...

A new "vetting" system will be implemented. All judges will be examined. Their political connections, property ownership, other work done during and before being a judge, personal qualifications, will be checked.

Any judge, who was found by European courts to have violated citizen's rights, must resign or be fired.

Any judge, who knows he can't be fully impartial, must voluntarily resign.

Within the next 2 months, the transitional justice system plan must be finalized. They've been working on it for the past 8 months.

The Parliament must aid the reforms. There can be a national referendum to change the Constitution, if necessary.

All of this will be done according to international laws, and with the help of international bodies.

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Pashinyan also criticized the members of the former regime for trying to stoke a divide between Armenia and Artsakh. 1 2. Artsakh suffered more than Armenia from the former regime's corruption. They have launched a defamation campaign against Pashinyan in Artsakh, by creating a divide between two nations, said Pashinyan. He referred to it being something similar to treason.

Pashinyan urged Artsakh citizens not to fall for the propaganda by the small group of people who have used Artsakh for their personal interests.

By the way, added Pashinyan, it's time to summon a Parliamentary investigation committee and examine what happened during the April 2016 battles, to find out the answers of some questions that concern us all. (The Parliament has agreed to discuss the creation of this investigatory committee https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975413.html )

There can be no justice system that doesn't reflect the public interest or doesn't have its confidence. End of Pashinyan speech's TLDR.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161819 --- https://youtu.be/VqdWNcSVP0I?t=8

A similar judge vetting is implemented in Albania, at the request of Europe. It also examines the judge's relatives and their assets. There are separate vetting bodies, monitored by the international community.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161829

Pashinyan urged the public to end the blockade of court buildings. He declared the beginning of the process to have an independent judicial branch. He apologized the citizens who were unable to go to court to handle their business this morning.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161831

United States embassy released a statement and offered to support the Armenian government to reform the judicial system in accordance to the Constitution.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161855

Artsakh Parliament leader Ashot Ghulyan released a statement saying Armenian government's success to reform the courts will be a victory for all Armenians in Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora. He also criticized unnamed people for trying to create a divide between Armenia and Artsakh.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161870

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Araik Harutyunyan, the former Prime Minister and current candidate for Artsakh's upcoming presidential elections, has released a statement in support of Pashinyan and his judicial reforms.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975372.html

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Artsakh's opposition Azgayin Veratsnund party supports the judicial reforms in Armenia. Party chief praised the recent expansion of the Armenia's defense budget and the purchasing of new weapons. He expressed hope that Armenia will help Artsakh to develop its institutions and the civil society institute.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161885

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Artsakh president Bako Sahakyan said their personal assurances to free Kocharyan from detention wasn't done to increase tensions, but the opposite. He only wanted Rob to be freed until the main trial.

https://youtu.be/EmrelrtFHms?t=44

--- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161863

Yerevan's first openly crossdresser mayor write your Soros displeasure in the comments Hayk Marutyan also supports reforming the courts. Says so far hundreds of citizens came to the municipality with a complaint about courts' past decisions in favor of some oligarchs. The cases appear to be 100% in favor of the citizen, yet the court's verdict favors the oligarch, said Marutyan.

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Yerevan revenues grew 15% over the same period of last year. Yerevan instructed Sanitek garbage collecting firm to increase the number of garbage bins around the city. Needed - 8000, exists - 5000. The city will no longer wait for Sanitek and will do some of it itself.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975444.html

ARF party will organize a rally on May 23rd.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/161844

Electric grid workers are charged with abuse of power, after the investigators reveal that in 2017, they allegedly wasted $354mln by giving a contract to a construction company that obviously lacked valid licenses.

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In another instance, a Chinese construction company was hired for 7.1bln with the financial help from Asian Development Bank, to do some work in 2016. This Chinese company's manager sent a letter to the new director of Electric grid in 2019, saying the former directors of Electric Grid forced him to hire specific sub-contractors for a work, who didn't have capacity to properly do the work. According to the Chinese boss, this sub-contractor repeatedly over-charged them, sometimes by 3x (hundreds of million of Drams).

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In another instance, 130mln was paid for a company to transfer electricity cables. The fact that no termination of electricity was recorded during the time when the company said they transferred the lines, shows that the company lied about doing the work, say investigators.

868mln in damages done. 3 felony charges pressed.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161850

(credible sources say nobody in HHK knew about this)

The police says they've uncovered 80mln in damages done to the state by a construction company, which allegedly stole natural resources in 2019 and used water without paying between 2009-2019, and public officials who failed to do their job to stop it. Criminal cases are launched.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975436.html

Currently, Armenia imports grains from other countries to satisfy the shortage, which is expensive. Agriculture ministry says by 2023, the new farming subsidies and irrigation reforms will allow Armenia to be self-reliant in this. 146 hectare high efficiency drip irrigation system was installed in all of 2018. That number is already 112 hectare so far in the first few months on 2019.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975401.html


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/br18ao/anticorruption_news_may202019_cassations_court/

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