2020 December 1

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Dec/1/2020 wrap-up: \\ new anti-corruption court; new judges; asset forfeiture law \\ more Artsakh refugees to qualify for aid \\ Berdzor's status \\ border news \\ subsidized programs: solar, roads, agriculture \\ real estate market \\ Serj's nephew confesses \\ Kocharyan trial \\ politics \\ more
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Tuesday report in 2742 words.

new anti-corruption courts / vetting the judges / mansions built with stolen money

Pashinyan administration had earlier formed two new institutes to fight corruption: a corruption prevention committee (CPC) to vet public officials, and anti-corruption prosecutors tasked with handling asset forfeiture (also a new law).

The next step is the formation of dedicated courts to handle corruption cases, to authorize/reject asset forfeiture, etc. The Parliament will soon vote on the bill to create the courts.

The Anti-Corruption Courts (ACC) will have 25 judges: 20 for felony cases and 5 for asset forfeiture (public official's property is taken away if he cannot prove it was obtained legally, but no felony case is launched against him unless prosecutors prove a crime was committed).

Additionally, the govt wants to create Anti-Corruption Appeals Court to handle appeals, consisted of 10 judges.

Who can become a judge?

Judges whose verdicts were overturned by international courts are disqualified from ACC. Judges without serious warnings in the past 5 years can apply. There will be an open competition process monitored by NGOs, the Human Rights Ombudsman, the branches of the government.

The candidates will undergo a "moral" examination by the CPC (corruption prevention committee) to uncover unethical behavior in the past. These judges will earn more than others.

Who can become a prosecutor?

Prosecutors who take the case to ACC courts will also undergo vetting to ensure a clean past.

Why do we need a separate court for corruption?

Lawer Gevorg Gyozalyan: // the ACC judges will hear the corruption cases much faster than the rest of the cases that regular courts handle today. Nowadays, each regular judge has over 1,000 cases attached to them. The judicial system is overloaded. The cases are heard in accordance with the order they were received.

The specialized ACC court will only hear corruption cases. The new judges should be more professional and the process will be faster.

I don't think the proposed vetting mechanisms for the hires is strong enough, however. The new judges could still follow orders if they have "old connections". The Justice Ministry should be more courageous and file disciplinary cases against more unethical judges, without worrying that the petitions would be turned down by the Supreme Court. //

More details: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/201987

Azerbaijan's efforts to turn the region into a terrorist hotbed

... was brought up by the Armenian delegation during a CSTO military bloc meeting. MFA Ayvazyan provided details about Azerbaijan and Turkey importing jihadists from Syria and Libya.

The bloc agreed on several issues, including on efforts against financing and arming of hired terrorists.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202065

Pashinyan vs Levon Ter-Petrosyan

First president LTP has accused Pashinyan of selfishness and not accepting the opposition's offers. LTP says they wanted to stop the war on October 19th and "share the responsibility together" so it wouldn't all fall on PM's shoulders.

Pashinyan revealed yesterday that he did, in fact, receive a plea from opposition and Artsakh president Arayik, to stop the war on October 19th, but after speaking with Putin, he learned that Aliyev demanded to keep Hadrut region and also "take Shushi" through its repopulation with Azeris, which is why the ceasefire offer wasn't accepted and the war continued with the hope to make a breakthrough on the battlefield.

https://factor.am/316249.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/k47rsj/nov302020_news_wrapup_pashinyan_on_negotiations/?

Berdzor in Lachin corridor / Armenian or Azeri?

Berdzor is a settlement in the Lachin corridor that connects Armenia to Artsakh. It's in the adjacent region that will be given to Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani President Aliyev wants that section, including Berdozr, to go under Azeri control, in exchange for giving another piece of land to Armenia. There was a talk about building a new alternative road to connect Armenia to Artsakh through Lachin. Aliyev believes the "Karabakh Conflict is over". He offered Armenia and other countries in the region to join the transport corridor that will be established between Nakhijevan and Azerbaijan.

Artsakh president Arayik had earlier said that Berdzor town itself will remain under Armenian control despite the region joining Azerbaijan. Then several residents claimed they were told [source unknown] that they had to leave, so they packed their belongings and left.

Other Berdzor residents said that a deputy-Minister of Artsakh came on November 28th and officially announced that Berdzor and two nearby smaller villages (Sus & Aghavno) will remain Armenian.

Berdzor Mayor Alexanyan today: Russian peacekeepers told us that no flags should be raised in Berdzor, so we lowered the flag from the municipality building. They didn't clarify whether the town will remain under our control. There were rumors that only 200 people had to stay just to help the peacekeepers, but I have not received such official information. Either way, there are a lot more than 200 residents in the town right now. I'm also in Berdzor. We're waiting for the final status.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/201991

https://youtu.be/BEvXkzpYNRs

https://factor.am/316129.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036360.html

www.civilnet.am/news/2020/12/01/Ղարաբաղյան-հակամարտություն-այլևս-չկա-պնդում-է-Ալիևը/410916

other border-related rumors, refutals, and facts

Kapan is in south-east Armenia. It'll be 3km away from the new border. The municipality denied the claims that the new border is being drawn within the city.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202042

Syunik governor's office said all the border roads are safe and no villages were given to Azerbaijan from settlements adjacent to the border, in response to some rumors.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202058

office changes, resignations, appointments

Syunik Governor Hunan Poghosyan will continue to serve, at least for now, despite announcing his resignation earlier.

In other news, Pashinyan's chief adviser Arayik Harutyunyan (ex Education Minister) will pay a work visit to Syunik.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202012 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202043

QP MP Gor Gevorgyan has quit the party but will continue his MP's duties as an independent MP. This means the ruling party loses one mandate in Parliament. "I have never been constrained to express my thoughts, to express my position. In this regard, I think the decision will be perceptible to members of my faction who know better about my commitment to always adhere to my principles and values," said the departing MP.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202019

Pashinyan has appointed Lusine Vahramyan at an office position.

https://factor.am/316335.html

assassination of an Iranian scientist

Armenian MFA expressed condolences over the death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was shot with a remote-controlled machine gun. He was a lead nuclear scientist. "Armenia condemns every form of a terrorist attack in the region and around the word," said MFA.

https://factor.am/316370.html

government of national accord in Artsakh

President Arayik wants to involve Artsakh's opposition parties in the government. He launched consultations with some of them. He urged everyone to unite and work together to "get out of the situation and to build a long path of development and strengthening".

"I expect that each of us will put aside our personal and group interests, and we will serve shoulder to shoulder for the same national goals."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202003

Opposition continues to demand PM's resignation / demonstrations held

Opposition ARF party leader Gegham Manukyan, who wants Pashinyan's resignation, has ended his 9-day hunger strike in front of the govt building after meeting with Catholicos Garegin B. "We had a long discussion with Garegin B who urged me to stop the hunger strike because there are other ways to fight. We agreed. Our fight continues."

ARF's youth wing organized a demonstration in front of the govt building. They stayed until late evening.

Some demonstrators were pushed away by police. ARF-owned media outlet "Yerkir Media" accused the police of using disproportionate force against its reporter and damaging the equipment. The reporter was released after being pushed into a vehicle.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202008 , https://news.am/arm/news/616565.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036451.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036453.html

Kocharyan's March 1st trial / passport story returns

Context: In 2018, ex-president Kocharyan was charged with overthrowing the constitution in 2008. He was accused of pulling the army from borders, without there being Martial Law, then bringing them against civilian demonstrators in Yerevan [witness testimonies]. These March 1st, 2008 events led to the death of several protestors and officers. Kocharyan and his alleged accomplices face several years in prison if found guilty. His passport was taken away by the court.

When the war began, Pashinyan was asked to "be kind" to the former regime for the sake of unity, and to put politics aside. When Kocharyan asked to have his passport back, Pashinyan told him to contact the court about it. The court agreed to return Kocharyan's passport so he could fly to Moscow for negotiations.

Now, Kocharyan's legal team is "weaponizing" the court's decision regarding passport, by presenting the story as "See, we told you that Pashinyan was controlling the courts". They cited Pashinyan's words about "go ask the court for the passport" to claim it was a direct meddling.

Kocharyan's trial was supposed to happen today but it was delayed again because one of his lawyers didn't show up again. Other lawyers described the trial as "being in violation of law". Kocharyan believes the trial against him is political persecution and a vendetta by Pashinyan. He denies wrongdoing.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202017 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/201906

Serj's son-in-law Franklin Gonzalez will confess

His name is Narek Sargsyan, but the public knows him as Franklin Gonzalez because he was caught using a fake Guatemalan(?) passport while hiding from Armenian authorities in Czechia. He was deported to Armenia.

He was charged with possessing weapons (caught while transferring with an accomplice), narcotics, and participating in a kidnapping. There were also accusations of him possessing 14 presumably-stolen paintings by Martiros Saryan.

His trial resumed today. The defense asked the judge for an expedited trial because Gonzalez wants to admit the guilt.

The next trial is on December 24th. A victim will testify, after which the court will evaluate Gonzalez's personality, things that can milden his prison term, etc.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202026 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202031

POWs and missing soldiers

Families of 34 missing soldiers held a demonstration. They gathered in front of the Ejmiatsin military facility with demands for news about their relatives.

"We met Pashinyan earlier. He said Azerbaijan is preventing the Red Cross from doing search operations in adjacent 5 regions which are outside of Armenian control," said a family member.

The military facility's official met the families and said they received news that search operations will soon be conducted in the Zangelan area (all the way south, under Azeri control).

The families then marched to the Russian embassy and passed a letter asking for help to find the missing. They then marched to the Defense Ministry building where they met an official who said they'll have more information in two days. The families went home.

A group of artists also joined the demonstrations and passed a letter to the US ambassador.

Defense Minister Vagharshak and Artsakh President Arayik discussed the topic.

The searching mission will resume in Hadrut and Fizuli regions soon.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202007 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202018 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202020 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202033 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202063 , https://factor.am/316292.html

candle vigil was held in Leer, Germany

... in memory of fallen Armenian soldiers. It was organized by local resident Albert Tovmasyan who gave an interview to the outlet.

Photos: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/201950

Pashinyan met Djorkaeff brothers

Yuri Djorkaeff is a French-Armenian world soccer champion. His brother is an adviser to the Armenian Soccer Federation's Chief and a deputy-mayor of a French city.

The two are part of the humanitarian team that arrived from France. "Mr. PM, we are here today to provide humanitarian and moral support, which is a testament to the strong Armenian-French ties. We will continue our commitment. We will continue to be by your side."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202016

184 police officers receive awards

... for participating in the war.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202023

new border road in Tavush

Voskepar and Baghanis villages are located on the Tavush border between Armenian and Azerbaijan. This area has often been under Azeri fire in the past. The govt has finished building a 1km-long bypass-road between the two villages that goes through safer terrain.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202010

solar panels plz thank you

Shirak's Saralanj settlement has new solar panels as part of the govt subsidy program. Their capacity will increase to 10kw soon. 25 new light poles were installed to improve road safety.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202072

other subsidized infrastructure programs

Ayrq settlement has a newly renovated 8k-long freshwater pipeline. The settlement's drinking water issue is solved.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202068

Villages Dasht and Kovaban have received agricultural tractors and equipment as part of a govt subsidy. They'll no longer have to lease it from a private company. This will allow them to expand cultivated lands.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202061

Astghadzor's two roads have been renovated with a new asphalt and lighting network.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036405.html

November pensions

... for Artsakh residents living in Armenia will be distributed in Armenia, by tomorrow.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/201994

humanitarian truck convoy

... went to Artsakh, loaded with warm clothes and basic items. It's coordinated by the Armenian-Russian humanitarian office.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202035

Red Cross during the war

... cooperated with the govt to find 1,300 volunteers to distribute aid to 45,000 Artsakh refugees. Food, clothing, hygiene products, etc.

Mental health services were provided to 10,000 wounded soldiers and families; another 2,500 children received care while being housed in school and hotel buildings.

https://factor.am/316058.html

more Artsakh refugees will qualify for aid

One of the two aid packages for Artsakh refugees is a one-time minimum-wage payment to each member of the family.

Until now, if the adults didn't qualify for the aid, the children wouldn't quality either. Under new rules, kids will qualify regardless of their parents' status.

The refugees will also qualify for as long as they didn't have a paying job in Armenia in October.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202046

re: Artsakh govt to subsidize utility bills for a year

In addition to the Armenian govt's two aid packages, the Artsakh govt will subsidize utility bills for water, gas, electricity, and internet, with the following limitations:

1) Monthly 180 minutes and 50 SMS messages.

2) 1 megabit internet.

3) 180 m3 gas and 500 kWh electricity consumption during winter months.

4) 120 m3 gas and 400 kWh electricity during spring/fall months.

5) 60 m3 gas and 300 kWh electricity during summer months.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202054

Russian peacekeepers

... have so far neutralized 1,000 explosive materials in Artsakh, cleared 29-hectare lands, a 10km road.

https://factor.am/316010.html

Mane is moving to Artsakh

Former Labor Minister LHK Mane Tandilyan, who quit LHK over health issues, is moving to Artsakh. She is willing to help the government. "Our hero boys did not spare their lives for Artsakh, so Artsakh must live. It is our duty to make Artsakh live."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202074

French city Asnières-sur-Seine urges govt to recognize Artsakh

... citing series of events, from the 1991 Artsakh independence referendum to Azerbaijan's illegal war and war crimes against civilians.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202060

Western Armenia

The map of Armenia including Western Armenia was used by the mayor of the French city Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. This has angered Turkish media and social media users.

Photo: https://factor.am/316382.html

COVID stats

+2490 tested. +843 infected. +1923 healed. +29 deaths. 22850 active.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202006

COVID and war, vs real estate market

Cadastre Committee Chief Suren Tovmasyan: COVID lead to daily transactions reducing from 3k to 1k because many real estate offices closed their doors. When the offices resumed after the 1st wave, transactions went up to 3.5k a day. During the war, it was 1.6k. Now it's increasing again.

Out of those daily transactions, around 520 are property ownership registrations, versus 620 last year. War's impact will be visible in 5 months.

We haven't received complaints about banks not issuing mortgages or builders complaining about properties remaining unpurchased. There could be some reduction in purchase quantities because potential buyers might wait to see if the ongoing military situation is resulting in price drops.

Our committee helps the government to evaluate estate prices so the govt can continue its social aid programs aimed at providing housing to soldiers, young scientists, etc.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/201963

Byurakan Observatory

... has launched the annual campaign to send representatives to schools around the country to discover students who are interested in astronomy. The guest speakers give lectures for a month. Schools and students receive astronomy books.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202067

bad boy is back

The rare Caucasian Leopard was spotted again, this time in Aryeviq National Park, by forest cameras installed by WWF.

Video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1081790005627360

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202004

Skilling Chess Tournament

... is over. Levon Aronyan finished in 3-5 positions. American Wesley So defeated Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in the finale. It happened on Magnus's birthday. Press F for Magnus.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202028

you can help Artsakh & Armenia

www.1000plus.am (soldiers' medical help)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Yesterday: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/k47rsj/nov302020_news_wrapup_pashinyan_on_negotiations/

Armeniapedia's archive of daily news threads:

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/k4um4a/dec12020_wrapup_new_anticorruption_court_new/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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