2020 June 22

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jun/22/2020 News: (1) Constitutional Court bill. Pashinyan scores major victory. Venice Commission. HHK mad (2) Bribed soldiers (3) Court re-installs HHK mayor (4) Kocharyan & Tsarukyan trials (5) Activist beaten (6) Mayor is busted (7) COVID news. Hospitals. Donations (8) Whirlwind (9) Borders
by ar_david_hh


NSS says Tsarukyan bribed soldiers / Bank cards

National Security Services earlier charged BHK party chief Gagik Tsarukyan with financial crimes, land theft, and election bribery.

NSS memo says:

We gave the judge 5 suspect testimonies, dozens of witness testimonies, and documents confiscated during 80 searches. These documents showed in detail who and how much was paid as an election bribe.

The judge found enough evidence to proceed with a trial, but he decided that jailing pre-trial would be unnecessary.

Although with difficulty, we were able to recover 3-year-old evidence about election bribery outside of Gegharquniq province, too.

Documents show that BHK admins obtained personal information of a group of soldiers with the purpose of bribing them. It was done through a bank card. Hundreds of millions of AMD paid.

We need your help. Let us know if you're a witness or have more info. [end of NSS memo]

https://youtu.be/fNUCsYs2ApM?t=7

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190753

Verdict is being challenged

Prosecutors are appealing Tsarukyan's "no jail" verdict, while defense lawyers are appealing the ruling that the judge found reasonable evidence of a crime to proceed with the trial.

The judge is given bodyguards just in case. He received lots of nasty comments on the internet.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190756 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190812

Venice Commission about Constitutional Court crisis / Mostly sides with govt

Ruling QP wants to fire 3 out of 9 CC judges saying they're against the spirit of Constitution because they serve life-time, while other judges serve 12-year.

Justice Ministry published Venice Commission's ruling:

Venice Commission says it's standard practice for some judges to keep a life-term after the Constitution changes, but Armenian govt's amendments aren't un-democratic and won't result in govt controlling the entire process of CC judge nomination. Govt's reform efforts are legitimate.

These changes can take 20 years.

Venice supports the idea of shortening CC president's 17-year term, saying it's even longer than the entire term that new judges serve as a judge. Reducing CC president's term will also reduce "hierarchical structure".

Venice Commission basically agrees that Serj abused the CC in 2018. In 2018, weeks before the new Constitution activated, while the old Constitution was still in place, Serj launched a 3-week effort to hijack CC to install his HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan so the latter can serve life-time.

Venice Commission says under Armenia's circumstances, it's OK to amend Law 213, fire some judges, and elect new judges through a transitional period.

It's up to Armenian govt to decide how long this "transitional period" is.

The bill, drafted by QP in Parliament on the same day when Venice Commission published their recommendation, doesn't envision such a transitional period. Venice suggests amending the bill to include a transitional period.

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190621

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/188477

Tag: #VeniceCommission #CC #ConstitutionalCourt

HHK is mad at Venice Commission

Former Injustice Minister HHK Davit Harutyunyan criticized the Venice Commission for "serving QP's political interests".

Current Justice Minister Badasyan said Venice's response was "balanced and appropriate" and they wouldn't risk their reputation by appeasing certain governments.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190784

Parliament approved the bill to fire CC judges / Parties respond

QP drafted a bill to fire 3 judges who served >12 years, to prohibit the same person from becoming a CC judge again, to limit CC president's term to 6 years.

BHK and LHK are boycotting it. Parliament voted 89-0 to approve the draft bill. The bill needs to pass twice.

--

Council of Europe says QP has the legal right to cancel the referendum and handle the CC crisis by using this bill, and that this bill has a legitimate goal.

"However, the bill was drafted very recently and doesn't envision a transitional period for the fired judges, as recommended by Venice today. The govt should decide how long this transitional period lasts."

--

QP leader Lilith Makunts said it's up to govt to decide how long this period it, and that the past 1.5 years, during which the govt made several offers for CC judges to voluntarily retire, de-facto served as a transitional period. "There won't be a new transitional period in order not to deepen the crisis."

--

Parliament made amendments to the bill before the 2nd vote. They extended the deadline for nominating new judges.

Also, President Sarkissian won't be able to send the bill to the CC for approval because of a conflict of interest. CC judges can't discuss firing themselves. President Sarkissian agreed that Parliament shouldn't send the bill to his desk.

--

Parliament held the 2nd and final vote. The bill was approved by a unanimous 89-0.

HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan will have to yield his CC president's seat but will remain as a regular judge (for 10 more years). 3 judges will be fired. The rest are capped to a 12-year term.

&nbps;

Pashinyan: I'm proud of my party. Once President Sarkissian reviews it, the Parliament will finalize the process and it'll become law.

LHK Edmon: our BHK friends want our help to sign a petition to send this bill to CC for approval, but we can't do that because CC chief HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan wrote the existing Constitution in a way that prohibits it. [LMAO]

ARF & BHK: this is an illegal appropriation of power.

Hanrapetutyun Party: this is a great bill.

--

Bill drafted https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190774

Council https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190783

1st vote https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190785

Makunts https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190789

Amended bill https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190818

2nd vote passed https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190824

Pashinyan responds https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190829

Sarkissian https://factor.am/262635.html

ARF https://factor.am/262670.html https://factor.am/262674.html

Lilith Makunts http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282252/

LHK Edmon https://news.am/arm/news/587031.html

Constitutional Court scrambles to resume Kocharyan case

On July 7th, the CC led by HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan will hear president Kocharyan's "March 1st" case and whether Kocharyan can be charged with the "constitutional toppling" law that he's charged with.

CC only recently received the advice from ECHR and Venice Commission regarding Kocharyan. This is why they decided to resume the case today. It coincided with Parliament's decision to "fire" CC.

CC's opponents, however, say CC purposely scheduled Kocharyan's hearing date as early as possible so they can aid Kocharyan one last time before they're fired.

--

IND MP Babajanyan: CC is in a hurry to let Kocharyan off the hook before the new CC law comes into effect. Current CC aims to shield the former criminals, at the whelm of Kocharyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190793

https://factor.am/262620.html

Pro-govt activist attacked

The police arrested 2 suspects accused of using bats to beat a member of the pro-Pashinyan group "Defenders of Revolution". The assailants allegedly chanted anti-Pashiyan phrases during last night's attack. The bats were recovered.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190800

The return of HHK / Court reinstalls ex-mayor

After the 2018 revolution, residents of Yeghegnut protested and fired their HHK mayor Razmik Margaryan citing past corruption and physical terror against residents. It turns out the council never signed to approve his resignation.

The HHK ex-mayor, who served for 34 years, sued the govt to restore his seat. Months ago the court sided with him and said the new mayor must resign so he can return. The Cassations Court refused to hear the appeal.

The residents held protests; "90% of 2000 residents don't want the HHK mayor to return".

Armavir governor followed the court's order and fired the new mayor so ex-mayor can return. He urged the public to be tolerant and focus on the reforms that are being carried out in Yeghegnut.

Full story: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190799

Qasakh mayor is charged

...with closing the eye on illegal construction in which his son played a role for many years.

During the investigation, the Qasakh, Kotayk mayor learned about the pending felony case against him and decided to take action against the illegal construction in Jun/2/2020.

A felony case is launched nontheless. The mayor is told not to leave Armenia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190787

COVID update

+1089 tested. +320 infected. +129 healed. +13 deaths.

10980 active. 9131 healed. 360 deaths. 96843 tested.

504 serious. 123 critical. 44 on a lung ventilator.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190761

Hospital capacity / Oxygen tank

Pashinyan: each infected person infects 1.1 others... The daily new cases have stabilized ~500-600. The situation is serious but stable. No guarantees it won't get worse if we don't follow safety... Pls volunteer to distribute masks and raise awareness.

Healthcare Minister: Yesterday we purchased big oxygen generators to increase hospital capacity. As a result, we no longer have patients waiting at home for a hospitalization. Some patients still wait in clinics for hospitalization, but we'll solve that soon, too... There is an unprecedented mobilization in our healthcare system to direct resources for COVID.

French volunteer doctor Alexander M.: we're glad to come here for help, thanks for the warm welcome. Our group of 10 is exclusively French, but soon we'll bring Armenian-French doctors... Every 100 infections result in 15 hospitalizations from whom 5 in a critical state with 2 deaths... Dexamethasone could help save lives but it's not a final solution.

Pashinyan: don't take Dexamethasone without a prescription. It's a powerful hormonal drug.

Video: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190809

COVID donations

EU donated 370 tablets and 3 months of free WiFi to rural kids so they can take remote classes.

--

Tashir Mall donated AMD 150mln to ambulance workers.

http://arka.am/en/news/society/tashir_charitable_foundation_provides_more_than_150_million_drams_financial_assistance_to_armenia_s_/

https://factor.am/262566.html

update: whirlwind damage

Yesterday we saw a big whirlwind in Armavir. It damaged 50 houses and sadly a century-old utility pole, on top of which a stork had built a nest. Three babies died after it fell.

The natural phenomenon lasted 30 minutes. Residents say had the utility company and relevant officials acted sooner, they could have strengthened the pole on time. Now the local businesses with perishable items don't have electricity.

Gai village mayor put the blame on "Musaler" utility administrators because "that section of the grid is managed by them".

Hours later, Musaler brought several "high-quality" poles and wires to fix the grid.

"So it took the governor and police chief to intervene for people to do their job," noted locals.

https://shamshyan.com/hy/article/2020/06/21/1157882/

Shout-out to Aygezard

It has a brand new 2.1km road after several decades, new sidewalks, new street water drainage, street signs and markers, and speed humps.

As part of financial aid to Armenia, Aygezard's town hall, kindergarten, school, and clinics were also renovated.

"We breathed dust for 30 years. How can we not be happy now? Thanks to financiers and builders," said a resident.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190767

Azerbaijani army chief complains about Ermeni cameras

Azeri army chief Zəkir Həsənəv complained that with the help of Armenian-Americans, Armenia purchased lots of border monitoring cameras in the past 2 years.

He says this allowed Armenians to pull back and stay out of Azeri fire, while still observing the borders.

He also noted that Armenians don't have many settlements on the border, which gives them an advantage. "Armenians shell our bordering settlements when things escalate," complained Hasanov.

https://factor.am/262660.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hdzgoe/jun222020_news_1_constitutional_court_bill/

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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