"Fact-Collection Mission" The Only Thing Left To Do

Lilit Poghosyan

Hayots Ashkhar Daily
Published on July 24, 2008

As we know less than seven days after the visit of the Council of
Europe Human Rights Commissioner Hammerberg to Armenia, PACE Chairman
Luis Maria de Puichy visited Armenia to "help implement resolution
1609, 1620 and assess the process of the investigation of March 1-2

Yesterday the high ranking official paid a visit to the National
Assembly and according to the tradition met with the members of
Armenian delegation, representatives of the parliamentary factions
and the members of the temporary committee investigating March 1-2

During the discussions, besides the regular conversations regarding
the development and strengthening of the democratic institutions in
Armenia and bringing them in conformity with European standards another
problem was put forward. Which was – to create an "independent"
fact-collection mission, to collect facts regarding March 1-2
developments from different sources, which will create conditions
for the complete and comprehensive investigation of what has happened
and will provide atmosphere of trust towards the investigation results.

Chairman of NA temporary committee Samvel Nikoyan represents the
agenda of the issues touched upon during the meeting with Luis Maria
de Puic hy.

"The visit was firstly aimed at following the process of the
developments in Armenia, the implementation of resolution 1620 and
of course familiarizing themselves with the works of the temporary
committee. We had a detailed conversation about our activity.

Our stance is as follows: the committee has worked in the framework of
its competencies and the principles enshrined in resolution 1620. If
the conversation is about publicity, which is one of the key demands
of the Assembly, I don’t think any committee is as public as ours.

I told Mr. Puichy that by now the committee hasn’t solved any issue by
means of discussion; all the issues have been solved in the condition
of consensus, which is also in the framework of their proposals.

The next proposal of the Assembly was about involving the Human Rights
Defender in the activity of the committee and as you know the committee
met the proposal half way.

I have a single approach – if they are trying to give assessments to
the committee they must assess the implemented work. If after studying
the works they say that something is wrong, we are ready to discuss
it with them. The fact-collection mission, which they are discussing
at the moment, the committee has already realized, and, by the way,
completely. All the facts that they are going to collect are under
the possession of the committee. If they real ly have some they can
submit them. We don’t have anything against it.

Moreover, we have said many times, those who have problems, statements,
approaches or proposals they can submit them to the committee. We have
appealed to all the extra-parliamentary forces, social organizations,
to the individuals saying that if they have proposals we are ready
to cooperate.

All the issues have been solved on this plane."

"Did you manage to make it clear after your discussions with
PACE Chairman, what fact-collection mission are they going to
realize? Where, from whom and how are they going to form this

"After Hammerberg’s visit, most probably they came to a conclusion
that there should be a difference between fact-collection mission and
political analysis, that in essence we realize as a political body. The
proposal is as follows – to create a balanced fact-collection body,
an independent body consisting of independent experts. But it is a
big question who will appoint them. The interesting thing is that
neither NA decision nor resolution 1620 mentions this. And secondly,
by its decision the parliament gave the fact-collection competencies
to the committee, and only in case this balanced fact-collection body
is created in the framework of the committee, can it be in conformity
with NA decision.

Otherwise we must change NA decision and take a new decisio n. We
can do this only in the middle of September, because as you know
the parliament is on holiday. The proposal about creating a separate
group of experts is, in essence, acceptable. If you remember I have
appealed to Levon Ter-Petrosyan, and proposed him to send an expert
to the committee. Which means the idea of creating a group of balanced
experts is not new, and we welcome this idea.

As a political body we couldn’t create a balanced committee in the
National Assembly, where the ruling power and "Heritage" party, which
has 6-7 MPs in the Parliament, would have had 10 representatives each,
only because people want this.

The approach of creating a fact-collection group is logical, but
I must repeat, it can be only in the framework of the committee’s
competencies, otherwise we will have to take a new decision. But even
in that case, they must submit the collected facts to the committee,
for the latter to analyze it and make political conclusions."

"Does PACE Chairman consider it normal that despite your enormous
appeals, the opposition, in the person of "Heritage" Party and
Ter-Petrosyan’s supporters refuses to participate in the works of
the committee?"

"Judging from all they are not concerned about the fact that opposition
ignores them. Maybe they are afraid that they will call them old,
materialistic, bureaucrats, cy nical political figures, which is why
they don’t hurt our opposition."