168: The government’s measures tantamount to expropriation in the media industry

On , the Prime Minister of Armenia has launched attack on television companies in Armenia labelling them as “the corruptioners’ TV networks”. He went further saying that those TV channels must use “corruption” logos when they broadcast. Interestingly, the Government also discussed the need for transparency in business, including in the media industry, especially in relation to ownership and tax requirements (ultimate beneficial ownership). Furthermore, the Chairman of the Competition Commission surprisingly declared that the abuse of dominant position is available in the media industry.

It is apparent that the various state institutions have conspired together to attempt to silence critical media voices which are the threats to the independence of the media sector. The Government’s intent is to make the press serve those in power rather than the public. It is apparent the Government has no an evidence-based policy at all which would enable to assess the risks and implement the reforms.

Apart from the threats to media freedom, the Government intends to undertake regulatory measures which would be tantamount to expropriation which represents the most serious infringement of private property rights. The authorities must realize that at its essence, an expropriation is the taking of private property by a government acting in its sovereign capacity. If the Government decides to expropriate those television companies, it has two options: “lawful” and “unlawful” expropriations.

A “lawful” expropriation must be, at a minimum, for a public purpose, non-discriminatory and accompanied by a prompt, adequate and effective compensation. The principles of Armenian legislation recognize a similar standard and generally include the further requirement that expropriation be conducted according to due process of law. However, if it is an “unlawful”, the Government would open a floodgate for claims in courts and international arbitrations where the standard of compensation would be different and extremely high.

It is important to note that the authorities have already taken measures in the medial industry which have risen to a substantial deprivation (indirect expropriation) by arresting the owner of TV 5, Armen Tavadyan.

It is to be noted that the Government is already facing expropriation cases in international arbitration which have a negative impact on the country’s investment environment. The Government has failed to provide the minimum standards of protection – Lydian and Sanitek are likely to bring their arbitration claims against Armenia.

Furthermore, if the Government decides to revoke the TV licenses, it may result in an interference with the rights under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights which guarantees the right to property. Any such interference with the rights protected by Article 1 would fail to meet the requirement of lawfulness. It is the first and most important requirement and It must be compatible with the rule of law which includes freedom from arbitrariness. If there is an alleged violation, Armenia is required to compensate for expropriation. In addition, those TV companies can argue in the Strasbourg Court that there is a violation under Article 14 in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 i.e., the applicant has been denied all or part of a particular asset on a discriminatory ground and it was a politically-motivated deprivation under Article 18 of the Convention.

Concluding, the Government’s duty must be to ensure the sustainability of independent media in Armenia and ensure that its actions do not amount to a deprivation of property.

 GPARTNERS LAW FIRM

Sargis Grigoryan, Partner




RFE/RL Armenian Report – 01/17/2020

                                        Friday, 

Former Armenian Security Chief Found Shot Dead (UPDATED)

        • Marine Khachatrian
        • Tatevik Lazarian

Armenia - Georgi Kutoyan, the former director of the National Security Service.

Georgi Kutoyan, who headed Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) in the 
final years of former President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule, was found shot to death 
in Yerevan on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee, Naira Harutiunian, reported in 
the afternoon that Kutoyan’s body had a gunshot wound then it was discovered by 
his wife at his Yerevan apartment “a short while ago.”

Forensic experts and other officers of the law-enforcement agency are already 
“working at the scene,” Harutiunian wrote on Facebook.

A high-ranking Investigative Committee official, Artur Melikian, said later in 
the day that preliminary indications are that Kutoyan, 38, was killed by a 
gunshot fired at his head. But investigators also found dozens of bullets in the 
apartment and forensic experts will determine whether those were fired from the 
same pistol, he told reporters outside the apartment building cordoned off by 
police.

Melikian said that premeditated murder is therefore one of the theories of 
Kutoyan’s death considered by the investigators.

“We don’t yet have information that anyone heard gunshots,” he said, adding that 
more residents of the apartment block will be questioned in the coming days.

A lawyer by education, Kutoyan had worked as an assistant to Sarkisian from 2011 
until his surprise appointment as director of the NSS in February 2016. He was 
sacked by newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in May 2018 immediately 
after the “Velvet Revolution” that toppled the country’s former leader.

Kutoyan has made no public statements since then. He also kept a low profile 
during his tenure.


Armenia -- President Serzh Sarkisian talks to the newly appointed National 
Service Chief Georgi Kutoyan, 12Feb2016

Sarkisian offered condolences to Kutoyan’s family and said he is “deeply 
shocked” by the death of the former NSS chief whom described as a highly 
competent and “decent” individual. In a statement, the ex-president also called 
for public scrutiny of the unfolding probe of his death.

Armen Ashotian, the deputy chairman of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia 
(HHK), also expressed shock at the “murder” of Kutoyan. “This tragic incident is 
very strange and raises many questions,” he wrote, demanding a “transparent and 
comprehensive” investigation from law-enforcement authorities.

Edmon Marukian, the leader of another opposition party, Bright Armenia, likewise 
demanded that relevant authorities find “clear answers to many questions” 
resulting from the fatal shooting.

“This is an unexpected and shocking development which we need to seriously 
analyze and understand … what caused it,” Alen Simonian, a senior lawmaker 
representing the ruling My Step bloc, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

Simonian suggested vaguely that Kutoyan’s death is one of the “echoes of the 
past which we are still hearing.” He declined to elaborate.

Kutoyan is the second former senior security official found shot dead in the 
last four months. Hayk Harutiunian, a former chief of the Armenian police, was 
found dead in his country house in September.

Harutiunian reportedly had a gunshot wound to his head. Investigators suggested 
that he committed suicide.

In the months leading up to his death, Harutiunian was repeatedly interrogated 
in an ongoing criminal investigation into the 2008 post-election violence in 
Yerevan. The Special Investigative Service, which is conducting that inquiry, 
told the Armenpress news agency that it never questioned Kutoyan as a witness or 
suspect.

The Investigative Committee and the NSS did not investigate or interrogate 
Kutoyan either, according to the committee spokeswoman.



Armenian Gas Operator May Seek Price Rise

        • Robert Zargarian

Armenia - The Gazprom Armenia headquarters in Yerevan, October 31, 2014.

Armenia’s national gas distribution company owned by Russia’s Gazprom giant 
confirmed on Friday that it may ask public utility regulators to raise its 
retail prices set for households and corporate consumers.

“The company is discussing the issue of revising the tariffs,” said a spokesman 
for the Gazprom Armenia network. He did not specify the scale of the possible 
price rise.

The retail prices are set by the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PRSC). 
Its chairman, Garegin Baghramian, did not comment on the likelihood of their 
increase when he spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service. He said only that the two 
sides are continuing their discussions on “long-term pricing.”

The cost of Russian gas supplied to Armenian consumers remained unchanged after 
Gazprom raised its wholesale price for Armenia from $150 to $165 per thousand 
cubic meters in January 2019. This translated into additional major expenses for 
Gazprom Armenia, which already reported growing financial losses in the course 
of 2018. Armenian officials have said until now that the gas network can offset 
those losses through cost-cutting.

In a statement issued on New Year’s Eve, Gazprom announced that it will not 
raise further the price of gas supplied to its Armenian subsidiary at least 
before the end of 2020.

The announcement came after months of negotiations between Armenian and Russian 
government officials and Gazprom executives. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol 
Pashinian and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the issue when they met 
in Yerevan in October.

“We talked about a gas price for Armenia that will not break Armenia’s economic 
dynamics,” Pashinian said afterwards.

One of Pashinian’s deputies, Mher Grigorian, expressed confidence in November 
that the domestic gas tariffs will not rise before April 2020.

Armenian households currently pay 139 drams (30 U.S. cents) per cubic meter of 
Russian gas.



Parliament Attack Ringleader Appeals To Pashinian

        • Sargis Harutyunyan

Armenia - A screenshot of TV footage of gunmen opening fire in the Armenian 
parliament on 27 October, 1999.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s office on Friday confirmed reports that he has 
received a letter from the jailed man who led a deadly attack on the Armenian 
parliament in 1999.

The office declined to disclose the content of the letter sent by Nairi Hunanian.

An obscure former journalist, Hunanian led an armed group that burst into the 
National Assembly and sprayed it with bullets on October 27, 1999. Then Prime 
Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and six other 
officials were killed in the shooting spree that thrust Armenia’s government 
into turmoil.

Hunanian accused the government of corruption and misrule and called for regime 
change as he held dozens of parliament deputies and government officials hostage 
following the killings. He and the four other gunmen, including his brother 
Karen and uncle Vram Galstian, surrendered to police after overnight 
negotiations with then President Robert Kocharian. The gunmen were subsequently 
tried and sentenced to life in prison.

Hunanian became eligible for parole in October last year because of having spent 
20 years in prison. He asked appropriate authorities to set him free. The 
application was rejected.

The jailed ringleader, who turned 54 recently, appears to have written to 
Pashinian shortly after law-enforcement authorities decided late last month 
resume a criminal investigation into the 1999 killings. They will presumably try 
to establish whether Hunanian’s armed group had powerful sponsors outside the 
parliament building.

Some relatives and supporters of the assassinated officials still suspect former 
Kocharian and his successor President Serzh Sarkisian (no relation to Vazgen), 
who was Armenia’s national security minister in October 1999, of masterminding 
the killings to eliminate powerful rivals. Both men repeatedly dismissed such 
suggestions during and after a serious political crisis caused by the killings.

Throughout his and his henchmen’s marathon trial Hunanian insisted that he 
himself had decided to seize the parliament without anybody's orders.



Press Review


“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” accuses Armenia’s former rulers of plotting to overthrow 
the current government and alleges that members of the Constitutional Court are 
part of this creeping “coup.” “At any moment they may decide to declare Nikol 
Pashinian’s government illegal,” claims the paper. It says that they are not 
only spreading fake news but also trying to form “some counterweight against the 
authorities.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” complains that most Armenians still feel that people 
demonstrating against various government decisions or policies are definitely 
right. “The reasons for this sentiment are understandable,” writes the paper. 
“With a handful of exceptions, this has for decades been the case in Armenia. In 
hopes of solving their problems, victims of one or another injustice simply 
organized protests, having no other means of communication with the authorities 
… We now have a situation where everyone is by and large in favor of changes and 
believes that Armenia must become a more modern state. But everyone thinks that 
everything except the ‘traditional’ practices of their sphere must change.” The 
paper says that this sentiment is fanned and exploited by the country’s former 
leaders.

“Aravot” comments on Armenian reactions to Human Rights Watch’s latest annual 
report on human rights practices around the world, including Armenia. The paper 
says pro-government and opposition forces cherry-picked different parts of the 
report fitting their conflicting political agendas. “The authorities maintain 
that Human Rights Watch glorified Armenia’s post-revolution achievements while 
the oppositions are convinced that the organization voiced devastating criticism 
of the state of human rights in Armenia,” it says.

(Lilit Harutiunian)


Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2020 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
www.rferl.org


Ex-Baku refugee: Azerbaijanis were congratulating us during 1988 earthquake in Armenia

News.am, Armenia
Jan 17 2020

18:01, 17.01.2020
                  

During the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, the Azerbaijanis were congratulating us on the deaths of Armenians. This is what Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, a refugee from Baku, told reporters today.

According to her, this goes to show that there had been not only physical, but also psychological pressure exerted on the Armenians for many years. “It came to a point where, in 1989, my neighbor attacked me, and we moved to the United States. Our neighbors stayed in Baku and were killed during the pogroms. Overall, we had felt a change of attitude towards the Armenians in 1988, and my entire life has been linked to memories of those horrible events,” the eyewitness said and regretted that the Armenian authorities have been passive all this time.

“Living in the United States, I see how Azerbaijan actively advances the false agenda related to the events of Khojalu, while Armenia isn’t doing anything to present the real image of the events of the past to the world,” Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte said.

From February 26 to 29, 1988, Armenian pogroms took place in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait, and based on official statistics, the pogroms left 27 dead and hundreds wounded. In a matter of days, 18,000 Armenians left the city. Two years later (from January 13 to 19, 1990), Armenian pogroms took place in Baku, leading to the murders of nearly 100 people and the expulsion of more than 200,000.

Wikileaks: Armenian 1st president asked the Americans for assistance before March 1 tragic event

News.am, Armenia
Jan 17 2020

18:09, 17.01.2020
                  

The My Voice project has presented some opinions and assessments of American diplomatic sources about the 2008 presidential election and the tragic events of March 1, 2008, which appeared at the declassified Wikileaks documents. My Voice also provides links to Wikileaks:

The materials of 12 years ago are remarkable today. Moreover, they are especially important today, when an attempt is made to present reality only from the point of view of the Special Investigation Service and some players, the source noted.

Part 1.

The 2008 presidential elections in Armenia, as well as previous and subsequent events, were the focus of the US embassy in the republic. US diplomats did not remain indifferent to these events, trying to understand reality as accurately as possible, and sometimes taking on an intermediary role.

From the materials related to the internal political events in Armenia from November 2007 to April 2008 and published in Wikileaks, we highlighted the documents of greatest interest. Their overwhelming majority was compiled by representatives of the US Embassy in Armenia and sent to the State Department, the US Security Council, and NATO.

According to Wikileaks publications, back in 2007, the US Embassy was collecting information about the upcoming presidential election, while maintaining contact with the main candidates.

In a letter from November 27, 2007, Deputy Chief of Mission Joseph Pennington, presents Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s opportunities in the upcoming elections. According to Pennington, Ter-Petrosyan has very little chance of winning. Speaking about the candidate Artur Baghdasaryan, he noted that the latter would ‘sell’ his support to the one whose probability of victory would be greater.

In a letter from October 12, 2007, Chargé d’Affaires at the US embassy in Armenia, Rudolf V. Perina, notes that Ter-Petrosyan invited the US Chargé d'Affaires, to whom he presented points of view on the Karabakh issue, asking them to transfer it to Ambassador Matthew Bryza. His main idea was one official document that would summarize the results in the negotiation process on Karabakh, recorded during the reign of Armenian second president Robert Kocharyan.

He suggested that the Minsk Group co-chairs present a conflict resolution plan that summarizes all the circumstances agreed to date. Regardless of whether the parties agree to this or not, the presence of such a document meant the publication of the final result of the negotiation process during the time of Kocharyan. According to Levon Ter-Petrosyan, this would enable other presidents to continue from this point to not start all over again. He also asked not to submit the proposal as his, to keep this fact a secret and to present everything on behalf of the American co-chair. Ter-Petrosyan also asked to arrange a meeting with Bryza.

Commenting on the proposal of the latter, Perina notes that this has a certain political motivation. First, in his opinion, at one stage during the expected campaign, Ter-Petrosyan wants to say that the Karabakh issue was discussed with the US, to show that in comparison with Serzh Sargsyan he is a serious alternative. Secondly, if he can become president, which Ter-Petrosyan himself considers very likely, this document will be important in that sense to show that Kocharyan allegedly was negotiating around a losing document. It will also give him the opportunity as a president to compromise in negotiations with Azerbaijan.

This declassified Wikileaks document, perhaps, is distinguished by its exceptional shades: first of all, the fact that Ter-Petrosyan was ready to work against Kocharyan even at the cost of the country's security. In fact, asking the American side to disclose the unacceptable details of the negotiations, he understood that thereby giving Azerbaijan a huge advantage during further talks.

Another major episode: in 2008, Ter-Petrosyan sought power with a willingness to make concessions on the Karabakh issue, which he did not hide during meetings with US diplomats and, naturally, trying to “blame” it on Kocharyan.

Part 2: Manipulation.

February 12, 2008. A letter from the US Chargé d'Affaires Joseph Pennington to the US Department of State, NATO and several other organizations also mentions a rally organized by Levon Ter-Petrosyan on February 9 at Freedom Square. He noted that approximately 40,000 people took part in it. The US representative reports that several influential and wealthy representatives of the Yerkrapah Volunteer Union expressed their support for the latter. Pennington singles out an episode from Ter-Petrosyan’s speech, in which the latter accuses Kocharyan of the readiness to exchange Meghri for Shushi and Lachin. Pennington noted that Ter-Petrosyan’s goal was to show the public that there was a disagreement between the Armenian and Karabakh residents.

The US official also thinks that the real purpose of Ter-Petrosyan’s speech was public manipulation.

From this it becomes clear that American diplomats initially determined the main goals of the Ter-Petrosyan’s movement to manipulate society and sow enmity between the residents of Armenia and Karabakh.

Part 3: The rallies is the goal.

On February 13, 2008, Pennington noted in a letter that both Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Serzh Sargsyan were ready to go all the way to obtain positive results in these elections. No one is ready to accept a loss based on the results of the vote. The US representative predicts that Ter-Petrosyan will not be able to bring the required number of determined people to the street. He predicts that, protests will be quickly dispersed by the authorities with minimal use of violence, but at the same time not excluding the possibility of serious clashes.

Pennington notes that Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s plan is precisely in rallies. He is preparing to fill the streets after the election and declare that the election results were falsified by the authorities.

Part 4: Elections – Americans tend to believe the results of candidates.

02/20/2008 Pennington's letter sent to the State Department, the US Security Council, Turkey (probably to the US Embassy in Ankara) and several other organizations, 

The SS is recognized as the winner of the elections: the number of participants in opposition rallies reaches 50,000.

The  US representative in a letter notes that, according to the situation at 8pm, the number of demonstrators reached 50,000 mark at the Freedom Square, and so far the rallies are peaceful. It is also noted that the OSCE observation mission described these elections as mostly in line with international standards.

02.21.2008 Pennington writes an urgent letter that he sends to the State Department. It notes that on February 21, Ter-Petrosyan’s advisor Levon Zurabyan asked to arrange a meeting with a representative of the US Embassy. Zurabyan handed the letter to the latter, noting that it was personally from Ter-Petrosyan. It is noted that it is Zurabyan who is the person who maintains contact with the US diplomatic mission from Ter-Petrosyan.

Zurabyan also made two comments. He stressed that they have information that the authorities are going to interfere with the rallies planned for 3pm. According to him, the authorities are holding open the possibility of holding a second round, since Sargsyan’s result may fall even further from the mark of 50% and a second round will be held. Zurabyan said that they are sure that Ter-Petrosyan won the election.

According to Ter-Petrosyan’s letter, people are angry, they push them to decisive action. He noted that they kept the rallies within the rule of law, but at some point the situation may get out of control. The only way out is the second round, he noted calling on the US embassy to put pressure on the authorities so that a second round takes place and that no one interferes with their peaceful rallies, noting that the authorities will not be able to refuse the requirements of the diplomatic mission.

Commenting on Ter-Petrosyan’s letter, Pennington noted that they don’t want to get involved in the domestic political life of Armenia, while Ter-Petrosyan is waiting for this.

02/27/2008 The US Chargé d'Affaires ad interim and another embassy official meet with the main assistant and adviser S. Sargsyan on February 26, they ask the US to show even greater support for Sargsyan due to legitimacy, which, according to them, will make the rest of the parties show proper behavior. Embassy’s representatives replied that the clean conduct of the democratic process is Armenian government’s business, and that the US cannot give a green light on this issue. Although the US representative in his letter did not directly indicate the victory of Serzh Sargsyan, he noted that the latter gathered more votes than other candidates.

02/28/2008 Pennington presents the details of the meeting with Kocharyan on February 28. During the meeting, Kocharyan informed the American side that several days ago there were dangerous processes involving Yerkrapah, when the situation from the political channel could develop into a military one, meaning a coup attempt. Kocharyan noted that Yerkrapah already knows that if they try to provide military support to Ter-Petrosyan, the state will be able to withstand this with all force.

Touching upon a number of detentions, Pennington quoted Kocharyan as saying that their goal was to exclude the presence of weapons during rallies. Kocharyan also noted that if he wants to free the square, he will do it in 40 minutes, but this will harm the demonstrators, and he does not want it.

The US information once again confirms that an attempt was made with the help of senior officials of Defense Ministry, some Yerkrap commanders to lead political processes in a way dangerous for the statehood of the country in the direction of overthrowing the constitutional order with the use of violence.

To be continued.

[1]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07YEREVAN1383_a.html

[2]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07YEREVAN1482_a.html

[3]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07YEREVAN1050_a.html

[4]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07YEREVAN1257_a.html

[5]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN110_a.html

[6]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN117_a.html

[7]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN144_a.html

[8]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN150_a.html

[9]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN154_a.html

[10]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN163_a.html

[11]https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN168_a.html»



Moscow hopes for resumption of “substantive dialogue” on Nagorno Karabakh

Public Radio of Armenia
Jan 17 2020

EU ambassador to Armenia: You will have no human rights without rule of law

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 17 2020
Politics 15:37 17/01/2020 Armenia

Political will is important in Armenia’s path to democracy, EU Ambassador to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin told reporters on Friday on the sidelines of a discussion on human rights protection in places of depravation of liberty and the institution of the human rights defender as a preventive mechanism.

“The political will is there. Now we have to do the implementation together,” Wiktorin said, adding the UN and EU stand ready to support Armenia in different fields.

“The important thing now is to go step by step to do the reforms you have foreseen and we will be there to help you,” she said.

The diplomat noted the EU is closely cooperating with the UN on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 16 SGD goal is where the efforts meet.

In response to a question over the human rights situation in Armenia and the work of the Armenian government over the past one year and a half, the diplomat said she has ‘a comparison’.

“I think the situation really improved and I can only underline again that you have quite a lot of reforms that need to be implemented. You will have no human rights without rule of law,” the ambassador stressed.

“I am here now for four months, but I am really impressed by all the efforts done to bring forward the judiciary reform. The EU will be a big partner in this to support the process,” the ambassador said.

She added during the Partnership Committee meeting held in Brussels in December both sides agreed that a progress is being made. “But it doesn’t mean that we can stop, it doesn’t mean that everything is finalized tomorrow. So it really needs more time and continued engagement,” she stressed.

Andrea Wiktorin said to be also impressed by the Armenian government’s engagement in the development and implementation of the anti-corruption strategy. 

Armenian National Congress political party on constitutional amendments

News.am, Armenia
Jan 17 2020

16:41, 17.01.2020
                  

Immediate restoration of the semi-presidential governance model must be the primary objective of the constitutional amendments. This is stated in the statement issued by the Armenian National Congress political party.

The statement reads as follows:

“On December 30, 2019, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan adopted a decision on the creation of a commission to prepare for constitutional amendments. The decision envisages developing the package of constitutional amendments in accordance with the 2019-2023 Strategy for Judicial and Legal Reforms approved by the Government of Armenia on October 10, 2019. In this regard, the Congress deems it necessary to state the following:

1. The existing Constitution was developed for the purpose of eternalizing the power of the former regime and its head, was “adopted” through the falsification of 500,000 votes, but based on the real results of the vote, it was rejected by the prevailing majority of the citizens of Armenia; thus, it is illegitimate, and what happened dealt a serious blow to the foundations of Armenian statehood.

2. It is important to state that the parliamentary governance model wasn’t actually accepted by the people of Armenia. It has led to political crises in several democratic countries, and in the long run, it will lead to constant political crises in Armenia as well.

3. Consequently, immediate restoration of the semi-presidential governance model must be the primary objective of the constitutional amendments. This will ensure political stability, security and the potential for reforms in the political and economic systems of the country.

4. However, judging from the government’s Strategy, the proposed package of constitutional amendments will help solve tactical, not strategic issues, particularly with regard to overcoming the crisis in the Constitutional Court.

5. No matter how important the solution to the aforementioned issues is important, if the proposed package of constitutional amendments is only restricted to the correction of the flaws of the constitutional governance model, it will overlook the several issues caused by the referendum that was falsified in 2015.

6. The creation of the commission for constitutional amendments had to be preceded by large-scale public consultations and deliberations with the participation of political parties and non-governmental organizations, and these consultations and deliberations had to lead to the creation of a concept paper on constitutional amendments, and most importantly, approaches to the informed and lawful adoption of a governance model by the public.”

Armenian National Congress political party on constitutional amendments

News.am, Armenia
Jan 17 2020

16:41, 17.01.2020
                  

Immediate restoration of the semi-presidential governance model must be the primary objective of the constitutional amendments. This is stated in the statement issued by the Armenian National Congress political party.

The statement reads as follows:

“On December 30, 2019, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan adopted a decision on the creation of a commission to prepare for constitutional amendments. The decision envisages developing the package of constitutional amendments in accordance with the 2019-2023 Strategy for Judicial and Legal Reforms approved by the Government of Armenia on October 10, 2019. In this regard, the Congress deems it necessary to state the following:

1. The existing Constitution was developed for the purpose of eternalizing the power of the former regime and its head, was “adopted” through the falsification of 500,000 votes, but based on the real results of the vote, it was rejected by the prevailing majority of the citizens of Armenia; thus, it is illegitimate, and what happened dealt a serious blow to the foundations of Armenian statehood.

2. It is important to state that the parliamentary governance model wasn’t actually accepted by the people of Armenia. It has led to political crises in several democratic countries, and in the long run, it will lead to constant political crises in Armenia as well.

3. Consequently, immediate restoration of the semi-presidential governance model must be the primary objective of the constitutional amendments. This will ensure political stability, security and the potential for reforms in the political and economic systems of the country.

4. However, judging from the government’s Strategy, the proposed package of constitutional amendments will help solve tactical, not strategic issues, particularly with regard to overcoming the crisis in the Constitutional Court.

5. No matter how important the solution to the aforementioned issues is important, if the proposed package of constitutional amendments is only restricted to the correction of the flaws of the constitutional governance model, it will overlook the several issues caused by the referendum that was falsified in 2015.

6. The creation of the commission for constitutional amendments had to be preceded by large-scale public consultations and deliberations with the participation of political parties and non-governmental organizations, and these consultations and deliberations had to lead to the creation of a concept paper on constitutional amendments, and most importantly, approaches to the informed and lawful adoption of a governance model by the public.”

Armenia health minister on his service car: My personal cars are more expensive than the Prado

News.am, Armenia
Jan 17 2020

17:38, 17.01.2020

YEREVAN. – We have a lot of cars that I use sometimes, and now I am walking toward Republic Square, to the government, to the ministerial committee meeting. Armenia’s Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan said this in a conversation with journalists today, referring to the issue of the Prado-model car servicing him.

To the observation that it was stated that such an expensive car could not service him, he said: “Why couldn't it serve me? How expensive is that car? As far as I know, this car was purchased in 2014-2015 for 14 million drams. (…). We [the Ministry of Health] now have 4 or 5 cars, and sometimes we all use them. My personal cars are more expensive than the Prado, if you are interested."

Torosyan also referred to the press report, according to which the government had left the Minister of Health all alone. “The press was not writing; only news medium was writing whose duty is to write something like that twice a day, or once every two days, which I do not consider to be serious to refer. I'm a member of the executive [branch of power]. How can they have a conflict with the executive?”


Armenia health minister on his service car: My personal cars are more expensive than the Prado

News.am, Armenia
Jan 17 2020

17:38, 17.01.2020

YEREVAN. – We have a lot of cars that I use sometimes, and now I am walking toward Republic Square, to the government, to the ministerial committee meeting. Armenia’s Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan said this in a conversation with journalists today, referring to the issue of the Prado-model car servicing him.

To the observation that it was stated that such an expensive car could not service him, he said: “Why couldn't it serve me? How expensive is that car? As far as I know, this car was purchased in 2014-2015 for 14 million drams. (…). We [the Ministry of Health] now have 4 or 5 cars, and sometimes we all use them. My personal cars are more expensive than the Prado, if you are interested."

Torosyan also referred to the press report, according to which the government had left the Minister of Health all alone. “The press was not writing; only news medium was writing whose duty is to write something like that twice a day, or once every two days, which I do not consider to be serious to refer. I'm a member of the executive [branch of power]. How can they have a conflict with the executive?”