The Deputy Justice Minister Arman Tatoyan is one of the candidates to the Ombudsmen. Note that his candidature was proposed by the “Republican Party of Armenia” /RPA/. Is he ready to work in this post, what kind of problems does he see in this sphere and what solutions should be given? Iravaban.net had an interview with Arman Tatoyan about all these.
Mr. Tatoyan, what kind of problems do we have in the field of human rights protection and from where will you start the work in case of being appointed as an Ombudsman?
You know, there are many problems. I highly value the work of the Ombudsman, both the protection of human rights, and the preventive activities that aimed at preventing violations of rights. I want to say that I have done a lot of work in this direction during my work. In particular, I headed the working groups in the Ombudsman’s staff; we compiled special public reports connected with the protection of the prisoners’ rights.
I attach utmost importance to torture prevention sector. As the Deputy Justice Minister I had the chance to head the whole process of compiling the package of legislative reforms aimed at prevention of torture. And the National Assembly approved that package last year. The interpretation of torture brought was harmonised with international standards, criminal liability was envisaged for all those cases that can be under the prosecution. In these cases, private accusation became public. If a criminal case was not initiated before because of the absence of the application form a person, now a criminal case is initiated just where the incident occurred.
I highlight the improvement of legal aid system in prisons. In this regard, I have undertaken and headed the whole process of compiling the package of reforms. Especially, when the detained person did not have a chance to have another advocate except the one involved in the criminal case. I was aware of those problems as I had worked in the Ombudsman’s stuff and was in contact with that sector.
And what kind of work have you done in the Ombudsman’s office?
I have worked in the group of criminal procedure and the restoration of soldiers’ rights since 2004. Here, of course, I attended many penitentiaries, detention canters, police stations, all the places where people could be detained. I was also engaged in the protection of the servicemen’s rights. And besides, when the Ombudsman became the national mechanism for torture prevention (EU supported program in 2009-2011), I was in charge of preparing and coordinating the process of the report on HRD as a national prevention mechanism, we conducted monitoring, as well as identifying problems and presenting them to the corresponding bodies for teir resolution.
Is your knowledge and experience enough for the post of the Ombudsman?
Yes, of course. I believe that the experience and the knowledge, the work I have done in the Ombudsman’s stuff and throughout my activities will help me.
In addition, I want to say that we have cooperated with non-governmental organizations as well during the creation of the package on torture prevention. For example, on the suggestion of NGOs, criminal liability was provided for causing physical or mental pain, both in case where the pain was caused by an official or during the incident between two different persons.
Let’s talk about the criticism against your candidature. It is noted that though you announced you can work in the Ombudsman’ without any restraint, the fact that you have hold a responsible position in the government can cause restraint.
It does not matter. Moreover, it will help. The years of experience in the executive body gave me a chance to understand the internal problems. Besides, I had an opportunity to understand how the governmental body perceives the Ombudsman’s reports and how to recount them to reach the results. In my opinion, the protection of human rights should be the final objective and Ombudsman should do his best no matter which body he blames for this or that violation.
There are some thoughts that the former three ombudsmen “were stoned” for their activities. Are you ready for such rough reaction?
I worked in the Ombudsman’s stuff and many sensitive and problematic issues were raised. My analysis was based on the reports of the previous ombudsmen as well. I am completely aware of the problem and know how to work to achieve desirable results.
It is mentioned that the Ombudsman’s stuff is rather small especially in the regions the resources are few. Will you mediate to increase the stuff in case of your appointment?
For me, the existence of regional offices is very important. I also have many problems when people were coming from the regions. Everything depends on the objective: if the objective is to increase the efficiency of the work then we have to do everything.
Mr. Tatoyan my last question; how do you assess the work of the former Ombudsman?
Both, the work and the activities of Karen Andreasyan, Armen Harutyunyan and Larisa Alaverdyan were aimed at the problems of human rights protection and I think they were intended to solve that problems.