“In fact we strive to change our country. We strive to have a competitive legal state, where the citizens are not thinking of leaving the country at the first opportunity, but they want to stay here to create good and to develop it,” Mr. Karen Zadoyan, President of the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO, Coordinator of the Secretariat of the CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia said at the Annual Award Ceremony dedicated to the International Anti-Corruption Day.
He also spoke about the important achievements of this year: draft on criminalization of illicit enrichment approaching to its solution. “Thanks to God this eight-year battle shall be resolved this year. It would not be resolved, if there was not the government’s will. Also we are close to creating an independent anti-corruption body. We should not be afraid of slow progress, so that we do not feel sorry after two years that we had not created the body which we need and shall not start from the scratch,” Karen Zadoyan said and referred to the words of the Head of Lithuania’s STT, which the latter said at the meeting, which took place in the Special Investigation Service of the RA. There Mr. Saulius Urbanavičius said that effective fight against corruption has exceptionally a three-dimensional approach: education, prevention and punishment. In other words, the independent body should have all three authorities.
Mr. Davit Harutyunyan, Minister-Chief of Staff of the Government of the RA said that he attaches important to both the matter and the work for the progress, because one cannot go without the other. The matter is important in order to infect the public with ideas; and the work must be coordinated. Referring to the work done, he said that this is only the basis on which to build a successful fight against corruption.
Mr. Artur Davtyan, Prosecutor General of the RA attached great importance to the activities of the bodies of criminal prosecution in this fight against corruption. He said that in case of such crimes there are problems related to obtaining information and establish the guilt of the person committing the crime. There is a great need of public support in these two stages. He said that corruption is the serious challenge and struggle against it requires combined efforts.
H.E. Dr. Piotr Antoni Świtalski mentioned two big obstacles in the fight against corruption. One is when government officials believe that corruption is not a problem and try to find excuses. And the second one is when the public believes that there is no other way out of this situation. However, according to Mr. Świtalski, the Armenian society and government are ready to combat corruption: “I am so glad that the new government of Armenia has put the fight against corruption so high in its agenda. I am so glad that the Prime Minister is speaking so often, and when you look at the programme of the new government you can see that there are very ambitious and very far-reaching measures envisaged to be implemented. And I can only hope that these measures will be materialised. I am sure that when implemented these measures will bring about a change. So I hope that this year we are celebrating a turning point, that we will remember this day as a new chapter for Armenia and for our common challenges here. As the European Union, we stand ready to support this fight. As you may know, the European Union has allocated EUR15 mln to support different measures in the fight against corruption both through budget support and through financing initiatives, like the one we are participating in today. And we are ready to continue our support. As you know, the recent years were not encouraging. For 2015, the benchmarks for the commitments that were set forth were not fulfilled. Only 50% of what we wanted to allocate was authorised for spending by impartial evaluators. But I hope very much that this year and next year will be the good years. That is, the more the European Union can spend here in Armenia supporting the government and the civil society, the more rewarding this full process is for me personally and for the whole team”.
The opening speeches were followed by the award ceremony. The awards were handed to citizens and organizations, which were distinguished in fight against corruption
The award “Citizen of the Year” was handed to 21-year-old Gevorg Beglaryan. He born at home and due to this fact he did not have a birth certificate for 20 years. During those years he faced a great number of obstacles. He was repeatedly urged to try o obtain the document through corruption, but he refused and eventually received the document legally. Mr. Davit Harutyunyan, Minister-Chief of Staff of the Government of the RA handed the award.
The award “CSO of the Year” was handed to Hakob Avagyan, the President of SME Cooperation Association” NGO for the protection of the interests of business representatives and for proposing procedural solutions in case of corruption problems.
Ms Nelly Grigoryan, Journalist of “Aravot” Daily was recognized the “Journalist of the Year” for publications referring to corruption risks and ineffective spending from the state budget. “Business for Business” (b4b.am) website was handed to Mr. Babken Tunyan, Founder and CEO of b4b.am for referring to actual and painful problem of the monopolies in Armenia, and development of “Pro” program, which presents financial indicators of large Armenian companies’ operations. H.E. Dr. Piotr Antoni Switalski, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia handed the award.
Mr. Khachik Gevorgyan, President of ARMACAD received the award “Business Organization of the Year”. Thanks to the tenacious struggle, he managed to achieve the amendment in the law, which do not hinder the export of goods with low value.
Mr. Peter Mikiska, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Armenia and Mr. Amias Moores, Deputy Head of UK Mission to the Republic of Armenia handed the award.
19-year-old Ofelia Zakaryan, student of the Yerevan State University received the award “Young Citizen of the Year”. As a result of study of the work of customs brokers sphere Ofelia identified factors that may include corruption risks.
Then Mr. Karen Zadoyan handed Certificates of Appreciation for cooperation and support to H.E. Dr. Piotr Antoni Switalski, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia; Mr. Argo Avakov, Ambassador, Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan; Ms Arpine Hovhannisyan, the RA Minister of Justice; Mr. Davit Harutyunyan, Minister-Chief of Staff of the Government of the RA; Ms Satik Badeyan, President of “Regional Development and Research” NGO and a member of CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition; Mr. Hrayr Khachatryan, President of the “Law for the Rule of Law” NGO.
The project is funded by the European Union and co-funded by the OSCE Office in Yerevan. It is implemented by the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO Applicant and “Freedom of Information Center” NGO-Partner. The project duration is 3 years (January 2014 – December 2016) and the budget is 650,000 EUR, of which 585,000 EUR was contributed by the EU and 31,117 EUR was contributed by the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
The “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO and the CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia organized the Annual Award Ceremony Dedicated to the International Anti-Corruption Day in the scope of the “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project funded by the European Union and co-funded by the OSCE Office in Yerevan.