Composition of the Anti-Corruption Council shall be changed: Recommendation of CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition has been approved
The government finally admitted that the relevant decision which would have to regulate the Council’s activity was imperfect and incomplete. In particular, justifications of the new decision of the government read: “It was provided that representatives of 2 (two) non-governmental organizations must be included in the Council. However, not any NGO has become a member of the Council since its establishment. The reasons that the NGOs have not joined the Council are the strict criteria provided to the NGOs and the number of the NGOs in the Council.”
Notably, the Armenian Lawyers’ Association and CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition have constantly raised this issue. Today while presenting the draft at the Government Session, the RA Minister of Justice Arpine Hovhannisyan said that the department had made definite changes, which were agreed with the representatives of civil society. “We propose to increase the number of CSO representatives making it 4 instead of 2, and moreover, include NGOs, that are organizations of business sector, and also include 1 representative from the CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia. In addition, the HRD shall also be included in the Council. The requirements for including the NGOs are softened as well.”
Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan was interested how many people will be in the Council. The Minister said that it is difficult to specify the exact number at this point as there are representatives from the National Assembly, who have not confirmed their participation yet. She also informed that there are 5 NGOs and the about 10 governmental bodies.
“Shall it be a manageable Council eventually?” the Prime Minister asked. In response, the Minister said. “Relatively, yes.” Karen Karapetyan clarified the matter, saying that he meant whether it would work more effectively or not. “In terms of work it is effective,” the Minister said.
It is due to remind that during the former Government, and specifically the former Minister of Justice Hovhannes Manukyan, there were large protest against the decision, the civil society boycotted the participation in the Council, explaining that 2 NGO representatives in the composition of the Council are not sufficient to ensure effectiveness of the Council. Then Minister Hovhannes Manukyan thought that boycott is a form of struggle as well.
Today, the Government completely adopted the recommendations of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association and CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition.
“7. Non-governmental organizations which meet the requirements listed below may participate in the Council:
1) have, at least three years work experience in the anti-corruption field within the past five years,
2) their Charter provides the right to carry out anti-corruption activities.
3) have experience of cooperation with international organizations in the field of anti-corruption.
4) will present information on at least 2 projects in the field of anti-corrupt implemented with international organizations and (or) its own initiative,
5) will present positive opinion (evaluation) from the partner organization regarding the effectiveness of the programs implemented with international organizations.”