The Proposals on instituting Criminal Proceedings based on Media Publications were discussed: Meeting with the Prosecutor General

It is necessary to establish criteria by which criminal cases will be instituted based on media publication-reports on crime. The CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia has already developed and presented to the RA Prosecutor General’s Office a legal document with a number of suggestions on the mechanisms and criteria for the initiation of criminal cases based on reports of corruption offenses.

Today, members of the Armenian CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition had a meeting with RA Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan, during which the proposals were discussed. Deputy Prosecutor General Hayk Aslanyan, Adviser Gor Abrahamian and Head of Corruption and Economic Crimes Division Arsen Simonyan also attended the meeting-discussion.

Arthur Davtyan noted in his speech that he takes seriously the activities of the coalition and the package of proposals will be a subject of a more thorough study in the prosecutor’s office.

Chairman of the Governing Board of Armenian CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition Tevan Poghosyan mentioned that the document is important from the point of view of the criteria presented in it, based on which the publication of the media may serve as a basis for initiating a criminal case. For example, the source of the information is trustworthy, the information is verified, and so on. And it is also proposed to have an internal monitoring group in the Prosecutor’s Office, which will conduct media review and proceed with the media publications based on these criteria.

Karen Zadoyan, the President of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association and the Coordinator of the Secretariat of the CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia mentioned that criminalization of illicit enrichment has already come into legal force and it is envisaged that in the near future when high-ranking officials will submit their property and income declarations, NGOs and mass media will carry out numerous studies and publications, which should be considered by the law enforcement authorities. Consequently, it is desirable that the proposals created by the coalition are processed in the possibly shortest timeframe.

K. Zadoyan also suggested to create a possibility in the website of the prosecutor’s office which will enable citizens to personally provide links to the publication of the media and draw special attention to specific publications as it is provided for in case of the whistleblowers’ institute. He also added that the Coalition and the Armenian Lawyers’ Association are in the roots of the introduction of the Whistleblowers’ Institute, and have repeatedly stated that the whistleblowing system should be operated and controlled by a single body, which should be the Prosecutor General’s Office.

At the end of the meeting Artur Davtyan said that the discussions may continue in a different format as well for the solution of the targeted issues. “We should make you work and you should make us work.”

It should be noted that on December 9 of the past year the RA Prosecutor General’s Office and the Coalition signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which envisaged to conduct joint steps aimed at the legislative reforms.

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