The Journalist was not allowed to cover the Court Hearing

Yesterday, the Criminal Court of Appeal launched the Court Hearing of the appeal of Garik Sargsyan, the Head of Nor Kyank Community in Ararat Marz.

Mr. Garik Sargsyan, the present Community Head, has reported to the police about the fraudulent signatures of the community council and the abuse of office by the former Community Head. However the police did not launch a criminal case on the grounds of absence of corpus delicti.

This decision of the police was appealed to the C of General Jurisdiction of Ararat and Vayots Dzor Marzes left the decision of the police in force. At present, Garik Sargsyan, appealed this decision of the first instance court to the Criminal Court of Appeal.

Judge Manushak Petrosyan examines the case.

At the beginning of the session, the journalist of filed a motion to photograph and film the trial. The attorneys representing Garik Sargsyan’s interests expressed their support for this motion, but Mr. Mayis Abrahamyan, the former Community Head the opposite side to the case, pointed out that they should have asked in advance.

“The court does not want either. You can make an audio record, but film the applicants only,” Judge Manushak Petrosyan said and announced a 2-minute break.

After a break, the judge asked the journalists to present a document. Our journalist submitted to the court her passport instead of a journalistic certificate for confirmation of the identity. However, judge Manushak Petrosyan was not satisfied with the passport only.

“Do you have proof that you represent the media that you have mentioned? You know, I do not doubt that you are a journalist, but since there is no proof at your disposal and you have not brought any proof, you cannot take part in the session as a journalist,” Judge Manushak Petrosyan said.

Our journalist expressed readiness to contact either the editor or to show the court the articles published in her name.

As for the expression “you cannot take part in the session as a journalist”, is at least incomprehensible. At the same time the principles of publicity of the court sessions, as well as the principles of obtaining and disseminating information, relate to the person irrespective of his/her profession.

According to Article 63 of the RA Constitution, shall have the right to a fair and public hearing of his or her case, within a reasonable time period, by an independent and impartial court. And this right is not limited to distinguishing among the journalists and ordinary citizens.

At the same time, Article 42 of the Constitution provides: “Everyone shall have the right to freely express his or her opinion. This right shall include freedom to hold own opinion, as well as to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas through any media, without the interference of state or local self-government bodies and regardless of state frontiers. ”

And even though currently there is a gap in the legal framework for coverage of criminal court cases, and there are no regulations, however thanks to the practice established due to transparent and honest work of a group of judges, the constitutional right of journalists and other citizens to receive and disseminate information is not violated.

And since the constitutional right of our journalist has been restricted by the judge Manushak Petrosyan, we present the information on the court session that she has provided.

Thus, Rustam Badasyan, advocate representing the interests of the head of Nor Kyank Community of Ararat marz Garik Sargsyan presented the appeal. Touching upon the fraudulent signatures of community council members, he said:

“We have provided sufficient grounds on abuse of official authority and official forgery. It is possible to notice that the signatures at the names in the council session protocols do not belong to them,” he said, and noted that there are different signatures in different protocols, near the name of the same person.

“The police did not clarify whether the council meetings were held or not,” said advocate Rustam Badasyan.

The advocate also touched upon the issue of alienation of community lands. Former Community Head Mayis Abrahamyan, who was involved in the case, also expressed his position. “The members of the Council of the Elders have signed the protocols of the sessions that they have taken part. The latter participated in all the sessions. If there are people who have 2-3 signatures, they have explained it. The former Head does not take part in the signing of the protocols of the Council of the Elders. The secretary asks the members to the sign the protocols and then submitted it to the approval of the community head,” the former Head of the Community said. He also noted that he could not see who had signed it and who not.

During the court hearing, the court addressed the trial of the case on violations of the RA Law on Procurement. The advocate mentioned that in general no investigation was conducted to confirm and reveal the reasons.

The next hearing will be held on 20 March, at 2:00 pm.

Katarine Gharslyan

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