Soon the finalized “Draft of the Republic of Armenia Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2014-2018” will be presented to the public attention. A working meeting to discuss its concept and the suggestion of Civil Society was organized in Government-CSO format. This is the third event in such format that the Armenian Young Lawyers Association and Freedom of Information Center organize in the framework of the EU funded “Multifaceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project.
“Our project has sent to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia suggestions on establishing an independent anti-corruption body in the Republic of Armenia, as well as on criminalization of illicit enrichment. The local and international experts of our project are the authors of these suggestions,” said the President of the Armenian Young Lawyers Association Mr. Karen Zadoyan, “Multifaceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” Project Manager in his opening speech.
“We have great expectations from today’s discussions, as the drafting of the anti-corruption strategy is coming to its final phase, and we expect our partners’ opinions and comments. As it is provided in our concept, the public trust, public participation is the important and indispensable factor that will enable to effectively implement the strategy,” Mr. Suren Krmoyan, Deputy Minister of Justice of the RA mentioned.
“I think this concept paper gives a very good analysis of the situation and I hope that the strategy, the draft strategy we have Armenia moving forward. Now it’s time for action, it’s time for fight. We know Armenian can be pretty good in fighting for their rights,” Mr. Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation in Armenia said.
This time, unlike the previous anti-corruption strategies, the Government’s anti-corruption program has indicated the education, health, police and state revenue collection spheres as the priority areas of providing services to the citizens. The vision of the Government is expanding and improving the existing structures rather than establishing an independent anti-corruption body.
Mr. Mrat Atovmyan, the local expert on anti-corruption issues and Mr. Carl Ulbricht, international expert are of different opinion. They recommend based on the law to create a multifunctional independent anti-corruption body, and discuss the opportunities of criminalization of illicit enrichment in Armenia.
The concept on fight against corruption in the public administration sphere foresees to reserve the coordination of anti-corruption reforms and control over their implementation in Armenia to the Anti-Corruption Council and provided only 2 places in it to the CSO representatives. The issue was discussed from different aspects. Mrs. Shushan Doydoyan, President of Freedom of Information Center presented a suggestion to Suren Krmoyan.
“It is necessary to increase the representation of civil society in the Council from 2 to 3, 4, 5. This is another topic for discussion. If they are allowed to participate in the solution of these problems, then this should not be provided in small portions. It should rather be courageous, without being afraid of the risks. The doors must really be opened for the Civil Society.”
The CSO representatives directed a lot of questions to the representative of the Government and the experts during the working meeting.