Public Discussion on the Draft Anti-Corruption Strategy in Syunik Region

On 29 October 2014 a Public Discussion with CSOs of Syunik region on the “Draft of the Republic of Armenia Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2014 – 2018” took place in Kapan. It was organized by the “Armenian Young Lawyers Association” NGO in the framework of the EU funded project “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion”.

Welcome speeches were delivered by the Executive Director of the Armenian Young Lawyers Association NGO and Project coordinator/Grants manager of the “Multi-Faceteed Anti-Corruption Promotion” project Artak Saribekyan and Regional Coordinator of the Program Ani Asatryan. The “Multi-Faceteed Anti-Corruption Promotion” project`s national expert Marat Atovmyan and international expert Carl Ulbricht presented the draft anti-corruption strategy, and then spoke about the possibilities of establishing an independent multi-functional anti-corruption body and criminalizing the illicit enrichment in Armenia. After the presentations active discussions revolved, those present came up with suggestions and expressed their opinions.

“Kapan Civil Movement” organization representative Davit Hakobyan thinks that the anti-corruption strategy policy of the last years has been very inefficient and if any changes have been registered, then only to the worse. He thinks that the underlying reason for this is the incomplete work of not only the government institutions, but also the NGOs, and to establish real changes there should be a political will of the governing authorities and only then the role and importance of the NGOs will become obvious.

Representative of the NGO “Against the violation of law” Hrayr Khachatryan raised the issue on why the draft strategy did not explicitly mention the criteria of targeting the 4 concrete spheres, and then suggested to establish independent anti-corruption bodies, each of which would be responsible for a concrete aspect as this was the only way for effective struggle against corruption.

“Regional Association of Kapan Women” NGO representative Susanna Martirosyan stated that the people`s mentality should firstly change, and that the legal awareness of the society is low. Mrs. Martirosyan thinks that to achieve changes they should start from the children, from schools, and it can be implemented through introducing anti-corruption courses in the educational programs. The “Syunik schoolchildren” NGO representative Arthur Hakobyan joined to the suggestion.

And “Keni” NGO representative Garegin Gabrielyan came up with his opinion on the illicit enrichment criminalization. He firstly wanted to know the extent which would be considered as an illicit enrichment, and then said that the problem wouldn`t be solved only through criminalization and concrete methods would be needed for the law to be enacted.