Criminal Law – From Murders to Corruption: Ara Gabuzyan

From criminal law to individual cases – murders and corruption. talked about these issues in the framework of the new “Law Scholars” project with the Head of the Criminal law chair of the Law Department of Yerevan State University, Doctor in Law, Professor Ara Gabuzyan.

Mr. Gabuzyan also referred to the fact of the murder of 7 members of one family in Gyumri on 12 January, spoke about the motivations of the murder and referred to proposed versions. He spoke about the corruption as an occurrence passed genetically, and at the same focused on the area of the criminal law. Details in the interview.

Mr. Gabuzyan, how would you describe the dynamics of the development of criminal law? What problems and what solutions do you offer?

Criminal law is the most traditional branch of law, because in the duration of years, the core of crime offenses is repeated. The other question is that the response of the state and society to criminal behavior, during preventive measures is constantly changing over the time. Currently the trend in the worldwide fight against crime is as follows: to use alternative means of detention, because imprisonment is not an effective form of punishment, it has a negative effect on the convicted person; problems arise in the connection with re-socialization and correction of the convict.

Do the Armenian Law Scholars have opportunity to publish their scientific articles in foreign and international leading law journals? If “no”, how do you see the solution of this important problem? After all the Armenian Jurisprudence cannot have a separate development.

In fact we have such opportunities. There are publications as well; the problem is in language. Our scientists, especially the major part of the older generation does not possess knowledge of the foreign language, to be able to write. Though very often their works are translated. However, I believe that in future it is more important to have high level language skills.

According to different lawyers Criminal Code is subject to change. I think that experts from your Chair participate in this process as well. What is your personal position? Do we need a new Criminal Code?

DSC01706 copyThe alternative system of punishment, as well as the scientific and technological progress and development of science increases range of criminalized subjects. In connection with this the need of creation of the new Criminal Code of the RA aroused. Because the comparison with the developed countries shows that in our reality imprisonment is widely used. We have not a developed system of alternative sanctions. The necessity of establishment of the Criminal Code is associated with it as well. Of course, in addition to these there are many other issues that need to be solved, because the existing Criminal Code does not answer to many questions. The Code also has omissions and errors that must be corrected.

Currently the Ministry of Justice is trying to implement the probation service. Will it be operated in our reality and will it have success?

At the moment, it’s hard to tell. Here we have a lot of problems. The probation service in other countries was established in the 19th century that is their probation service has a long history. It is very important here the availability of personnel, the work carried out with the prisoners is hard enough; here the psychological, sociological, criminological skills and knowledge of the law are really necessary and important. Unfortunately, we did not have this practice and I think that the development of this structure, most problems can deal with great difficulties because of the lack of the personnel. Nonetheless, the probation service in the ideal condition is an effective structure; if we go to alternative punishments, if we want to limit the scope of application of imprisonment; it is not possible to implement this idea without this service.

I think you know some details about the murder that took place on January 12 in Gyumri. This murder was a special case. What the motives does the criminology see in the murders with similar basis?

In general, many theories on motivation and reasons related to the murders exist. Of course, I’m not familiar with the details of the case, I can only make assumptions. If we accept that Permyakov has committed the murder was committed, then there can be many reasons, including the revenge motive. The killing is an act of aggression, the formal mechanism of aggression starts to operate under the influence of frustration when the human needs are not being met or the life loses its meaning. In this situation, the person tries to get out of the state of frustration; the defensive mechanism of aggression begins to operate. Here the personal features of the individual have the essential importance. In case where the person’s level of education, intellectual capacity are low, if he has some psychological, emotional features then in these cases, the person without specifying the victim, tries to solve his internal conflicts.

Let’s pass from the particular questions to more general ones. Corruption Crime, what does it look like in Armenia currently and how to fight against this evil?

Corruption is a rather complex problem. The struggle itself is difficult. Corruption has many reasons, even historical and cultural ones. If we look at the Armenian reality, throughout the centuries we were under the rule of the states in which corruption was a form of behavior is common. For centuries we did not have statehood and under such conditions corruption had become a means of survival.

That is to say it is in the gene?!

փող-2-440x330It cannot be said definitely, but it is possible. There are studies done by the Germans, which say it can be transmitted genetically. The entire history of the Soviet period did not allow to get rid of the stain, because it was fairly common. In addition, there were organizational reasons of corruption, such as the over expanded state apparatus, problems with the social state of the officials and so on. There exists such an idea that the officials want to fight the social injustice through corruption. As long as the public servants do not receive a salary so that they can meet their minimum requirements and live normally, it is needless to speak about the fight against corruption. The fight against corruption requires complex measures. If we view the Armenian reality there is probably no area where there is no corruption. In Soviet-era corruption had a domestic nature. The fight against corruption has difficulties related with our minds and mentality: for example, there is the so-called bribe thanks. Even if the public servant is doing his job, they say, how we can’t thank him.

For example, present a bottle of brandy.

Yes. This, in its turn, on the other hand, if look thought the whole country we shall of course find friends, relatives, acquaintances. In this case, it is very difficult to fight against corruption as well.

Let’s talk about criminalization of the illicit enrichment, around which serious public debates are going on. The Anti-Corruption Coalition which joins around 70 non-governmental organizations offers the government to criminalize the illicit enrichment. What is your approach to this issue? Would there be a need to address the presumption of innocence within the constitutional reforms, because the subject of illegal enrichment shall have to prove the legitimacy of its assets and income before the investigative bodies.

This issue is discussed in the draft Criminal Code, but we have not reached a final position yet. Most likely, it will be foreseen in the Code. With regard to the presumption of innocence, the presumption of innocence in many countries associated with the corruption crimes does not work in the classic form; the burden of proof falls on the accused party; the doubts are interpreted not in favor of the accused or suspected. In this regard, some changes will be needed in the Constitution.

Let’s speak a little about you. Please, tell about your family.

I am married and have a daughter and a son; both are students in our Faculty of Law.

How did you raise your children?

There was nothing special. Raising the child is not limited to purposeful actions. I tried to educate them through making them interested in my own behavior and through communicating them with culture.

What are your priorities in Literature?

I like reading all kinds of books. In young years I liked detective and fantastic literature, and lately more philosophical ones.

Interview: Gevorg Tosunyan

Photos: Aleksander Sargsyan

Author of the idea: Karen Zadoyan

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