If a Professional and Normally paid Commission is not created, then I don’t believe that the Council will work effectively: Varuzhan Hoktanyan

According to the new anti-corruption strategy of the RA an anti-corruption council should be established and it is foreseen to include 2 NGO representatives in its structure. However the positions on the composition of the Council are different, specifically, Varuzhan Hoktanyan, Director of the Anti-Corruption Center of Transparency International in the interview with Iravaban.net considers that the NGOs ion the composition of the Council should be rather observers and not have the status of full members. “It seems to me that the status of the observer is proper, especially on the background of the current political developments, and there are many other reasons as well.”

According to him, first of all, there is the “reputation risk problems” of the NGO that is if several important provisions that are foreseen in the strategy are not implemented then the reputation of the NGOs included in the composition of the Council will be under the question.

“There is one important factor, the expert committee should be set up, if it is not created, it will be just like it was during the previous strategy. When secretariat should have been established but it wasn’t created. If a professional and normally paid Commission is not created, then I don’t believe that the Council will work effectively,” Mr. Hoktanyan said.

To the question whether there is a concern that the Expert Committee will not be formed, Mr. Hoktanyan said, “It has been long ago that the draft is circulated; however financing has not been planned in the state budget. Mr. Krmoyan (Deputy Minister of Justice), said that they would try from the reserve fund however he is not sure about that. I do not see how it will be financed, there is hope for donors, but again I cannot say with confidence that the Donors will do that.”

He also noted the second of the most important problems which could contribute to the matter of prestige of the NGOs, “If it was clearly known that the committee would be formed and the NA opposition forces, that is all the factions would participate, maybe, but I am again not sure, we would have discussed the issue of participation. But unless I see these two things I cannot imagine it would be possible to act in any other status but the observers statutes.”

Varuzhan Hoktanyan has not changed his position even after the recent meeting discussion with the deputy Justice Minister Suren Krmoyan. However, he noted as a positive trend the fact that Deputy Minister is aware of the two mentioned circumstances: the importance of participation of the opposition political forces and establishment of the expert committee.