“The Armenian Young Lawyers Association had submitted around a three dozen recommendations to the Ministry of Justice about the 2015-2018 Anti-Corruption Strategy and about the Council, however, only one proposal was admitted,” AYLA Board member Syuzanna Sogomonyan said.
“Those recommendations were formed as a result of the work and research that AYLA conducted , as well as in the framework of the public discussions, which the organization had conducted in Yerevan and in the marzes. That is to say those three dozen proposals were the civil society representatives’ suggestions,” Miss Soghomonyan said and added that the only recommendation which was accepted referred to the principle of competitive selection of the NOO members of the Council.
The CSO sector had always raised three main recommendations: to include in the strategy the social sector, introduce the institute of criminalization of illicit enrichment and create an independent professional Anti-Corruption body instead of the Anti-Corruption Council. The government has not yet to accepted these. With regard to the third part of the recommendation, it should be mentioned that in 2004, a similar Council was created in Armenia, and the result of that Council is well known o everyone. The Anti-Corruption Body should be independent and be endowed with decision-making powers. The current Council is not independent and has no decision-making authority, and the advisory body which has no decision-making authority cannot be effective. Therefore, currently there is also the fear that the Council which was formed a few days ago will not significantly be different from the former Council with its ineffectiveness.
In addition, the Anti-Corruption Coalition, which joins about NGOs also ensure the safety of the citizens who spoke loudly about the corruption. According to the current draft anti-corruption strategy, the law should specify that the persons who report about the corruption crime shall equally enjoy the special protection measures provided for the victims, witnesses and experts by the criminal procedure law. In addition, the draft stipulates that in cases of corruption with the law enforcement bodies the supportive citizens are exempted from criminal liability, or expect a relatively mild punishment.
“We recommend elaborate and develop a law on whistleblowers, where such persons are encouraged and protected by the state and getting adequate safeguards from the state will be able to about the cases that include corruption risks. This is also an important recommendation which also was rejected. That is, there is no such provision in the draft strategy,” Syuzanna Soghomonyan said.