What is the Only Penalty of the Former Minister of Justice Gevorg Danielyan?

Iravaban.net starts a new project entitled “RA Ministers of Justce”. There are 6 of them: Vahe Stepanyan, Marat Aleksanyan, Davit Harutyunyan, Gevorg Danielyan, Hrayr Tovmasyan and Hovhannes Manukyan. Our first interlocutor is the President of the Council of the “Constitutional Rights Center” NGO Gevorg Danielyan, who held the position of the Minister of Justice in the period 2007-2010.

Mr. Danielyan, first of all I would ask You to shortly present the overview of those events that were important for You during Your term as a Minister of Justice.

It`s a difficult question, my appointment was quite unexpected for me, I was picturing me in the system of prosecutors. Nevertheless, I managed to find spheres in my activities which never made my job boring. I accepted the offer of assuming the position of the Minister of Justice so that I could continue applying my positions with regard to the status of the Prosecutor`s Office and the reform directions of the criminal proceedings, which was unanimously accepted, we had a conversation with the President in office at that time – Robert Kocharyan. In these terms quite an acceptable environment was created for me. Assuming my job I adopted a position not to implement “slaughter of personnel”. For many years I have been heading various departments, and I had a goal to improve their quality not by integrating new personnel, but improving the qualifications of the existing staff members and supporting them. My activities, also in the Prosecutor`s Office, were based on one principle – professional success is never conditioned by the use of power, all those phenomena inherited from the Soviet times can never be considered unavoidable, on the contrary, the practice showed that accentuating this factor always led to very negative results.

Mr. Danielyan, what did You inherit from the previous Minister of Justice – Davit Harutyunyan, and what did you inherit to the next Minister – Hrayr Tovmasyan. 

I can say that Davit Harutyunyan managed to get the Ministry to high levels, and all that was to be not only sustained, but also something new should be added. Keep in mind the fact that the Ministry had never before been a central institution of law-creation, and this had its reasons. Let`s not forget that in those years in the National Assembly, especially in the staff, two great law specialists had significant input – two previous General Prosecutors Vladimir Nazaryan and Henrik Khachatryan. They managed to centralize the entire legislative law-creating powers, at least for a certain time, in the National Assembly. Davit Harutyunyan managed to turn the Ministry of Justice into the center of this quite narrow specialized activities. I transferred to Hrayr Tovmasyan a stable system which was working and solving any issue, I also transferred to him some unsolved issues. I should say that many legal acts have been brought to their final forms, which hasn`t been possible for many years.

What kind of reforms were implemented during your term?

From among the reforms implemented with my initiative I would mention the establishment of the investigative service, as well as the Academy of Justice. And in both cases my opponents were prevailing, especially with regard to the Academy of Justice. And today all those opponents welcome the establishment of that institution. In general, while coming up with ideas, I wasn`t guided by how easy it would be to have them accepted, but rather I thought how acceptable and fair it would be considered later on. The insertion of the system of State Required Car Insurance was also my suggestion, moreover, i think this institute should also be inserted in the healthcare system, and so on. Besides, during my term in office the situation essentially changed in the penitentiaries. The use of force in this system was announced as reprehensible. People were being kept responsible, including the case when the head of the Penitentiary was dismissed, and people understood that this was not just an announcement.

What did that position give to You? Did it contribute to Your career development, or the contrary?

I have never been a careerist. Any job, be it that of a minister or something else, always gave something to me. I don`t wait in my job for the general developments to bring me results, I work on my professional development. Before working as a Minister of Justice and during that period I never got any penalty. Maybe that`s a unique case. Leaving the position of the Minister of Justice was the only penalty I got. This is the only penalty up to today, and I hope it will stay the only one.

Let`s also discuss some black pages. It was during Your term in office when March 1 happened. When You learned about the events, what was Your reaction? What actions did Your department undertake in those days?

I want to give an equal answer – Minister of Justice is not the person that could prevent the March 1 events, or on the contrary, have such a role that those events become a reality. Surely, during those days we all regretted that the contradictions between the government and opposition could turn into such clashes. The opposition should have also been able to run a more restrained policy, if they acted so, the events might have other outcomes. It was quite a complicated situation, I am sure that nobody, neither from the opposition, nor from the ruling authorities would have wanted to see this turnout of events.

After You two Ministers of Justices have changed. Today, when we study this sector, is the legislative field the one You were striving for?

If you noticed, though I have a narrow specialization, I always speak in general terms without personification. Surely, the legislation before, during and after my term can not be considered perfect, we have many serious problems and the national legislation cannot be considered perfect, it`s not right.

Would You tell about Your family? What did Your position give to You and Your family?

Only additional pressure, as a person holding this position can not be a full-time father and spend time with his children, deal with their upbringing, the majority of time is devoted to the job.

Do You have any interesting or funny memories that You would like to share with us?

First of all let me tell you that I never approached my job with humor, on the contrary, I always approached it seriously. My job related to people who have some pains in their soul. There were some cases, but I tried to leave those, and during my work I stayed an official and transferred trust and also seriousness to the people.

Interviewed by Gevorg Tosunyan.


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