Being in a car accident is a horrible experience for anyone, but imagine how much worse you would feel if you drive for a living and are wrongly accused of causing the accident. That is exactly what happened to a taxicab driver in Armavir. Not only did the taxicab driver believe that he was falsely accused, but he was also issued a substantial fine by the traffic police and faced over $1,500 in car damages. After attempting to resolve the matter himself unsucessfully, the taxicab driver took his case to a new Advocacy and Assistance Center (AAC) in Armavir at the suggestion of a journalist.
The Armavir AAC is one of eleven centers located throughout the country, operated by local NGOs, where victims of corruption receive free legal assistance on a walk-in or call-in basis. With his livelihood at stake, the taxicab driver explained to the AAC’s legal staff that he suspected the police were favoring the other driver because of a bribe. The AAC filed an Administrative Appeal with the traffic police, requesting them to conduct a thorough re-examination of the accident site. The re-examination showed that the taxicab driver was not responsible for the accident. The driver who caused the accident was consequently charged with all car repair costs, which were equal in value to three to four months of the taxicab driver’s income.
The AAC’s actions protected the taxicab driver’s livelihood and resolved what might have otherwise been a lost cause.
Acts of corruption, such as requests for unofficial payments, are a recurring problem with traffic police in Armenia
. AACs stand ready to help victims of corruption in all sectors and are working to identify regulatory reforms and other preventive measures to address the root causes of corruption, as well as its effects.