PFA WATCH LIST
PFA Watch List brings to public’s attention controversial legislative initiatives, government decisions, legal proceedings, and behavior of public officials with implications for developmental policy design and implementation in Armenia. PFA’s commentary will be limited only to how these controversial actions are likely to impact the policy design and conduct. This tool is intended to generate awareness to help formulate alternative views and shape public opinion.
Representatives of several human rights organizations in Armenia sent an open letter to the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) expressing their discontent over the fact that the honor of opening the FIDH Yerevan Forum has been given to Serzh Sargsyan.
The authors of the letter state that the results of the 2008 Presidential elections, disputed by peaceful rallies of thousands of people, were altered by brutal force deepening the public suspicions that were aroused on the election day.
“Under these circumstances, it is beyond our understanding how and why the honor of opening the FIDH Yerevan Forum has been reserved for Serzh Sargsyan who continues to govern the Republic of Armenia with doubtful legitimacy,” the open letter says.
“JUSTICE: New Challenges - the Right to an Effective Remedy before an Independent Tribunal” will take place in Yerevan, Armenia from 6th to 8th April, 2010, followed by the FIDH 37th congress. www.fidh. More...
By some Armenia-based news agencies.
YEREVAN; (Dec. 30) -- Armenian Diaspora Ministry is going to set up the National Council of Armenians, aimed to represent the interests of Armenian people at the supranational level. The National Council members will be elected in 2010 from various structures of the Armenian communities worldwide. Based on parity basis, the National Council will comprise both, representatives from Armenia and Diaspora.
At present, Armenian Diaspora numbers 7 million people, over 30,000 institutions and nearly 20,000 Pan-Armenian organizations.
By Noyan Tapan
Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan disclosed on Friday, December 25, that the Armenian Government is in the middle of negotiations with Russia on a new $100 million loan designed to be used exclusively for the development of the jewelry business in Armenia.
If the deal goes through, the multi-million dollar loan will assist Armenia in the opening of a diamond exchange that will be used to supply Russian diamonds to local jewelry factories.
“If the negotiations are successful and we manage to come to an agreement with Russia-based AlRosa company, then the attracted loan will be used to develop the diamond cutting sector and to establish a modern diamond-exchange in order to provide Armenian companies with Russian raw material,” the prime minister said.
According to Sargsyan, Armenia’s private sector, whose representatives are involved in negotiations on the loan, will bear the main burden of the loan repayment. More...
Prominent commanders of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Colonel-General Gurgen Daribaltayan and Major-General Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan have appealed to President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, to release former MP Sasun Mikaelyan’s (veteran of Nagorno-Karabakh War). He is sentenced to eight years of imprisonment in connection with the March 1, 2008 uprising, charged with organization of mass disorders in Yerevan, and illegal possession of weapons.
The generals asked the president to consider Mikaelyan’s poor health state and “enjoying the authorization of the president of Armenia to solicit for Mikaelyan to be set free from further punishment.”
The generals mention in their letter that “regardless of the reasons why he ended up in the prison, his life is at stake, and he is someone who unconditionally dedicated himself to Nagorno-Karabakh War and the defense of our country’s borders. More...
I would like to address another very important issue, that is what issue is of highest concern for our citizens. Our research and public opinion polls show that the most essential issue for our citizens is neither pension and salary raises, nor the issue of unemployment and creation of new workplaces, nor inflation and exchange rates, and nor even NKR and Genocide issues, but rather the issue of social justice. Everyone must be equal before the law, irrespective of the fact what post he or she occupies, what accumulated incomes and riches he or she has. This issue is going to be in the center of our attention. This issue, first of all, refers to the large-scale business. The path of the large-scale business towards regaining the public confidence is transparency in work. For the large-scale business, fulfillment of tax liabilities must be an issue of dignity. We must strive together to make this process transparent.More...
November 18, RFE/RL
A prominent Armenian investigative journalist known for his stories exposing government corruption became the target of a violent attack, which he believes is connected with his reporting.
Edik Baghdasarian, who heads the Armenian Association of Investigative Journalists and runs a Yerevan-based online magazine, Hetq, left his office in downtown Yerevan at about 8 p.m. Monday and shortly was ambushed and beaten by three unknown assailants as he was going to get into his car parked in the street, according to his own account.
Baghdasarian said the attack was an unprovoked one and the assailants did not demand anything particular from him.
“Right near the car two people attacked me and began to land heavy blows. I retaliated and we were exchanging blows. More...
October 10, Radio Free Europe
A court in Yerevan opened on Friday hearings on the legality of a local government body’s decision to evict Armenia’s best-selling daily newspaper highly critical of the government from its state-owned offices.
The “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily has long leased the premises, located on the ground floor of an apartment building in downtown Yerevan, from the administration of the central Kentron district free of charge. A relevant lease agreement between the two entities was signed in 2003 and extended in 2007.
Kentron’s executive administration and legislative council decided to terminate the agreement and give the property to a little-known children’s cultural center last April, at the height of the Armenian government’s post-election crackdown on the opposition. “Haykakan Zhamanak” rejected the decision as politically motivated and challenged it in the court. More...
September 24, RFE/RL
The Audit Chamber of Armenia’s government-controlled parliament leveled on Wednesday corruption accusations against a controversial regional governor, raising new questions about his political future.
The head of the chamber, Ishkhan Zakarian, claimed that Surik Khachatrian of the southeastern Syunik region and local government officials subordinated to him have embezzled 575 million drams ($1.9 million) worth of public funds and property.
Zakarian said about one third of the sum was misappropriated by officials in the regional administration. He said they inflated the cost of procurements and failed to properly use government funds earmarked for construction work.
According to Zakarian, the mayors of local towns and villages have embezzled even larger sums through similar scams. He singled out the mayor of Syunik’s capital Kapan, alleging that the latter sold 5,200 square meters of public housing for as little as 3,500 drams ($12).More...
Associated Press - Hundreds of troops flooded Armenia's capital today to enforce a state of emergency after clashes between opposition activists protesting against election results and government forces left eight people dead and more than 100 injured.
The bloodshed was the worst political crisis to hit the strategically located, volatile former Soviet nation in nearly a decade. An envoy of Europe's leading security body rushed to Armenia to mediate the conflict. The United States urged both sides to exercise restraint.
President Robert Kocharian declared the 20 day state of emergency last night following a day of clashes between government forces and demonstrators protesting against alleged fraud in the February 19 presidential election.
Police used tear gas and fired in the air to disperse thousands of opposition demonstrators yesterday afternoon, after breaking up an opposition tent camp earlier in the day. More...
PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Constitutional Court has pinned the suits brought in by Tigran Karapetyan and Levon Ter-Petrosyan on February 27 and February 29 respectively. The hearing on appeal of the presidential election outcomes is due on March 2, the CC press division reported.
The decision on disputes over the presidential election results is to be taken within 2 days.
According to the RA CEC, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan was elected President of Armenia with 52,82 per cent of votes. Levon Ter-Petrosyan came second with 21,5 per cent. Tigran Karapetyan was backed by 0,6 per cent of votes.