We hope that the Independent Anti-Corruption Body will be created in 2016: EU Representative
17.10.2015 | 00:10
“Creation and establishment of an independent anti-corruption body to fight corruption in Armenia is one of the primary goals, and it is anticipated that at least by the end of 2016 we shall have such structure,” Mr. Alessandro Zanotta, International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia mentioned at the anti-corruption event organized today in Gyumri.
Mr. Alessandro Zanotta, International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia mentioned at the workshop.
The workshop “Anti-Corruption Strategy of the RA for 2015-2018: Challenges” was organized in the framework of “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” is a three-year project co-funded by the European Union and the OCSE and is implemented by the Armenian Young lawyers Association (AYLA) in cooperation with the “Freedom of Information Center” NGO.
Advocate Syuzanna Soghomonyan, Member of AYLA Board in her welcoming speech mentioned that on 19 February this year, the Government created the Anti-Corruption Council. A few days ago, the Government adopted the new Anti-Corruption Strategy of the RA for 2015-2018. So far, the civil society is still not represented in the Anti-Corruption Council. The two places allocated to the CSOs are still empty.
Mr. Alessandro Zanotta introduced to the participants information about the anti-corruption activities carried out by the EU and the positive progress registered in this sphere, He emphasized that the CSOs had their significant input in this successes. The major objectives of this year were the adoption of the anti-corruption strategy; the issue of independence of the Commission on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials; elaboration of legal mechanisms for incentives and protection of whistleblowers, etc. Creation of an independent anti-corruption body and its establishment is a target as well, which is expected to achieve by the end of next year.
According to Mr. Zanotta, the fact that there is a person in the Government who supports the anti-corruption reforms and this is Mr. Suren Krmoyan, the Deputy Minister of Justice of the RA. The Anti-Corruption Strategy has been approved (though he noted that he still had not learnt the document in debt and cannot speak about the contents). The European Union is the largest donor and the leader in the process of fight against corruption. Cooperation of CSOs and Media is considerable during the ant-corruption events as well.
The fact that the process of achieving positive reforms lasted for too many years was considered as negative. The cooperation among the large international organizations (USAID, UNDP, GIZ) is weak. Armenian CSOs get “tired” when their long-term struggle is not effective. In addition the CSOs do not come together to solve the problems
Mr. Marat Atovmyan, Local Expert of the project spoke about the challenges which Armenia face in fight against corruption. One of the most serious challenges is the lack of independence. Specifically the prime minister is the head of the anti-corruption body, which has been created in Armenia. The RA prosecutor General, Ministers and others are its members, whereas only two places are allocated for CSOs.
“Even in such countries, where corruption is minimal, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Independent Anti-Corruption Councils continue to work. And they do not say that they have achieved certain success and no such structures are needed any longer,” Mr. Atovmyan said.
Mr. Carl Ulbricht, the International expert of the project presented recommendations aimed at execution of the strategy, such as the mechanisms for oversight. For example, the expert spoke about expanding the resources of the Commission on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials, as well as the improvement of property and income declaration system of the high ranking officials.
He pointed the fact that just on the first page of the Commission’s website there is a photo of the Commission members and the RA President at the meeting. According to the expert this is the clearest evidence that this Commission is not an independent body.
Ms Astghik Karapetyan, Journalist of Iravaban.net Independent Professional website spoke about the possibilities to monitor the process of implementation of the anti-corruption strategy and its efficiency through data investigation. Advocate Gayane Gevorgyan, the AYLA Regional Coordinator presented the observers activities of regional CSOs of the Anti-Corruption Coalition aimed at monitoring the process of implementation of the strategy.