On 8 April 2021, in Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Yerevan, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor conducted a discussion on the report “Problems of exercising parliamentary oversight over the activity of the National Security Service and ways to solve them”. The study was carried out in the frame of NED (National Endowment for Democracy)-funded project “Increasing oversight of the security sector”.
Representatives of state competent bodies, including NA Standing Committee on Defense and Security, Security Council Office, Ministry of Justice, Human Rights Defender’s Office, as well as representatives of international organizations and civil society organizations were present during the discussion. An invitation to participate in the discussion was also sent to the RA National Security Service, but no representative thereof was present.
First, HCA Vanadzor Chairperson Artur Sakunts presented the need to conduct the study and identify the problems of that sphere, then, the author of the report presented details of the main directions of the study.
All the participants were of the same opinion that in the conditions of the legal regulations in force, parliamentary oversight over the security sector will make the activity of security sector organizations effective and controllable. They also presented their concerns and recommendations to enhance the study and consider other directions, in particular, regarding the specification of standards and criteria necessary to be involved in the NSS activity, the volume of NSS functions, education of employees, professional capacity building. They also spoke about the possibilities of introducing emerging technologies into the security system.
At the end of the discussion, the participants expressed hope that such discussions would be continuous and the study would be a good precedent to draw attention to the problems of the sector and find ways of solution.