Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

HCA Vanadzor advocate’s appeal was upheld: the discontinued criminal case on “Lori Healthcare” foundation was sent to a new investigation and the decision to discontinue the case was abolished

September 22, 2020

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On 1 July 2020, RA Appeal Court upheld HCA Vanadzor advocate A. Zalyan’s appeal, overturned Lori region General Jurisdiction Court’s decision of 15 May 2020 and obliged the body conducting the proceedings to eliminate violations of Vanadzor No. 1 polyclinic employee A.S.’s rights by providing them the decision on discontinuing the criminal case.

 

Let us remind that on 16 December 2019, Lori region Prosecutor, 2nd class justice adviser A. Avagyan sent A. Zalyan a letter and informed that the decision on discontinuing the criminal case pertaining to the abuses by “Lori Healthcare” foundation could not be provided to A.S. according to Article 262 part 1 of the RA Criminal Procedure Code, which clearly establishes the circle of persons to whom the decision on discontinuing the criminal proceedings and ceasing criminal prosecution is sent. 

 

With regard to the discontinuation of the criminal case, on 29 July 2020, A.Zalyan appealed to the RA Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan. In a few days, on July 31, A. Chakhoyan, Head of the Department of Corruption Crimes of the Prosecutor General’s Office, informed in a letter that he had sent to Lori region Prosecutor to discuss his appeal addressed to Prosecutor General to eliminate the decision on discontinuing the criminal case and not conducting criminal prosecution.  

 

On 7 August 2020, Garegin Manukyan, who is the prosecutor of the region and 2nd class justice adviser, sent advocate A.Zalyan a decision on eliminating the decision to discontinue the criminal case and not conduct criminal prosecution.

 

Examining A.Zalyan’s appeal, the Prosecutor found that the missing of the deadline envisaged by law to appeal could be restored, because A.S. and the representative of his rights had the chance to learn about the decision on discontinuing the criminal case and not conducting criminal prosecution much later by the decision of the Appeal Court and were objectively deprived of the chance to appeal it to a superior prosecutor within 7 days. In view of this condition, the Prosecutor of the region found grounded the claim to recognize justified A.S.’s representative missing the deadline to appeal and restored it. 

 

The Prosecutor also gave no less importance to the justifications presented by A.Zalyan according to Article 17 part 3 of the RA Criminal Procedure Code, the body of criminal prosecution is obligated to undertake all measures prescribed by this Code for a comprehensive, full and objective investigation of the case circumstances, to reveal all the circumstances both convicting and absolving the suspect or accused, and also the circumstances reducing and aggravating his responsibility. According to Article 27 of the same Code, the body of investigation, the investigator and the prosecutor are obligated within their jurisdiction to institute the criminal case in each case when elements of crime, are discovered to take all measures envisaged by law to reveal the crime and to discover the criminals. In this context, particular attention was paid to the part of Arayik Zalyan’s appeal, in which it was stated that for years on end not only 1% of A.S.’s salary was transferred to the foundation’s account, but also that of employees of other medical institutions of the region. During the examination of the appeal in Lori region General Jurisdiction Court, A.S. informed that it was involuntary, “I was made to give a consent that a certain amount of money be transferred from my salary to the foundation’s account number”. Despite this important condition, A.S. never got any procedural status in the frame of the criminal case, while, in terms of discovering facts, he could have transferred essential data to the investigation by thus contributing to the discovery of the crime and criminals. Moreover, he was not interrogated in any procedural status, which already indicates that the investigator did not take all the measures envisaged by law to investigate the case comprehensively and objectively. It is noteworthy that during the same period, another criminal case was separated from this one and investigated. It concerned the case where an official from the management body of the foundation abused his official position and used his powers against the interests of the service, by which he caused considerable damage to the rights and legal interests of the foundation. In this condition, it is more than ungrounded to make a decision to discontinue the criminal case.  

 

Guided by a number of Articles of the RA Criminal Procedure Code, Lori region Prosecutor made a decision to restore the 7-day period of appeal in the frame of this case and to recognize invalid the decision of 30 July 2019 to discontinue the criminal proceedings and criminal prosecution. Taking into account that the criminal case has already been returned to the Lori regional investigative department of the Investigative Committee, this decision was sent to the same department for preliminary investigation.

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