Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Make an immediate political assessment of the past violations and implement systemic changes

June 23, 2020

Other | Activities | Joint | Announcements | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

The representatives of the former authorities, which held the state in capture for 20 consecutive years, and their supporters have in recent months been more actively consolidating their resources internally and externally—unifying against the legitimate government elected through a free and fair election representing the will of the people. Past and incumbent officials who were the organic constituents entrenched in systemic corruption and continuing, grave, mass abuses of human rights, as well as the atmosphere of impunity, have now launched an offensive to label the executive, legislative, and judicial powers, to discredit the idea of democracy, and to crush the very foundations of state sovereignty.


Despite numerous appeals by civil society, this process has intensified due to fact that the current authorities have opted for fragmented steps and are countering shorter-term threats. As a result, the authorities that have over 70 percent legitimacy now stand on the verge of failing the key commitment that earned them a vote of confidence—making a political and legal assessment, through a transitional justice toolkit, of the forces that captured the state or aided the process prior to the Velvet Revolution, as well as the human rights abuses of the past.


In the absence of a political and legal assessment of the longer-term implications of state capture, namely the damage inflicted upon national security, the economy, and foreign policy, representatives of the former regime are not only successfully avoiding responsibility, covering up the crimes perpetrated against the state and the constitutional order and falsely claiming that the initiated criminal cases amount to political persecution, but are also hiding under the disguise of an opposition and coming together to conspicuously display ambitions of re-capturing the power.


Furthermore, as supporters of the former regime linger in various branches and institutions of the current government, unforgivable delays in systemic reforms enable those forces to act from within the public administration system to discredit and erode all efforts aimed at restoring a democratic state based on the rule of law.


Contrary to the mobilization of those forces, the political force that has absolute majority in the National Assembly is overly concentrating on shorter-term actions, for months delaying the fundamental solutions of urgent and critical problems undermining the restoration of democracy and the rule of law, such as the crisis around the Constitutional Court and the whole judiciary, which risks growing into an all-out profound political crisis. The Constitutional Court has demonstrated, with countless examples, that it is capable of hindering the administration of justice by declaring as unconstitutional all legal avenues that could threaten the personal immunity of ex-officials or the immunity of their assets, the removal of the criminal oligarchic system and are aimed at reforming the judiciary.


Thus, we urge and appeal to the authorities to be proactive in making an immediately political and legal assessment of the human rights abuses of the past and to transition from short-term actions to pursuing longer-term strategic objectives, the end goal of which will be to administer justice, to genuinely separate the powers, to ensure the independence of the judiciary, and to safeguard proper mechanisms of parliamentary oversight.


Despite disagreements that have emerged due to the lack of determination on the part of the current authorities, civil society that is unconditionally committed to democracy, will focus all of its efforts on securing the continuity of the revolutionary processes and on the final establishment of the values of the Revolution.


Others may join this Statement.


Open Society Foundations-Armenia
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Office
Asparez Club of Journalists
Analytical Centre for Globalization and Regional Cooperation
Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
Union of Informed Citizens
«Progress of Gyumri» NGO – Civil Society Development Center
Peace Dialogue NGO
Centre for community mobilization and support
New Generation Humanitarian NGO
Pink Armenia
Women’s Support Center
Spitak Helsinki Group NGO
Public Journalism Club

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