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Armenia "fights" against corruption with corrupt judicial system

11 December 2013 [10:00] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

Armenian ombudsman's office has unveiled the reason of flourishing corruption in the country in its last extraordinary report published on December 9.

The survey on violations in the judicial system conducted by Ombudsman's office indicated that 69 percent of the respondents in Armenia believe that the judicial system is corrupt or extremely corrupt and the amount of bribes ranges from $500 to $50,000.

"The survey wrapped up a general opinion that the amount of bribe is 10 percent of the claim amount and varies depending on the court instance. Most respondents indicated that the amount of bribes varies, reaching $500-1,000 in the Court of First Instance, $200 to $15,000 in the Court of Appeal, and $10,000 to $50,000 in the Court of Cassation," the report noted.

While preparing the report, a team of the Office of Human Rights Defender conducted 120 interviews with lawyers, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, experts, reviewed all appeals to the Court of Cassation for 2012-2013, as well as all decisions of the Council of Justice for 2006-2013 and other materials.

Recently the Armenian parliament discussed a request of the fraction "Armenian national congress", which stated that corruption in Armenia is widespread and systemic in nature, and government officials head a corruption pyramid.

In response to the claims, Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov said during the discussions that the country fights against corruption more efficiently year by year.

However, the Ombudsman's report clearly shows that no fight against corruption has been conducted in the country over the last years.

Representatives of the corrupt juridical system of Armenia could not look the truth in the eyes and have accused the ombudsman of lying. They said the report is fatuous, as judges do not take bribes and called on to condemn ombudsman for false accusation.

The situation is complicated enough. Even Armenian diaspora voiced concerns with the high level of corruption at homeland. Armenian diaspora center in Washington recently published report "Corruption in Armenia", which is rather alerting: "Corruption threatens to destroy Armenia's economy and remains one of the major problems in the country."

Armenian Justice Minister Hrayr Tovmasyan, in turn, has recently "found" the guilty of corruption in the country. "Citizens' mentality gives favorable environment for corruption to flourish," he stressed. "We must change our citizens' mentality!"

He accused citizens on the background of his co-worker's arrest. The former head of Armenia's judicial department, which is a part of the Justice Ministry, is accused of taking bribes in a large sum.

Results of the report confirm that Armenians are unwilling to resort any action to fight.

Mistrust to the law and their application was indicated as the main reason of not raising issues of corruption. "Publication of such cases will not bring any changes because there is mistrust to the laws," the report underlined.

Armenia's ombudsman confirmed that Armenia is the only country where citizens complain of acts of corruption to the corrupt judicial system. So, he is unlikely to be able to further fight against the deep-rooted corruption and conduct new reports, as from 2014 Ombudsman's office will lose grants and act only through the state budget financing, which is expected to be reduced. By this critical report about violations in the country's judicial system, he guarantees himself this...

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