The RA Prosecutor General Mr. Artur Davtyan’s welcoming speech at the International Expert Conference “RA Anti-Corruption Strategy under International Experience”

 

Dear Ambassador, experts, guests, misters and misses,

 

Let me express my thankfulness to all our partners who initiate and conduct this international conference. 

 

“It is difficult to overestimate the significance of the conference, which is conditioned by the fact that in the government and civil society format with the involvement of international experts the priorities of the strategically important anti-corruption strategy of the Republic of Armenia are discussed as a cornerstone for the development of a social, legal and democratic country to make the fight against that evil more effective. The law enforcement system and, in particular, the RA Prosecutor’s Office have a primary role and mission in this field.

 

I think, for the people present here it is obvious the outcomes of the struggle against corruption in our country during the previous year, which we have published and which are unprecedented throughout the history of the Third Republic of Armenia. Without wasting your time I want to present several facts, which show the huge work done in this field during previous year by the law enforcement system. The number of the materials on corruption crimes in the proceedings of the RA competent bodies in the previous year had increased for almost four times as compared with 2017, and the number of initiated criminal cases for 3.6 times. The number of persons prosecuted for alleged corruption cases is 60 percents more than compared with 2017. The number of the officials prosecuted was almost more than that.

 

In 2018, 7 criminal cases have been initiated for money laundering. This is done though in 2017 no criminal case has been filed with that criminal offense. And after the criminalization of illicit enrichment in the past year, criminal prosecution has been instigated against five persons on the basis of that crime.

 

In 2018, the property damages caused to the state by corruption which were revealed only by materials prepared and investigated in the course of criminal proceedings exceeds the results of 2017 for 12 times, and the recovery from the total damages caused exceeds for 15 times. 

 

The frame of the high rank officials prosecuted for corruption crimes, I think, is very clear and it is the guarantee for the provision of equality for everybody without exception.

 

As to me, as a General Prosecutor, these outcomes are valuable not for numerical indexes and in the view of disclosure of separate case of corruption crimes, but for the quality of the work done. In some spheres sometimes disclosure of large corruption schemes rooted for many years.

 

The outcomes are especially valuable also because they were provided by the unprecedented support of public, serious assistance shown by our citizens to the law enforcement bodies, due to the initiation and willingness of the executive bodies. It is sufficient to note that during 2018 the reports, publications presented by natural and legal entities in mass media on corruption crimes initiated by the RA law enforcement bodies were more than in 2017.

 

So, we can say that our society became more sensitive toward corruption. We see how the stereotypes are broken.

 

These trends of giving easily to law enforcement bodies reports on corruption allegations are not only very important for disclosure of crimes, but they also have very important preventive meaning because any official who wants to be involved in corruption schemes cannot be sure that the law enforcement bodies will not be informed which is the most important, as those people will not have trust for their actions or have guarantees irrespective the level of the positions, relations and possibilities.

 

The clear signals of intolerance against corruption and the level of cooperation between all the levels of law enforcement system are encouraging. They make it possible to form an opinion and belief, that the State, all law enforcement bodies are frank and honest, as well as resolute in this struggle.

 

These are, of course, important outcomes, but they cannot be considered sufficient. First, the active criminal and legal fight resulted that we are now giving criminal and legal qualification of the officials who have acquired property, real estate sources and assets.

 

In the frame of legislation in force, prosecution authorities face legal obstacles in accessing information and initiating proceedings. That is to say, there is a clash between the basic principle of human right to privacy and the public demand to restore social justice. Without contradicting public and private interests, it will not be possible to meet the expectations of public.

 

To this end, it is extremely important to solve these challenges through a thorough examination of international experience, through the development and implementation of the most optimal legal mechanisms applicable to Armenia by ensuring maximum guarantees for the protection of citizens' rights.

 

In addition, criminal law being the pivotal means, it is still only one component of the fight against corruption. The development of the preventive component is no less important in that struggle. The latter considers transparency provision of public funds, incomes and expenditures as much as possible, encouraging the well-being of officials, anti-corruption education, maintaining sustainable awareness-raising systems, provision of dignified guarantee of social security for all government officials, especially those with corruption risks, etc, as well as problems that require systematic solutions, strategic approaches and, as a rule, courage to implement painful but inevitable reforms.

 

Thus, in this context the time and agenda chosen for this conference is important. It is welcomed that the latter includes all the topical questions raised.

 

I am confident that during the conference it will not only be possible to discuss these issues in a comprehensive manner, but will also generate practical recommendations for the completion of an anti-corruption strategy in the light of international best practice. Undoubtedly, this will be a very serious and important outcome of the state and civil society dialogue and cooperation.

 

The Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Armenia is ready for such cooperation, it is obvious and seen by our involvement in working groups focused on anti-corruption institutional solutions, on the other hand, our effective partnership based on a Memorandum signed jointly with the “Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenian Civil Society Organizations”.

 

Thus, I wish the work of the conference was successful, and I wish all of us practical, productive, constructive work.

 

Thanks for attention.