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20.04.2021 | Means of liability of officials responsible for forest protection on the ground of petitions of the Prosecutor's Office of Lori Region

In the result of the operative and investigative measures undertaken on the basis of the operative information received by Gugark Division of the RA Police, it was found out that the forester of Vahagni forestry of "Hayantar" SNCO "Vanadzor forestry" branch has illegally cut down trees on March 5, 2021, cut down oak trees using a chainsaw. He transported the wood from the forest together with his brother and friend in a car "Zil", which belonged to one of the villagers, who transported the wood to Vahagni village, where he sold it to a villager for 50.000 AMD.


According to Article 296 of the RA Criminal Code Illegal forest cuttings, damaging trees, bushes, which are not part of the forest stock, or not subject to cutting, floral coverage considered to be state property, to the extent to stop their growth, if these actions inflicted a large damage, is punished with a fine in the amount of 100 minimal salaries. The damage caused in this case was 82.260 AMD. That is to say, it turned out that the crime envisaged under the mentioned article is absent in the act of E. H., but he committed the offense -illegal logging intentionally which should be considered according to Article 66 of the RA Administrative Offense Code.


It is worth of mentioning that the illegal logging, procurement and transportation was organized not only with the knowledge and permission of the forester of Vahagni forestry, but also with the latter's assistance.


The study of the materials showed that the recorded and other alleged illegal actions continued for a long time and directly involved officials with direct functions of preventing and detecting such illegalities. The latter gives grounds to make reasonable assumptions that the above-mentioned officials acted obviously illegally and their behavior contains corruption risks.


The study showed that many other cases of illegal logging were detected in different parts of Vahagni forestry before this case and it gives ground to think that officials of forestry may have taken part in these cases.

Taking into account all the above-mentioned, Karen Gabrielyan, the Prosecutor of the RA Lori Region sent a petition to P. Tsugunyan, the acting director of "Hayantar" SNCO, to take disciplinary action to eliminate the causes of the violations in Vanadzor Forestry, to fulfill the disciplinary liability of the above-mentioned officials and even to take measures to dismiss them.


During 2021 31 petitions were submitted to competent bodies by the Prosecutor's Office of the RA Lori Region in order to take disciplinary measures by the officials responsible for forest protection in "Hayantar" SNCO in the forestry of Lori Region. As a result, various disciplinary sanctions have already been applied on 5 people, and the others are still in the phase of discussion.


At the same time, 22 criminal cases were initiated on the facts of official negligence committed by the competent officials for illegal forestry cutting under Article 315, Part 1 and Part 2 of the RA Criminal Code. Legal assessments to these actions will be given after preliminary investigation.