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The RA Prosecutor’s Office Division of Public Relations, head of the Division – Arevik Khachatryan

17.06.2021 | Statement-explanation on the vicious phenomena of tearing down, damaging election posters

Review of the messages and calls received by the working group formed in the RA Prosecutor General 's Office regarding the electoral violations during the campaign of the early elections to the RA National Assembly, scheduled for 20.06.2021 testifies that there are cases of damage, tearing down, destruction, in some cases theft of election posters and as a result of this actions, of causing property damage.


In particular, the law enforcement agencies received a total of 50 messages, calls regarding tearing down, damage, theft of posters in Yerevan and in different regions of the republic during the period of before June 7 and after.


On the basis of the fact of 41 were prepared materials in accordance with Articles 180-181 of the RA Criminal Procedure Code, 24 of them are in the process, by 13 decisions were made on refusing to initiate a criminal case. On the basis of 4, taking into account the amount of property damage caused under Part 1 or Part 2 of Art. 185 of the RA Criminal Code, criminal cases were initiated, regarding which the investigation is currently underway. These 4 cases relate to cases that occurred before the official start of the campaign.


In case of 9, it has been instructed to carry out verification actions, from which within the framework of 2 the commission of a criminal act was not confirmed, in case of 3 the data were sent to the RA Central Election Commission, within the framework of the others the verification actions are still in process.


Analysis shows that such messages have become more frequent, especially in recent days. Despite this circumstance, there are cases when law enforcement agencies, during the preparation of materials, promptly begin to take the necessary actions, however, the relevant actors subsequently refuse to give a message, indicating that they have no complaints and they do not want the persons who committed these acts to be subject to criminal liability. In this sense, it is noteworthy that out of 11 decisions on refusal to initiate criminal cases by the bodies carrying out the proceedings, 10 were rendered on the basis of the absence of a complaint. In some cases, during the preparation of materials, it is already obvious that the amount of material damage caused is clearly less than the minimum amount of damage provided for by Article 185 of the RA Criminal Code.


The RA Prosecutor's Office, on the basis of the circumstance of submission of messages to the RA law enforcement agencies regarding electoral offenses, considers it necessary to explain to the subjects involved in the elections that tearing down, damaging of posters during the election campaign is an administrative offense under Art. 40.12 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, which is punishable by a fine.


The grounds for giving a criminal-legal assessment to tearing down of election campaign posters arise when they usually contain signs of a crime envisaged by Article 185 of the RA Criminal Code. Thus, they are serious crimes against property.


Despite this circumstance, taking into account that the reason for all these cases was the election campaign, we urge citizens, active participants of political forces to refrain from encroaching on election posters. Such methods not only do not meet the standards of democratic, civilized elections, but also the moral and cultural values of our society, and they are also clear manifestations of mutual intolerance.