The interview of Artur Davtyan, Prosecutor General RA to the First Chanel

Question: In what stage are the criminal cases regarding Artsakh war, who are the accused, what kind of facts are available, which prove that Azerbaijan committed military crimes and terroristic groups were also involved in the war, some of the leaders were wanted, what news?


Answer: From the first day of the war unleashed by Azerbaijani-Turkish mercenary terrorists on September 27, 2020, we gave legal assessments to each individual case, as well as to the whole. Today, based on the evidence obtained in our criminal case, we have already relevant criminal prosecutions in several directions. They refer to the outbreak of aggressive war, gross violations of international humanitarian law, the violation of the rules of warfare with prohibited weapons, prohibited means of war, international terrorism; the involvement of mercenary terrorists in those hostilities. In the result of the investigation into these cases, we currently have about forty criminals who have been declared wanted. We had also two mercenary terrorists on which we have already judicial act, the latters were convinced to life imprisonment. And now we can assure that Turkish-Azerbaijani forces have used and involved mercenary terrorists and now we develop international cooperation with our partners to fight against this evil. Especially the competent bodies of RF expressed their view, a few days before the Prosecutor of Iran Islamic Republic was invited to Armenia by the RA Prosecutor General.


Question: Lately you had a meeting with the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijani in Russia. What question have you discussed, what can you say about that meeting, what will give these meeting Armenia after war and for overcoming the problems in Armenia and Artsakh?


Answer: It is obvious that after signing the tripartite statement necessary mechanisms are undertaken for solving the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and the legal mechanisms have their special place in this process. RF is actively involved in that process and especially after war for the solution of humanitarian issues, my colleague, the Prosecutor General of Russia from the first moment showed his initiatives in order to start dialogues in the legal sphere to solve the problems as soon as possible. Our first meeting was in January in Moscow at the initiative of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, I raised the issue of the giving back the captives, and in the result numbers of captives were returned. Unfortunately, the problem is not solved fully but there is a general understanding that the problem must be solved as soon as possible. It was followed by our second meeting and the last meeting which took place in Nor Sultan and as far as all the captives were not returned, here again I raised the issue of captives, the necessity of forming tripartite mechanisms. My recommendation has been accepted, welcomed first of all by my colleague, the Prosecutor General of the Russian federation, and then it was accepted by the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan and in each case arrangements must be made, surely it is not easy, and such meetings are not very simple and fluent. It may be mentioned the case of killing the tractor driver in Artsakh, Martakert region, we immediately passed the information to our Russian colleagues, expected that they will start discussions with the Azerbaijani party. 


Question: How will you assess the level of the anti-corruption fight in the country, especially taking into account the newly created structure?


Answer: We have multiplied results compared to previous years, both in terms of the number of persons prosecuted, the disclosure of damage caused to the state, and restoration of damage caused by corruption crimes in recent years. Look at the range of persons under criminal prosecution and compare it with any year that interests you. I even had the opportunity to speak about it in the National Assembly, compare with any other country without exception. I think a huge work has been done. Naturally, we all have the tendency that the fight against corruption never ends and the fight against corruption needs to be constantly improved. The selection of employees of a specific specialized body, their social and legal guarantees, or the state's special attitude towards them, simply cannot fail to give more positive results.


Question. What about the criminalization of insult? The National Assembly adopted the draft law and there are already initiated criminal cases.


Answer: On the ground of our professional analyzes a conclusion was made that the significant increase in the volume of hate speech has a serious criminogenic significance, and we came to the conclusion that in order to effectively fight against this phenomenon, at least in this period, we have to criminalize it. In the result of our long lasting fight, we managed to criminalize it. It is definitely a positive step. The adoption of a new criminal law has a preventive effect. In the result, a code of conduct is established, and many people already avoid that behavior. I think it is visible in our country. The whole world, including our country, has the problem of limiting or controlling the opportunities given by technology, that is, fake information. And when our society sees how some people are punished for that act by judicial acts, I think its preventive effect will work much more. To be honest, the campaign against the criminalization of this act was incomprehensible to me from the very beginning, because we have had such acts against individual officials for a long time, and it did not raise any questions. For example, we have had "insulting a human rights defender" as a criminal offense in the criminal code for a long time, but no one has ever argued why this type of offense is criminalized. Insulting a judge, insulting a prosecutor, employees of criminal prosecution bodies were criminalized. Our analyzes led to the fact that such approaches should not be individual, such approaches should be universal, i.e. public speech is for protection, free, public speech is done for protection, and we took hose making public speech under criminal protection.


Question. What outcomes are seen in the results of international cooperation programs, especially with Russia and Iran?


Answer: The Republic of Armenia has circulation of documents of international legal cooperation with different countries in this field, more than half goes to the bodies belonging to the Russian Federation, especially the Prosecutor's Office. The requirements are fulfilled quickly and operatively, the corresponding actions are undertaken mutually perceptibly. During the economic forums, we have jointly shown to all interested parties what kind of legal protection is available in our country for the entrepreneur, for the investor. In the field of international cooperation, I think it is memorable and necessary to talk about cooperation with Iran. We have a serious revitalization in that area as well. During the last visit of the Prosecutor General of Iran Islamic Republic, we gladly recorded the achievements, but we made new arrangements to counter the new challenges. I attach great importance to the joint will to clean up region of terrorists, the need to fully implement legal mechanisms, about which my Iranian colleague spoke very clearly too. Even in the first days of the war, when we already received the first factual information about the location of mercenary-terrorists in the region and necessary preventive measures were undertaken.