Nikol Pashinyan: “One of the most important things that the SIS should do is to expose the organizers and perpetrators of March 1 Crime”
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the Special Investigative Service headquarters to introduce newly appointed SIS Chief Sasun Khachatryan to the Service staff. Nikol Pashinyan thanked former Special Investigation Service Chief Vahram Shahinyan for his work and congratulated newly appointed SIS Chief Sasun Khachatryan on his appointment.
“The legislation states that the SIS is dealing with offenses committed by law-enforcement, judicial and executive authorities. The next important function is the probe into electoral offenses, and these terms of reference point to the exceptional importance that the SIS can play in our lives, in general, and in the field of law enforcement, in particular.
As the Prime Minister who has the confidence of the Armenian people, I want to declare the following: what we declare publicly is what we have in our minds. When we say that all citizens are equal before the law, we mean that all are equal before the law; we do not mean that some are privileged before the law. When we say that corruption should be eradicated in Armenia, we mean that corruption should be eradicated all over the country, and we do not mean that corruption can be tolerated elsewhere. I want to underscore that the SIS has to deal with the bulk of the problem, and I hope that you will live up to the task.
I also want to address a small point in my relationship with the SIS. I think that no place should be reserved to photos of high-ranking officials in the offices of SIS investigators just because the SIS is supposed to deal with proceedings involving such officials. The RA National Coat of Arms, the Flag and other symbols should be reflected in the functions implemented by the Special Investigative Service,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister underscored: “One of the most important things that the SIS should do is to expose the organizers and perpetrators of March 1 killings. I want to state it clearly: when we say that there are no restrictions, we mean that there are no restrictions whatsoever. While previously some cases were dismissed or suspended for political, quasi-political or other objective or subjective reasons, now I hope that under the command of the newly appointed SIS Chief, the investigators will deal with all those cases in order to fully enforce the legal framework applicable in Armenia.”
Ex-SIS Chief Vahram Shahinyan wished his successor every success in his future activities and expressed confidence that the newly appointed chief would comply with the proposed tasks. In turn, Sasun Khachatryan thanked Prime Minister Pashinyan for confidence and assured that the SIS staff could solve any problem. “We have the will for that. I can assure you that all the challenges facing the SIS will be addressed responsibly and with dignity,” Sasun Khachatryan said.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister touched upon the crimes committed during the electoral processes. “You may be aware that we have assumed a commitment to ensure free, fair and transparent elections that will reflect our people’s will, and it should not happen only once, but permanently. In this regard, I believe it of particular importance to examine election-related offences and pay special attention to all instances of voting bribery. I do hope that such crimes and cases will be properly investigated today and in the future to bring about concrete results.
When the citizens know that electoral bribes are widespread and commonplace in Armenia, and they do not see at least one case exposed so that their organizers are held accountable, people loose trust and respect in investigative, law-enforcement authorities and the State, in general. Consequently, Armenia’s reputation is at stake, and what we talked about should affect the law enforcement system, the SIS and each investigator.
As a matter of fact, we are talking about the image of State institutions and public authorities, and this cannot be reckoned as an individual concern. It should be on the agenda of each citizen of the Republic of Armenia, the agenda of each public servant and, therefore, I wish all of us every success in completing this mission.
We all serve the Republic of Armenia and its people; the citizens of the Republic of Armenia should not have any doubts about it. This means that our work should not come as an end in itself: we need results and progress,” Nikol Pashinyan said.