“Nothing will be forgotten; we will be consistent on the way to implementing the proclaimed agenda” - PM attends gala event on SIS Employee Day
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attended a gal event dedicated to SIS Employee Day and the 12th anniversary of the formation of the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Armenia.
The Prime Minister congratulated Head of the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Armenia Sasun Khachatryan and the SIS Staff on their professional holiday. He noted that the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Armenia is the body which investigates the violations committed by high-ranking officials in the Republic of Armenia and the criminal cases initiated on those incidents.
“Of course, according to the legislation of the Republic of Armenia, the Special Investigation Service is in fact an independent body, but it should be noted that the existing political context and atmosphere in the country are very important for the functioning of this body, as institutional independence in itself does not mean and can never mean independence from the atmosphere,” the Prime Minister said, adding that it is impossible to build legitimacy, independence and justice in a single body.
“I believe that today’s conditions are as good as possible for the work of the Special Investigative Service or, more precisely, for investigating crimes committed by high-ranking officials, at least in the history of the Third Republic, we have never had better conditions. I want to stress that when we talk about high-ranking officials, the fight against corruption and abuse in general, we do not only mean former officials. By the political situation and by the coincidence of certain circumstances, sometimes, unfortunately, when we talk about these phenomena, it seems to everyone that we are referring only to former officials.
And I would like to take this opportunity today to stress that, for fundamental reasons, we are more concerned with the officials involved, because if the fight against abuse concerns only the former, it will only be a political situation, political expediency and the desire to replace the old culture of abuse with a new one, the old composition of the abusers of the new one.
I want to make it clear that even a tacit interpretation of this situation has nothing to do with reality. I am sure that knowing, analyzing and discussing during our contacts with the head of the Special Investigation Service, the Prosecutor General, the Chairman of the Investigation Committee, the heads of the Police Force and the National Security Service, I am sure that the representatives of our government understand these challenges very well,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
According to the Prime Minister, the authorities should state that public officials cannot be above the law in the Republic of Armenia, and this is a fundamental institutional change, which should be made in the near future.
“I do not want to say that the solution of this problem is, so to speak, only a component of the punitive policy. Not at all. In this respect, the institutional reforms, which we have started to implement and which will be carried out consistently, are very important: we have adopted the Anti-Corruption Strategy, we have adopted the Judicial and Legal Reforms Strategy, but the proper investigation of the potential abuses by the former and current officials should be very visible, visible beacon, which marks the seriousness of our intentions, because the strategies, policies, statements have been adopted before.
But it is very important that for the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, our people, the international community to see that statements are followed by concrete actions, both in the form of institutional reforms and in terms of conducting proper investigations into allegations of abuse. There is much talk about the way the law enforcement system works, and I myself said that I am not always pleased with the results of probes into corruption phenomena and cases related to officials, in general. However, frankly speaking, at the political level, it is easy to ascertain, but when we go into details and record the facts, we see that a lot of work has been done,” the Prime Minister said, noting that today all investigative bodies, including the Special Investigation Service, are facing a big problem in terms of workload.
“Today, when we look at the average workload of investigators, we can see that people actually work in inhuman conditions. Indeed, for this work, I would like first of all to thank the investigators of the Special Investigative Service, our investigative bodies in general and the General Prosecutor’s Office for their work, but on the other hand, I would like to say that this is our so-called special “Way of the Cross.” We have to go through this suffering in order to take our country to a new level,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister stressed that the Government should think of providing social guarantees to SIS investigators. He noted that this issue had been repeatedly raised by the Head of the Special Investigation Service, and he personally believed that it was important.
“The fact that was made public by the SIS Head is sensational. If I understand correctly, you have noted that the work done by the Special Investigation Service over the year has resulted in seven times more damage restored to the state than it used to be over the last 11. That is the fact. Why do I want to make it public? Because there is a lot of criticism in society about what happened to the investigations, the cases, and sometimes I join this criticism myself, but this fact shows that a huge amount of work is being done. I would like to note that when such concerns and concerns are voiced, the problem is not that people think about why so much damage has been repaired, or some part of the damage has not been repaired, it is not that concern, but people fear that a month, a year, a year and a half after the revolution, the authorities will forget about why people had taken to the street and everything will return to its circle, that is we will be back to the old logic,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister assured that no one is going to forget anything, lose the agenda, and the executive branch will consistently move forward with its agenda. Nikol Pashinyan stressed that the state policy in this field is supposed to change the officials’ self-perception and people’s perception of the image of the official.
“Let us note that the Armenian officials often contract the so-called Prince’s complex, the complex of the ruler. Our task is to turn this complex of the Prince into the complex of Jesus (sorry for such a wording). What do I mean by saying so? It is necessary for every public official to understand that he is both a servant and a master, because the officials cannot live up to their position, if these two concepts are separated; because if we ensure that the official is guided only by the criteria of service, it means bringing him or her into a situation where he or she is unable to make a decision, and thus destroying the state system. The complex of Jesus Christ is good in the sense that the officials must be servants and masters at the same time.
Distinguished Head of the Special Investigative Service,
Special Investigative Service staff, investigators,
Once again, I congratulate you on your professional holiday, and I am delighted that it was our government that set up the de jure Special Investigative Service Day. I wish you all the best. I do not want to single out any criminal investigation right now, although, as I said at our first meeting last year, there are cases that are of strategic importance for the Republic of Armenia, but on the other hand, the expansion of your sphere of activity this year has shown that the number of cases of strategic importance is increasing, and yes, let me state that the Special Investigative Service is mainly dealing with cases of strategic importance, at least in the conceptual, philosophical and vision of the development of the country. On this festive day, I wish all of us to remain responsible for our past, present and future,” Prime Minister Pashinyan concluded.
By RA President’s decree and with the mediation of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Deputy Head of the Special Investigation Service Hovhannes Yenokyan and Senior Investigator at the Special Investigation Service Gegham Margaryan were awarded the Mkhitar Gosh Medal for significant contribution to the strengthening of law, public order and legality. SIS Senior Investigators Garegin Begoyan and Ashot Zhamkochyan were awarded the Prime Minister’s Commemorative Medal. The awards were handed in personally by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The event was attended by Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan, Chairman of the Investigation Committee Hayk Grigoryan, Acting Chief of Police Arman Sargsyan, Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan, Minister of Emergency Situations Felix Tsolakyan, Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan, Acting State Control Service Head Argishti Gharamyan and other high-ranking officials.
Taking the floor, Head of Special Investigation Service Sasun Khachatryan referred to the results of SIS activities. He gave statistical data on those cases being investigated by the SIS.