On the Urgent Need to Implement a System of Transitional Justice

Republic of Armenia National Assembly Prosperous Armenia Party faction leader Tsarukyan’s home search and subsequent interrogation, and the publication of information on a number of criminal cases related to Gagik Tsarukyan has once again drawn the attention of the whole society to the problems of rule of law and corruption and the practices of the authorities in Armenia.

Before and after the 2018 revolution, human rights advocates, investigating journalists, and businesses have made constant allegations of unpunished election crimes perpetrated by a criminal oligarchy symbiotic with the authorities that captured the state, unlawful privatizations, claiming business privileges under the patronage of the parliamentary majority, and inflicting significant damage to the interests of the state.

All of the problems described above are interlinked and systemic: they are not only a consequence, but also a means of reproducing the state capture. Hence, they must be studied and systemic solutions should be developed through the toolkit of transitional justice.

Reiterating the importance of uncovering mass abuse of human rights and the necessity of evaluating them in proper political and legal terms, we believe that actions performed outside the framework of evaluating the past add vulnerability to the fragile process of building a judicial-legal system enjoying public trust. Moreover, in the absence of fundamental judicial-legal reforms, the future of the initiated cases remains vague, as does their impact on the future of social relations and the rules of politics.

We are convinced that the wide-scale election crimes prior to the revolution, including in particular crimes related to the electoral process, must be considered only in the context of comprehensive evaluation of that reality. Otherwise, delayed and fragmented interventions by the government risk creating perceptions of selective justice and leading to futile political manipulations.

We hereby urge the Armenian authorities to rely on the international best practices and to use the Armenian and international expert potential in order to urgently launch an effective mechanism of transitional justice, meanwhile ensuring proper public accountability. It is necessary to comprehend that delays and piecemeal solutions will not lead to establishment of justice.

Others are free to join this Statement.

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Protection of Rights without Boarders
Asparez Club of Journalists
Law Protection and Developmen Foundation
Open Society Foundations – Armenia
Analytical Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation