YEREVAN (ArmInfo)—While at the Investigative Committee of Armenia, U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills said that the U.S. works with Armenian partners to build a secure, prosperous, and democratic country, and that it is not possible without a strong justice system that supports rule of law and ensures transparent access to justice for all citizens.
To note, on October 20, Mills met with the Chairman of Armenia’s Investigative Committee, Aghvan Hovsepyan, to mark the Embassy’s donation of technical equipment and computer software valued at $132,000.
The Investigative Committee reports that the donation, which includes 72 scanners, 4 computers, 4 CISCO network routers, and 70 licenses of Adobe Acrobat Pro, will help introduce a new system of processing criminal cases in Armenia. It will allow the cases to be digitized, facilitating more efficient investigations and improved circulation among investigators in various offices. In addition, the donated equipment will help establish a better network connection to relevant police databases.
By supporting the digitization of criminal cases, the Embassy is partnering with the Investigative Committee to reinforce accountability and the transparency of investigations, while raising the professionalism and independence of the Committee.
“Since February-March, 2015, digitalization of criminal cases as an experimental program has been introduced into two subdivisions of the Investigative Committee—the Investigative Divisions of Arabkir, Ajapnyak and Davtashen administrative districts. 458 criminal cases have been digitalized, participants of trial were provided with materials of criminal cases in a compact disk the total number of which was 35.108 papers. This is also a significant financial saving—about 60-70 million AMD annually. Besides the financial side, digitalization of criminal cases enables the efficient use of human, time and other resources, as well as serious reduction of corruption risks,” the Chairman of the Armenian Investigative Committee mentioned, adding: “Due to the Embassy support, the program of digitalization of cases is planned to be introduced in all bodies conducing pre-trial proceedings and subdivisions of the Committee starting from 2015, and very soon we will have a domestic network connecting the central office of the Committee with the territorial bodies and subdivisions.”
“Digitizing case files creates a permanent record. It helps law enforcement ensure the accuracy of the information in those files. And it allows greater access to case files by prosecutors and defense advocates,” Mills said, quoted by the Investigative Committee.
“In short, digitizing the files of the Investigative Committee creates a more transparent system, and advances public trust in law enforcement. I commend the Investigative Committee for taking the initiative to modernize the law enforcement system in order to increase accountability and fight corruption.”
This donation is just one part of the U.S. government’s comprehensive law enforcement assistance program, which is working to strengthen the ability of Armenian law enforcement officials and institutions and create a fairer and more transparent criminal justice system. Other assistance provided to the Investigative Committee has included a recent study visit to the U.S. by a group of investigators to observe American law enforcement and investigative practices in domestic violence cases. Additionally, the Embassy offers on-going English language courses for about 50 investigators.
The U.S. government annually provides approximately $1.5 million in law enforcement and criminal justice assistance to Armenia.
“The United States works with our Armenian partners to build a secure, prosperous, and democratic country. As I’m sure you all agree, this is not possible without a strong justice system that supports rule of law and ensures transparent access to justice for all citizens,” Mills said.
“The United States will continue to partner with the Government of Armenia to create a strong, transparent, and accountable justice system.”
To note, in a recent interview with the RFE/RL Armenian Service (Azatutyun), Mills said that corruption sets back economic growth, hurts human rights development, and undermines democracy.