Prosecutor Will Appeal Parliament Again

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"I’ll once again go to Parliament with the same petition. I’ll go with confidence. I trust our National Assembly as there are healthy forces there too. I base my confidence also on the fact that heavy crimes were committed," Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepian said in a television appearance January 27.

Commenting on the Parliament’s rejecting the petition for the arrest and trial of member of Parliament Vano Siradeghian–Hovsepian said–"I hope the National Assembly will discuss the issue in all seriousness–appreciate the point of the petition and the seriousness of the crimes committed. Of course–I knew there would be attempts to give the matter a political character. In discussing the matter deputies should draw a distinction whether there is any political persecution? If there isn’t–they ought to let investigation agencies and the court to step in. That is–under the law–immunity is given to deputy in case he is persecuted on political grounds. Here the matter concerns exclusively a criminal case. I expected that the matter would be given a political character–it was the only way to turn down the petition–and this was done."

Hovsepian noted that under similar circumstances–Parliament "would assume the functions of the Court to try to determine whether a given person is guilty or not. Parliament has no right to assess the proof obtained."

"In Parliament I said more than I needed to. The prosecutor is not supposed to go in detail apart from outlining the crime in question in his petition to Parliament and it was practiced in previous years and present what counts of the Code the deputy is charged on," said Hovsepian. "I hate to generalize that the National Assembly doesn’t give consent–I’d say that certain forces operating in the National Assembly do not agree. They are simply not interested in revealing these crimes–and it doesn’t suit them that all people linked to these crimes be prosecuted and convicted. Not long ago–[September 26–1996] the Parliament not only agreed to the institution of criminal proceedings against deputies–but also passed a verdict–and on the spot–in Parliament–tried to execute the sentence."

The prosecutor general ruled out the version of the execution of a political order placed by the current administration–stressing that the investigation of crimes exposed in 1998 began still in 1994 when the crimes were committed. For example the case of the murder of Artur Hovanessian and Karen Rafaelian initiated on the basis of complaints of the relatives of the victims. The father of Karen Rafaelian–well-known film director–professor Mais Rafaelian kept filing complaints and personally searched for his son. The prosecutor said that still in 1994 there were preconditions for the disclosure of the cases–but it was never done as all attempts to summon the suspects to interrogation failed because they held offices. According to Hovsepian–many criminal and economic crimes were committed in the past few years–and the prosecutor general of the country–considers it his duty to work to detect them.

"When a man has nothing to say–he starts to paste labels–speak on behalf of the nation. I do not want to say anything about our honorable president," Hovsepian commented on ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s statement regarding a petition for detention and trial of member of Parliament Vano Siradeghian.

Hovsepian quoted an ancient Roman’saying: "Justification of a crime is a more cruel and terrible thing than committing it."

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