Rustamian Urges Armenia to Join CE’s GRECO

COUNCIL OF EUROPE GROUP PROMOTES MUTUAL EVALUATION AND PEER PRESSURE OF MEMBERS TO CRACK DOWN ON CORRUPTION

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and chairman of the Armenian National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Armen Rustamian–said today that Armenia’should join the Council of Europe group known as GRECO.

GRECO–which stands for Group of States Against Corruption–came into effect on May 1999 when states such as Belgium–Spain–Sweden–Germany–Slovakia and Estonia adopted its resolution. GRECO’s roots–however–go back to 1994–to the 19th conference of the European Ministers of Justice. During the conference–participants discussed the threats that corruption posed on democracy–the rule of law and human rights. The participants were convinced that an effective fight against corruption must include a multidisciplinary approach including cross-border cooperation between states and between states and international institutions. The Council of Europe was called on to respond to the problem.

"Deeming it as one of its priorities–the new Armenian coalition government is committed to crack down on corruption; we have to design a set of measures to join the GRECO group–which will arm us with not only a new instrument to combat corruption–but one that also brings international experience," Rustamian said.

Rustamian–back from Strasbourg where he participated in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s summer session–said he has spoken to parliament chairman Arthur Baghdasarian about the issue.

Rustamian said he had met in Strasbourg with the director general of GRECO to learn more about the group’s activities. Thirty-four Council of Europe member countries and the US are now in GRECO. To become a GRECO member–Armenia will have to ratify the two Council of Europe Civil and Criminal Conventions.

According to its statutes–the aim of GRECO is to improve its members’ capacity to fight corruption by monitoring the compliance of states in their undertakings. Hence–it will help identify the deficiencies of national mechanisms against corruption and prompt the necessary legislative–institutional and practical reforms needed for preventing and combating corruption.

Conceived as a flexible and efficient follow-up mechanism–GRECO is called to monitor–through a process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure–the observance of the "Guiding Principles in the Fight against Corruption" and the implementation of international legal instrumen’s adopted in pursuance of the Program of Action against Corruption. Full membership in GRECO is reserved to those who participate fully in the mutual evaluation process and accept to be evaluated.

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