GRECO Heads to Review Armenian Accession to Anti Corruption Body

YEREVAN (YERKIR)–Prior to Armenia’s accession to the Council of Europe (CE)–a forum under the auspices of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)–will take place in Yerevan on January 19-20 in order to discuss CE anti-corruption mechanisms. President Kocharian’s anti-corruption policy advisor Bagrat Yesaian–said the purpose of the seminar is to evaluate the situation in Armenia.

GRECO’s evaluation process is conducted by an Ad hoc team of experts who examine replies to questionnaires–request and examine additional information to be submitted either orally or in writing–visit member countries for the purpose of seeking additional information of relevance to the evaluation–and prepare draft evaluation reports for discussion and adoption at the plenary sessions.

GRECO Executive Secretary Manuel Lezertua–and Vice President Isabel Van Heers–will deliver reports at the seminar–in addition to Armenian National Assembly vice-speaker Vahan Hovhannisian–Chief of Staff Manuk Topuzian–and Justice Minister Davit Hauriunian.

Local experts–state officials–representatives of international organizations–NGO representatives–and media will also attend the seminar.

In June 2003–the chairman of the Armenian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Armen Rustamian–called on Armenia to join GRECO in order to effectively tackle the country’s widespread corruption. Yesaian recently stated that there are no foreseen obstacles for Armenia gaining membership.

GRECO was conceived as a flexible and efficient follow-up mechanism–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 of the GRECO is reserved to those who participate fully in the mutual evaluation process and accept to be evaluated.

According to its Statute–the aim of the GRECO is to improve its members’ capacity to fight corruption by monitoring the compliance of States with their undertakings in this field. In this way–it will contribute to identifying deficiencies of national mechanisms against corruption–and to prompting the necessary legislative–institutional–and practical reforms in order to better prevent and combat corruption.

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