Announcement on Public Television Report and Nikol Pashinyan’s Post30.01.2020
On January 25, 2020, Nikol Pashinyan publicly pledged to “give a disproportionately” to the President of the Constitutional Court Hrayr Tovmasyan in response to the latter’s intention to bring Nikol Pashinyan’s statement on defamation to justice. This was firstly followed by the famous “story of pen”, but was widely perceived by the masses as “inappropriate, impossible, and groundless.” Right after then, on January 29, during the newscast of the Public Television, a report on the criminal case brought against Hrayr Tovmasyan, the President of the Constitutional Court, was aired exclusively on the basis of materials provided by the Special Investigation Service.
The following day, on January 30, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan shared the report on his Facebook page, stating: “Hrayr Tovmasyan cannot be the President of the Constitutional Court and have nothing to do with the Constitutional Court.”
On the basis of the above facts, the “Path of Law” NGO states:
1․ The report shown on the Public Television is directly causal in relation to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s threat to “give a disproportionately strong counterattack” to Hrayr Tovmasyan. This “promise” was made by giving the Special Investigative Service and the Public Television illegal instructions and possibly coordinating their execution, which is a demonstration of criminal abuse of power (Article 308 of the RA Criminal Code).
2․ The Public Television, funded by taxpayers’ funds, was required to provide comprehensive and objective information, while a report on the criminal case on the President of the Constitutional Court Hrayr Tovmasyan was presented exclusively on the basis of the evidence provided to the prosecution by the Special Investigative Service, without presenting the positions of the defense. As a result, Hrayr Tovmasyan’s principle of the presumption of innocence, which is also a gross violation of journalistic ethics, has been completely abolished by a reportage broadcast on Public Television.
3 ․ Three days after the “pen story”, the Special Investigative Service has provided the Public Television of Armenia with details of the indictment filed against Hrayr Tovmasyan, the President of the Constitutional Court, while the preliminary investigation into the case had not yet been completed. Thus, the requirement of Article 9.7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia “On the immunity of a judge of the Constitutional Court” of the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Armenia has been violated, namely that actions against a judge are carried out in criminal proceedings the way that they ensure the confidentiality of pre-trial and judicial proceedings, respect the authority and independence of the authority, and exclude any direct or indirect interference with the work of the judge. Without questioning the legal knowledge of the Special Investigative Service, we have to state that the Special Investigative Service operates solely within the political order and satisfies one person’s ambitions, thus discrediting the authority and professionalism of law enforcement agencies.
4. As early as June 24, 2019, we had stated that encroachment on the Constitutional Court started a few days earlier contained features of the crime of preparing to arrogate the power of the Constitutional Court (Articles 35 to 300 of the RA Criminal Code). We have to record that the preparations for the usurpation of power not only have not been stopped but also today have become an attempt to arrogate the authority (Articles 34-300 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia).
The “Path of Law” NGO will continue to be consistent in protecting the legal and democratic nature of the Republic of Armenia. For this reason, we will continue to collaborate with healthy civil society’s organizations, as well as to present materials regarding the recent unlawful developments about the Constitutional Court and Hrayr Tovmasyan to international partners.