Financial Support dedicated to the Observation Mission in Artsakh is an Abuse of Disposure of State Funds07.01.2020
Based on the decision No. 1058-N of the RA Government, made on August 22, 2019, RA Prime Minister’s Staff was granted 33 million 680 thousand AMD to finance “Union of Informed Citizens Stepanakert Office” consulting NGO and “Transparency International” anti-corruption center with 16 million 200 thousand and 17 million 480 thousand AMD accordingly, to support the observation mission in the local self-government (elections of Artsakh Republic taking place in September, 2019.
Particularly, in the statement of justification of the decision it is stated as following: “Union of Informed Citizens Stepanakert Office” consulting NGO and “Transparency International” anti-corruption center HAS WISHED to become observers of the upcoming elections of the local self-government of the Artsakh, on September 8 of this year. (emphasis is made by us).
“”Path of Law” NGO has submitted a request to the RA Government staff in order to find out when and how those organizations had expressed their WISH to conduct observation of the local self-government elections in Artsakh. At the same time, in the same letter addressed to the RA Government Staff, the “Path of Law” NGO officially expressed its desire to become an observer in the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the Republic of Artsakh, expecting for a budget support under the same conditions as the two organizations mentioned above.
In response to the inquiry, the Staff of the Government of RA stated the following: “The government’s decision to grant “Union of Informed Citizens Stepanakert Office” consulting NGO and “Transparency International” anti-corruption center was made based particularly on the LONG YEARS OF EXPERIENCE in organizing observation mission of those organizations. The latters had played a key role in at least two nationwide election observation missions and at least in four local government elections. (…)
The initiative to organize the observation mission in the elections of the local self-government in September, 2019 in Artsakh came from the organizations mentioned above, and considering the development of democracy in Artsakh and willingness of the RA Government to maintain transparency in the electoral processes, it was decided to support both of those organizations in monitoring activities.”
“As for the FORM OF WISHES of the respective organizations, the latter has been the result of a number of discussions (…). (․․․) THE WISHES expressed by the organizations had not been DOCUMENTED until [T] he decision has been made (․․․). (the emphasizes are made by us).
As for our wish, the RA Government’s Staff has rejected our proposal on the following grounds:
Considering that the “Path of Law “Human Rights NGO was founded in 2019, we find that it does not meet at least one of the above mentioned basic criteria for the decision, that is having no experience in the organization of the observation mission or at least not providing any justification for compliance with the above criteria.
IF THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION (BUT NOT THE FOUNDERS OR SOME MEMBERS) HAVE THE SUITABLE EXPERIENCE, we suggest to submit relevant justifications to the Prime Minister’s Office.” (emphasizes are made by us)
However, another survey revealed that one of those two organizations, “Union of Informed Citizens Stepanakert Office” consulting Non-Governmental Organization, had received state registration only on July 23, 2019, and therefore it could not have LONG YEARS OF EXPERIENCE in any field, including in organizing observation missions.
By the way, the founders of this NGO are five individuals (one of whom is citizen Daniel Ioannisyan) and not another organization.
Another question addressed to the Staff of RA Government revealed that there was “no competition” for these two organizations, and the criteria presented to us by the Government were “not set by any legal act” and thus were not accessible to the public and interested organizations.
As a result of the analysis of the above facts, the “Path of Law” NGO protocols the following:
1) Without any competition or at least certain legal standards, financial support to non-governmental organizations is itself an abuse of disposure of state funds and a breach of the principle of proper administration. In other words, these two organizations were selected in the “HOUSEHOLD” WAY.
2) In the explanation of the selection of these two organizations, the Staff of the Government of the Republic of Armenia provided justifications that did not and could not relate to at least one of those organizations (The NGO registered in July 2019 could not have the LONG YEARS OF EXPERIENCE).
(3) There are reasonable grounds to suppose that these two organizations have been selected taking into account THE INFLUENCE AND SPECIAL ATTITUDES OF THE RULING POLITICAL POWER towards them.
4) The Staff of the Government of the Republic of Armenia has exhibited an OBVIOUS DISCRIMINARORy ATTITUDE towards the”Path of Law” NGO, as our organization was founded earlier than one of the NGOs that received state funding on a “wish” basis.
Besides, one of our organization’s co-founders has serious experience in electoral actions of observation and the other one in human rights protection in Artsakh.
5) The aforementioned facts should also receive a CRIMINAL ASSESSMENT, as they appear to correspond to the crime of waste in the context of the recent interpretation of the RA law enforcement authorities regarding that type of crime.
The “Path of Law” NGO reaffirms its intention to carry out an observation mission in the forthcoming national elections in the Republic of Artsakh,
given their extreme importance in terms of recognizing Artsakh’s right to self-determination and strengthening democracy. We will take the necessary steps to realize this intention, regardless of the discriminatory attitude of the Government of the Republic of Armenia and any possible obstacles.