Honourable Prime Minister, dear guests,
Dear officers of the Special Investigation Service
Let me welcome you all and thank for hosting us on this day important for the service. On November 21, this year, the Government of the Republic of Armenia made a decision to mark November 28 as the day of the RA Special Investigation Service officer. And although this tradition has been celebrated as a Day of Service for the past 11 years, this year it laid the legal ground for it, so I am officially congratulating all of us on the professional holiday, the Day of the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Armenia and the 12th Anniversary of the Service.
Although the service is quite young compared to the other structures of the RA law enforcement system, today we can already state that it is a well-established law-enforcement body with its traditions that fulfils its mission with respect to the rule of law and order.
I am happy to point out that the officers of Special Investigation Service are well aware of the exclusivity of work entrusted to them during this important time for the country. It may sound a little bit immodest when we talk about the exclusivity of the work we do, but I believe everyone, regardless of the type of job they do and the position they occupy, should be convinced of the exclusivity of the work they do, as there are opportunities for great and small courage in every profession, and we must treat the work with the same philosophy, do it with utmost dedication; otherwise we will not succeed. For an investigator, the profession is much more than just paid work; in any case, it is a responsible, hard work, which requires surplus of forces, creative approach, often the work is done on the account of the communication with the family and friends, rest, and only the devotees record significant success here. I should be proud to say that there are many such people in our service.
During the 11 months of this year, 656 criminal cases were investigated by the service investigators, of which 536 were settled, including 71 criminal cases on 115 individuals were sent to the court with indictment. During the same period, 439 materials were prepared by investigators, 261 criminal cases were initiated. The Service received and reviewed 2544 applications. Last year at a special meeting dedicated to the day of the Special Investigation Service, I expressed my conviction that honest and deliberate work cannot fail to produce results, as the law on energy saving applies here also. One of the most important indicators of the effectiveness of criminal proceedings is the recovery of material damage caused by the crime.
Unprecedented material damage of AMD 4.331.935.405 was recovered in the criminal proceedings pending at this time. This is just the cash returned to the state budget; much more movable and immovable property legally and actually owned by the defendants, as well as assets subject to the offense, which would be administered by judicial action, were arrested”. I cannot objectively state the exact amount of the assets listed, as given the specifics of the criminal case forensic expertise is not always appointed. Certainly, these figures cannot be considered fully satisfactory either, but for the truth I must say that during 2008-2018 that is, during the 11 years of service the recovered amount was 597,698,770 AMD; in other words, the amount recovered this year only is 7 times more than the sum of money recovered in criminal cases investigated in the service for the past 11 years.
Some criminal cases investigated in the Service have revealed cases of illegal alienation of hundreds
of hectares of state or community-owned land and based on procedural decisions made by the findings of the investigation petitions have been filed to the competent authorities of the Government to initiate the process of returning those areas to the community. In the event of illegal sale of state-owned land, a relevant petition has been sent to the RA Prosecutor General's Office to file a lawsuit seeking protection of the state's property interests.
Thus, during the preliminary investigation of the criminal case initiated in connection with the publication of “Hetk” electronic media the illegal sale of 106 hectares of forest fund areas in Tsakhkadzor was justified. Although criminal prosecution on guilty officials was not pursued on the grounds of expired limitation for bringing to criminal responsibility, the return of those territories to the state was initiated. Another criminal case has justified numerous cases of illegal sale of land to relatives of former Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, among which 7, 5 hectares in Dilijan community and 168 hectares in Ararat marz. The same procedure was also initiated for the return of the said lands to the communities. The Service proceeds also a criminal case on illegal realization of “Haghtanak” park areas, the preliminary investigation of which is still underway. I am convinced that we will also have tangible success in this case next year. There are about 120 criminal cases currently under investigation in the service, many of which are complex, multi-tasking cases, requiring large-scale works; and I assure we’ll have significant results in the near future. Understanding the inevitability of responsibility and punishment for the crime committed is the most important component of crime prevention, a textbook truth, and one of our main targets is to bring that awareness to all participants in public relations through the results of our work. Though the success is not little, it is clear that the service still has serious work to do in terms of the efficiency of corruption-related cases, including the return of assets illegally accumulated by the charged people, among which those illegally withdrawn from the country. In this regard, the Service actively cooperates with foreign partners, sends legal assistance requests to various countries, service investigators participate in discussions on these topics for exchange of best practice and raise of qualification training courses. I hope that all this will produce results in the near future. The Service also closely cooperates with other RA law enforcement agencies, state and local self-government bodies. Without the above mentioned cooperation and support, the results would not have been the same, for which I would like to thank all our partners. We have always felt the care of the Government and the Prime Minister personally, for which I would like to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the Government of the Republic of Armenia on behalf of all the staff. I assure hat the service will show the necessary consistency and diligence to ensure efficiency in the sector entrusted to it, in realizing the supreme idea of ensuring the rule of law.
Thanks for attention.