Friday, July 26 2019 15:32
David Stepanyan

Edmon Marukyan: We are doing everything to ensure that there is more  America in Armenia

Edmon Marukyan: We are doing everything to ensure that there is more  America in Armenia

ArmInfo. In an interview with ArmInfo,  head of the parliamentary faction of the Bright Armenia Party Edmon Marukyan, commented on the recent domestic political  impulses and problems of reforming the judicial and legal system in  Armenia. He talks about the steps taken by Yerevan to deepen  cooperation with the European Union and the United States. He shares  his own vision of the current state and future of the  Armenian-American relations.

- Mr. Marukyan, judging by the latest statements of the authorities,  the problem of reforming the judicial and legal system that has been  pressing for a long time, has finally reached the Constitutional  Court, or more precisely, its chairman, Hrayr Tovmasyan. Does, in  your opinion, his resignation indicate at least the beginning of the  path towards solution of the situation, or is everything much more  complicated?

I don't think that the problem of reforming the judicial system,  about which you speak, can be resolved only by Tovmasyan's  resignation. It is clear that the chairman of the Constitutional  Court is trying in every way to defend himself against accusations.  At the same time, the accusations of the authorities and part of our  society against Tovmasyan are quite reasonable and justified. This  man wrote the Constitution with the ultimate goal of turning the  Constitutional Court into a future mechanism of fulfilling the wishes  of the then ruling Republican Party of Armenia. It is also clear  that, defending from fair accusations in his address, Tovmasyan,  first of all, relies on well- known democratic principles. He refers  to the well-known principles of the dominance of democracy and law,  to the fact that the independence of the judiciary in fact does not  envisage mandatory reforms after each change of legislative and,  accordingly, executive power. However, to leave everything as it is  means to bear with the hideous distortion of the Constitution and the  judicial system as a whole that took place during the years of RPA  rule. In this light, changes and reforms in the judicial system, in  my opinion, are necessary. However, they should be carried out within  the framework of the law, whenever possible adhering to the happy  medium. The problem certainly needs a solution.

- In your opinion is there this time the threat of transforming the  judiciary into an appendage of the new executive? The results of the  elections to the Supreme Judicial Council, at first sight, indicate  the appearance of prerequisites in this direction:

I am convinced that under no circumstances should the representatives  of the judiciary be "friends" with the authorities of the country.  Such a friendship, moreover, rather close one, for quite  understandable reasons, existed between the Republicans and the  judges appointed by them. We all see today the result of such  relations between representatives of different branches of power.  Accordingly, today and in the future, it is necessary to completely  exclude even the first signs of such a "friendship" of the courts  with the ruling force in Armenia. Reoccurrence of such a situation is  definitely unacceptable. Courts should not be friends of power:  neither the previous one, nor the current one, nor future. Our  country needs an independent judicial power, a real judicial power,  and not just judges and courts, a power that will be completely  independent and, accordingly, free in all its decisions and actions.  I mean the power that is able to independently implement both  constitutional justice and justice in general. This is our main task,  the task of the authorities, the opposition, society and even,  paradoxically, at first glance, the former government. Since actually  everybody is interested in its implementation. Accordingly, to  achieve a solution to this common task, we all need to act in a  coordinated manner.

-However, there is no such approach to reforming the judicial system  yet:  

Unfortunately! That is why we reiterate every day the need to  formulate a clear concept of reforms in the judicial legal system.  Today, the authorities say one thing, then the other and no one knows  what they will say tomorrow. It is because of the inconsistency of  the authority, the lack of a common vision of what we want and where  we are going, that the Republicans, "counter-revolutionaries",  "blacks", and others actively criticize this very authority.  It is  precisely as a result of this very inconsistency that the same  Tovmasyan, who was a "good guy" a month ago, because he was standing  next to the authorities, suddenly became "bad". It has become  impossible to continue such practice, any reforms need consistency,  it is simply unrealistic to continue them in the conditions of daily  change of sentiments. 

- Nevertheless, at first glance, not everything is so bad, at least  with finances. The European Union, in particular, has already  expressed its readiness to support Armenian reforms in the legal and  judicial system.

Finances are not the main factor in the successful implementation of  these reforms, moreover their successful completion. Practically all  international partners of our country are ready to render this  assistance, and not only financial one. For this, one thing is  necessary - the vision, the concept of these reforms expressed by the  Armenian authorities. Finance here is of secondary importance. The  presence of the agenda is paramount, or precisely speaking, its  absence. It is inadmissible to announce the universal vetting today,  giving it up tomorrow. We can't talk today about the implementation  of the transitional justice system, and refuse from it tomorrow. It  is inadmissible to make changes to the Constitution today and refuse  from them later. Any reforms always need stability. And it is the  general concept, the documented clear vision of future own actions  that is the key to the development of cooperation of Armenia in all  areas. And the matter is far from being limited to the legal and  judicial system.

- You have recently returned from the US. Do the new authorities of  Armenia have a conceptual approach in relations with the USA? Their  predecessors did not seem to have it. What do we want from the United  States today, and what can we offer them?

I have no information about the approaches and agenda of our  leadership towards the United States. I don't know what discussions  are held during the periodic visits of representatives of our  leadership to Washington. I have my own conceptual ideas about the  agenda of the Armenian-American relations, according to which Armenia  can become an important partner of the United States in the South  Caucasus. The prerequisites and most importantly, possibilities for  such a scenario exist, they just need to be implemented, this is what  our national interests require.  Unused potential in  Armenian-American relations should be fulfilled. And I very much hope  that our new ambassador in Washington will make all possible efforts  in this direction. We should not limit our relations with the United  States to the Armenian community, although we do not realize this  potential either. Today's Armenia is a democratic country, which, in  cooperation with the United States, is able to actively fight in the  international structures against the challenges faced by democracy.  This is very important and we should concentrate our own attention to  this issue and draw the attention of our partners to it. From this  point of view, it is rather difficult to overestimate the importance  of Armenia in the South Caucasus. As far as I understand, today there  is simply no such link in the Caucasian dimension of American  politics.

- What about Georgia? It seems that the "Georgian Dream" of EU and  NATO membership has not changed with the replacement of Saakashvili  with Ivanishvili.

Georgia continues to be a strategic partner of the United States, at  least, the Georgians think so. However, at the same time, Georgia is  involved in conflicts with Russia. And most importantly, it does not  have a border with Iran, which Armenia has. For obvious reasons, in  recent years, our region has been interesting to the United States,  above all, due to the border with Iran. There is also Azerbaijan,  which borders on Iran and is of particular importance for the United  States. However, here US also faces problems. A dictatorial regime is  ruling in Baku, respectively, democracy is fictitious, especially in  comparison with Armenia, which can not be blamed for absence of  democracy today.

- Back to your meetings in the USA. Which of the above-mentioned, we  can offer Americans at least at the level of parliamentary diplomacy?

As a representative of parliamentary diplomacy, a person involved in  these processes, I am doing everything possible to implement the  agenda of Bright Armenia party. We call this agenda "More America in  Armenia" and actively push it. At all our meetings, in this case, the  latest meetings in Washington, we are actively lobbying for the idea  of involving the US in all possible ways and their participation in  the reforms taking place in Armenia. At all meetings in Washington, I  voiced our ideas and offered to fill the vacuum in relations between  our countries that we inherited from the Republicans. Today we can  definitely get more America in Armenia than it was yesterday.   Accordingly, we need to continue the cooperation with the United  States, which was established with Armenia's independence, and bring  it to a much higher level. We consider this a necessary step  proceeding from the interests of Armenia.

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Левон
Конечно, хорошо иметь такого верного лоббиста интересов Армении в Америке как Э. Марукян. Однако, лучше подождать, пока в самой Америке разберутся сами с собой. Не до Армении им сейчас. А точнее, армянскому обществу не очень удобно пристраиваться под Америку. Даже в Грузии нет ничего такого.

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