In November 2019, the National Security Service reported that it had disclosed cases of more than 30 children being adopted in Italy in gross violation of the law.
FIP.am tried to extract statistics on adoptions, as well as to understand the stage of the NSS disclosure.
In 2021, 19 children were adopted from Armenia, 14 of them were adopted by Armenian citizens, and 5 by foreigners. The number of adoptions has decreased in recent years. If in 2012 Armenian citizens adopted 44 and foreign citizens 55 children, in 2018 Armenian citizens adopted 26, foreign citizens – 25 children, in 2020 2 children were adopted by foreign citizens, and children adopted by Armenian citizens were 33.
Number of children adopted by foreign and Armenian citizens in 2012-2021
The data analysis shows that foreign citizens adopt children with health issues more often than Armenians. In the last ten years, an average of 34 children have been adopted annually by Armenian citizens of which on average 4 were children with health issues and an average of 29 children have been adopted annually by foreign citizens, with an average of 22 having health issues. In 2021, for instance, 5 out of 14 children adopted by Armenian citizens had health issues, and all 5 children adopted by foreign citizens had health issues.
Most Armenian children were adopted by foreign citizens from the USA, Italy and France.
In the field of international child adoption, Armenia cooperates with the competent authorities of participating and non-participating countries to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
In case of cooperation with the countries party to the Convention, Armenia cooperates through the central body of the respective country or accredited organizations.
Different agencies provide different data on adoptions
Statistics on adoptions by Armenian and foreign citizens of Armenia are maintained by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. The latter provides the data based on the state registrations of adoption made by the Civil Registry Offices.
The data provided by state agencies are contradictory. For example, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Justice, in 2021, 12 children were adopted by non-citizens of Armenia, and according to the data of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, foreigners adopted 5 children.
The Ministry of Justice explains this discrepancy with the difference of methodologies. In particular, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs registers the fact of a child’s on the basis of a relevant court decision, and the Ministry of Justice –based on the moment of registration of the adoption acts. “The above-mentioned agencies are aware of such a deviation of quantitative data, and the corrections are made upon data comparison, including nominal, which is not subject to publication,” the Ministry of Justice said in response to FIP.am’s inquiry.
In case of foreign adoptions, the control is exercised by the competent body of the foreign state
After the adoption of a child from Armenia by foreigners and transfer to another country, the control is exercised by the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry supervises by receiving annual reports on the adopted child from the central authorities of a foreign state or accredited organizations.
That is, the Ministry of Justice relies on information received from the relevant bodies and organizations of the foreign state.
FIP.am inquired whether there was a return of a child adopted or transferred in a foreign country in 2008-2019.
“In the period 2008-2019, there was no return of any child who was adopted or transferred to a foreign country. After the adoption, a number of adopted children, accompanied by their parents, visited Armenia as tourists to get acquainted with the country of origin and the people,” reads the response of the Ministry of Justice.
What is the stage of NSS disclosure?
The NSS statement mentioned the cases of more than 30 children being adopted in Italy in gross violation of the law.
FIP.am had sent an inquiry to the National Security Service, Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General’s Office to find out whether the above 30 children were returned to Armenia or taken back from adopting families, as well as to find out at what stage the criminal cases of the persons charged with illegal adoption are.
The Ministry of Justice answered that the above-mentioned questions are not in the domain of the Ministry.
The response of the NSS does not contain information about the fate of 30 children, it is only mentioned that the case was sent to the Investigative Committee.
“The criminal case initiated in the NSS Investigation Department in connection with the adoption cases was transferred to the Investigative Committee on November 12, 2019 through the Prosecutor General’s Office to continue the preliminary investigation according to the investigative subordination,” the NSS statement reads.
The Investigative Committee informs that the preliminary investigation is over to draw up an indictment and send the case to court. Eleven defendants are involved in the criminal case, 9 of whom are members of an organized group for the sale of two or more children for the purpose of taking care of them. The reply also states that no decisions have been made to terminate the proceedings.
Recently, the Investigative Committee also issued a statement detailing the results of the pre-trial investigation.
The Prosecutor General’s Office informs FIP.am that the criminal case examined by the Department of Investigation of Crimes on Human Trafficking, against Sexual Immunity of Juveniles and Illegal Turnover of Drugs of the General Department of Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the Investigation Committee was sent on June 6, 2022 with an indictment to the Court of General Jurisdiction of the city of Yerevan for substantive examination.
As for the future fate of children allegedly adopted in gross violation of the law, the Prosecutor’s Office informs that they are currently outside Armenia, under the care of adopting families.
The case was accepted for review in the Court of First Instance of the city of Yerevan, the case is being heard by Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan.