During a Q&A session with the government on September 11 in the National Assembly, former member of Bright Armenia Faction Arman Babajanyan asked Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan about giving a legal and political assessment to the former administration.
In response, Pashinyan stated: “The position must be legal, because many events took place in Armenia under the regime you mentioned. Does this mean that everything that happened under the former government should be rooted out?”
“Pensions have been distributed. Now shall we to go and collect those pensions from pensioners?” Pashinyan asked.
The prime minister also stated that the position should be purely legal, noting that they are giving the former authorities a legal assessment, and dozens of criminal cases and former officials involved as defendants speak to that fact.
Difference between legal and political assessments
As we mentioned, Arman Babajanyan’s question referred to giving legal and political assessment for the last 20 years. Political assessment generally means the adoption of a statement by the legislative authority voted for by the majority of members of parliament. That way the statement gains political weight.
Speaking to Fip.am, Arman Babajanyan clarified that a working group should be set up to study the period of the former authorities’ administration in order to give a legal and political assessment. This assessment should be reflected by the adoption of a statement by the National Assembly, which will also have legal consequences and should not be limited to arrests.
In recent months, a number of human rights organizations have also made statements, insisting that the current parliament should give a political assessment to the ”state capture” by the former authorities. Babajanyan noted that the aforementioned working group has to investigate whether the state was captured or not.
What is “state capture”
According to the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, state capture is one of the most pervasive forms of corruption, where companies, institutions or powerful individuals use corruption to influence and shape a country’s policy, legal environment and economy to their own interests. Both the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary are subject to capture.
A striking example is Moldova, which was recognized by the European Parliament as a “state captured by oligarchic interests” in November 2018. And in June this year, at the height of the political crisis, the Moldovan parliament adopted a statement describing the country as a “captured state”. It was followed by the resignation of the government and the Constitutional Court “controlled” by oligarch Vladimir Plahotnyuk.
Thus, PM Pashinyan manipulates the purpose and consequences of political assessment. He does not answer the question addressed to him, and instead oversimplifies the content of Babajanyan’s question and attempts to create an impression of a reply through a pathetic statement.