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Armenia President Establishes Ethics Commission of High-Ranking Officials

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree to form a Commission on Ethics of the High-level Officials. Lilit Petrossian, who was nominated by the Speaker of the National Assembly; Armen Khudaverdian, nominated by the Prime Minister; Areg Shushian, nominated by the Chair of the RA Constitutional Court; Emil Babayan, nominated by the Chair of the RA Court of Cassation; and Artak Sarkissian, nominated by the RA Prosecutor General have been appointed members of the Commission for a six-year term.

The Commission convened its first meeting yesterday. The Chair (Emil Babayan) and the Vice Chair (Areg Shushian) of the Commission were elected at the meeting.

According to a statement by the president’s press office, on Dec. 10, Sargsyan met with the members of the newly created Commission where he presented his vision of the Commission’s work and stressed the importance of this structure’s mission.

Sargsyan noted that in recent years the Republic of Armenia has been undertaking consistent steps aimed at reforming and improving activities of officials and state bodies, including through introducing and implementing anti-corruption measures in state structures. According to the Armenian president, the Law on Civil Service, adopted in 2011, was a logical continuation of that process. A basic requirement of the law is the creation of an ethics commission of the high-level officials.

“From now on, issues related to the creation and functioning of the Commission will naturally be under special public scrutiny, while  the Commission’s activities should, in fact, become the standards for structural changes and better opportunities in the fight against corruption, as well as for changing social attitude and behavior regarding corruption,” he stressed.

According to Sargsyan, the Commission’s mission is to increase social trust toward public institutions in the country, create a system of good governance, as well as make high-level officials’ activities more transparent and public. He also said that the area of the Commission’s expertise should include analysis and publication of data on officials’ income and assets, disclosure of  conflict of interests and violation of ethical norms, publication of specific materials on the breach of ethics and other activities.

“I believe that under these conditions, the independent status of the Commission requires great responsibility on behalf of the members of the Commission both in exercising their authority and, naturally, manifesting the best professional skills and abilities and, most importantly, political impartiality and neutrality in drawing conclusions and making proposals. I would like to underscore that any influence on members of the Commission must be excluded; you must be influenced only by the law and your personal ethical standards,” the Armenian president said.