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NGO vs. Ministry of Economy: Demanding Documents for Customs Union Accession

Yesterday, the Armenian Administrative Court heard the complaint of the “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO against the Ministry of Economy, which refused to provide information demanded by the NGO. The NGO demanded the publication of the 900 product names for exemption that were negotiated between Armenia and Russian for entrance into the Russian-led Customs Union. The Ministry refused to provide the information, saying that it was a secret.

During yesterday’s court session, the Ministry of Economy representative, Ruzanna Azroyan, tried to prove that the Minister had the right to consider certain types of information either a state or administrative secret. The NGO representative Daniel Ioannisyan (pictured) said, that they recognize that such a right exists, however they don’t believe that the Minister has classified those 900 products, because only while it is classified would it not be subject to publication.

The Ministry representative said, that the list of products has been classified in both state and administrative secrets. In reality, they are totally different things, one document can not be both a state and administrative secret,” Ioanissyan told Epress.am after the court session.

According to Ioannisyan, the document has a note saying “For administrative use”, however, according to Armenian law, that does not mean the information is secret. With such notes information was considered secret by the USSR, from 1996 in Russia, but not by Armenia.

Ioannisyan told that Ministry staff was making contradicting statements; before Minister Karen Chshmarityan told the media that the negotiations had finished, Deputy Minister and Azroyan were saying that negotiations were continuing.

Recall, that the NGO’s court case has also filed suit against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has kept secret information about Armenia’s membership treaty with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Photograph from Ioannisyan’s Facebook page