On November 18, the Armenian Civil Servants Council restricted monitors from being present at competitions for top and upper-bureaucratic positions. The Council, has especially prevented the Europe in Law Association NGO’s monitoring activities, who have been observing their competitions since September. The NGO applied to the Ombudsman’s office; their representative, however, was also restricted, with a response that the council has a decision for restricting monitorings.
The NGO’s co-founder Lusine Hakobyan told Epress.am that this is a violation of the civil service law and judicial code, in which it is expected to have public monitoring during civil servant competitions.
“Through means of public finances they are implementing civil servant competitions, and the public is being deprived from possibility of receiving information,” said the NGO’s co-founder Tigran Yegoryan.
Yegoryan stated that during the monitoring mission, the council created obstacles. According to him, they restrict the monitors from recording the competitions' interview stage, in essence, the only stage when an applicant has to speak and answer the commission’s questions; the competition’s other stage consists of a written test.
In addition, one of the monitors was restricted from participating in the competition because of his tardiness, whereas the tardiness may have been an issue for competition participants or commission members, and is absolutely not applicable in a monitor’s case.
According to Lusine Hakobyan, the council member Gevorgyan told a monitor that “if you went to someone else’s house and they didn’t let you stay, would you have stayed?”
In another incident, the council called police to forcefully remove the monitors.
According to the lawyers, all obstacles testify that monitoring endangers the commission’s work because to an extent they have difficulty conducting sham competitions. According to the monitors, the competitions for government posts are largely without any competition, usually with one candidate, and often the commissions lack independent academics.
“Our presence doesn’t allow them to conduct a sham competition. Interesting facts are being registered, for example, when the applicant is receiving a high score from the test, they are cut off from the interview, despite the commission’s leading questions,” said Lusine Hakobyan.