Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Armenia

The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Armenia in which it finds that further amendments to the Criminal Code are necessary to comply with Council of Europe standards. GRECO also calls for a strengthening of the supervision over the funding of political parties and election campaigns.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [theme I], GRECO welcomes the 2008 amendments to the Criminal Code, but finds that in order to fully comply with the standards of the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption the legal provisions need to be further amended to ensure – among other things – that the mere request for a bribe can be prosecuted, that all persons who work in the private sector are covered and that Armenia can prosecute all corruption offences committed by its citizens abroad. The main challenge lies with the effective application of legislation. In this context, Armenia is strongly urged to take further measures to increase understanding amongst practitioners of the legal provisions and of the level of proof required in bribery cases.

Concerning transparency of party funding [theme II], GRECO acknowledges that a reform process aimed at improving accountability and transparency of political finances is currently underway. Armenia is encouraged to address in this context the various deficiencies identified in the Law on Political Parties and Election Code, such as the fact that caps on private donations and expenses only apply during election campaigns, the lack of regulation of donations in kind and the lack of transparency of the funding of election campaigns at local level. In addition, it must be ensured that all violations of the rules can be punished and that the sanctions foreseen for these violations are proportionate. Above all, it is of pivotal importance to strengthen supervision over the funding of political parties and election campaigns: it should be ensured that an independent monitoring mechanism is in place and that it has the authority and financial and human resources to investigate infringements of the rules on political financing.

In the report GRECO addresses 19 recommendations to Armenia. The implementation of these will be assessed by GRECO in the second half of 2012, through its specific compliance procedure.

Source: Council of Europe. Strasbourg, 11 April 2011

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