Action Man: Ombudsman gives report on six months of complaints

Armenia’s current Ombudsman is a problem fixer.

That’s the message of a press conference held today by Ombudsman Armen Harutyunyan, who, last February became the second to hold the post, following Larisa Alaverdyan.

In the first six months of Harutyunyan’s appointment, 854 written complaints have resulted in 121 “positive” resolutions; 51 are pending. (See http://www.ombuds.am/main/am/9/27/401/)

Harutyunyan compared his statistics to his publicly-popular (and government despised) predecessor, claiming that in two years she received 2,600 complaints and “positively” solved only 58.

The Ombudsman said his style of problem-solving differs from Alaverdyan’s in that he favors “cooperation” over “enforcement”. He also pointed out, though, that Alaverdyan is not to blame, but rather that he operates by a different strategy.

In total, Harutyunyan has received 1,794 complaints (940 are oral).

Complaints have mostly been leveled against courts (106), Yerevan municipality (95), police (71) and various ministries, including Justice, Labor and Social Affairs, and Defense.

Yerevan residents accounted for 526 of the complaints, with the rest coming from Lori, Shirak, Geharkunik and other regions.

Harutyunyan took the occasion to also comment on the 4-year sentence handed down on local newspaper editor Arman Babajanyan, charged with falsifying his military status.

“There are speculations that such a severe sentence was conditioned by his pro- opposition attitude,” said Harutunyan. “I think such speculation might be grounded, as I don’t think his wrongdoing deserved 4 years in prison.”