There Remain Many PA Delegates Involved in Azerbaijan's Corruption Schemes

    • Interview - 12 October 2017, 23:51
Interview with Arpine Hovhannisyan, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, the head of the Armenian delegation to the PACE

Ms. Hovhannisyan, after the Azerbaijani corruption scandal the author of a report on Azerbaijan Belgian MP Alan Destex left the PACE delegation. He was said to be involved in those corruption schemes. The PACE president Pedro Agramunt has resigned. Can we say a situation is possible when from now on the MPs with a pro-Azerbaijani stance will be suspected of deals with Azerbaijan?

Actually, people remain in the Parliamentary Assembly who, we are 100% sure, are involved in Azerbaijan’s corruption schemes in one way or another. However, as you can notice, the consequences, both domestic ones, such as accountability to the law enforcement agencies, an political responsibility such as resignation, come when there is clear and specific evidence, when there are addressed publications. I think that in any case many people will have more restraint and be more alert, since the entire world is focused on that organization. And the members of the majority of this institution is trying to promote a cleaning process. From this point of view, one should expect that some delegates will be more cautious. However, this does not mean that the existing situation does not suppose constant efforts to communicate or convey one’s own point of view.

What will change after Agramunt left?

In fact, with Agramunt’s departure we declare the end of a process where he marked a period of corruption and pro-Azerbaijani attitude in the Parliamentary Assembly. Although he was one of the most pertinent representatives, he was not alone. Delegates remain in the Assembly who have key roles in one position or another. However, Agramunt’s departure means inevitability of accountability for those people, and each of them will not feel free to act as they used to. However, I repeat, this does not mean that one can lose their patience and think that it is possible to achieve a big result by doing nothing or making less effort. I am saying this considering several existing facts and legal aspects.

What is the plan of the Armenian delegation in the PACE fall session?

In fact, there is no report on the agenda of this session relating to Armenia but there are two reports which are within our interests. One of them relates to Azerbaijan’s monitoring commitments. The second was the report by Alan Destex who resigned, which was on the conclusions on human rights situation in the period when Azerbaijan chaired the Council of Europe. These reports contain evaluations and appeals, there are the concerns expressed by the assembly that studies and investigations on publications relating to the Azerbaijani laundromat are necessary.

The report by the head of the conservative group Ian Liddell-Grainger is on a very important issue in the context of GRECO’s recommendations. In particular, we must discuss the following: what should be done and how should we deal with the reports the authors of which have been involved in corruption schemes, and their attitude was in that context?