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President attends gala event on Special Investigation Service 10th anniversary

28.11.2017

Today, President Serzh Sargsyan attended a gala event dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Special Investigation Service (SIS), chaired by Vahram Shahinyan. In his speech, Vahram Shahinyan summed up the ten-year-long efforts toward establishing and developing the structure, the most significant achievements and existing problems. He touched upon the work done to improve the quality and efficiency of investigation, the cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and bodies entrusted with procedural functions, as well as issues related to human resource management and structural changes.

Extending his congratulations on the anniversary, the President wished the SIS staff successful activities and good service. In his speech, in addition to addressing the background history of the Service, President Sargsyan spoke about the new challenges facing the Service amid the country’s transition to the new system of public administration after the constitutional amendments. The Head of State emphasized that one of the main objectives of the constitutional reform was to guarantee the rule of law and the constitutional order, and that the Service has a special mission to implement in this respect.

At the jubilee session, Serzh Sargsyan encouraged one of the officers for contribution to the strengthening of law and order, noting that there are many others who deserve an incentive for dedicated service and great responsibility, and whose work will be appreciated over time.
 

Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan, delivered at ceremonious meeting on Special Investigation Service 10th anniversary

Dear Special Investigation Service officers,

I sincerely congratulate you all on the 10th anniversary of the Special Investigation Service. Today, we can state with satisfaction that the efforts we have made over the past few years have yielded positive results, and this important component of the law enforcement system of the Republic of Armenia has already been constituted. Over the past years, the Special Investigation Service has succeeded not only in the system of state bodies, but it also managed to invest its own effort in bringing a new breath to law enforcement activities.

Dear Colleagues,

Our state is on the way to new governance system, which is promising, but also responsible and complicated. I have talked about it on different occasions, noting that we still have much to do.

I want to emphasize once again that we will probably have much more to do than it can be seen today. Taking into account the nature of the functions of the Special Investigation Service, you will have a unique role to fulfill.

I am sure you realize that there is only one way to become a safe and competitive state, namely to constantly develop our democratic achievements. One of the main goals of the constitutional reform, initiated by my decree over four years ago was the need to guarantee the rule of law.

You may agree that this principle is one of the main guarantees for having developed democracy. Under this principle, the idea of universal equality before the law will be materialized. This has to be clearly realized by everyone, and especially by high-ranking officials. They should always act on the assumption that their social status, position or calling are not an advantage but, a responsibility above all.

It is here that the role of the Special Investigative Service is crucial. If I say more figuratively, then you also have a special mission to implement concerning this constitutional requirement. The more successful you are in ensuring equality of all before the law, the more victorious the judiciary will be in our country.

The level of justice is often measured and evaluated in comparison. The ordinary citizen, at least, does so. If a person sees that an abuse is given adequate response, he understands that the state agencies are in their right place. And when they see that such phenomena are incomplete or are manifested through differentiated approaches, they immediately record the fact of injustice.

It is quite logical. It is hardly possible to speak about justice when inequalities are set between equals in practice.

At the same time, it is necessary to note that justice is also evaluated from a different point of view. Officials should be convinced that if charged with an accusation, they may restore their reputation owing to objective investigation.

In my conviction, any form of injustice is a serious illness. It is like a cancer: it does not automatically cure without an intervention; moreover, it expands on and on. Indifference or inadequacy of inequity redoubles such manifestations.

We must be convinced that any of you, regardless of your experience, position or title, understands that one of the key pioneers in a new stage of the war against injustice is the Special Investigation Service. Over the past ten years of good work, you have instilled the belief that you are able to bear this burden of honor.

Dear investigators,

Different criminal cases come before you - from corruption to electoral frauds. By virtue of the powers granted by law, you deal with the alleged offenses attributed to senior executives of legislative, executive and judicial authorities. You also deal with the acts of special services, including the acts of law enforcement officials. At the same time, if there are specific grounds set out in the law, you may face public affairs or exceptional cases, for which a comprehensive and impartial investigation must be guaranteed.

In other words, you are supposed to examine cases that are of crucial importance to the state and society. It is a mission that requires a great resource of principle and honesty. This speaks of both the high trust and great expectations of your service.

There is no doubt that professionalism is your main point of reference in assessing the evidence and asserting facts. As representatives of an independent authority, you should not be constrained by the names of or the positions held by those who go through the proceedings. You should not get encumbered, even if your partners are among them. It should be equally important to everyone, from government officials to every member of society.

We can speak about the significant achievements of the Special Investigative Service only when society can acknowledge that “high public position is not a guarantee of immunity.”

The fight against corruption is a national security issue for which we have no alternative. One of our primary goals is to counteract this phenomenon effectively and record tangible progress in it.

Statistics indicate that almost half of your cases are related to corruption and offenses of official nature. Therefore, your steps to counteract such phenomena should be proportionate to their nature and prevalence. The fight against corruption should be much tougher, deeper and get a timely response. And in that connection, we expect your service to be diligent.
One of the key components of your activity is the investigation and disclosure of torture cases. Our legislation, including the Constitution, are not too much verbose about the inadmissibility of torture or other unlawful manifestations against human rights and fundamental freedoms. However, this does not mean that the fight against such phenomena is less valuable, or should be driven to the background. I am convinced that this is just the case when the narrow content emphasizes the need for zero tolerance against negative phenomenon.

In the 21st century, torture can be talked about with surprise and antipathy. However, it is a pity that it is commonplace and occurs in different parts of the globe. It is more regrettable for me when such incidences are recorded in Armenia.

The number of torture cases you have investigated has dropped by 2017 as compared with the last year’s index. But this fact itself can not be encouraging for us. Torture is often latent, which obliges us to develop and apply new effective methods to detect them.

I believe that the study of international best practice and its practical implementation will help us make significant achievements in this area and minimize the existing risks.

Dear investigators,

Naturally, I can not help speaking about your authority to investigate election-related criminal cases. The latest general election in our country showed that we can organize democratic processes in the most proper manner. It is noteworthy that in this process we have been able to adequately react to any allegations of alleged offenses.

I consider that the work of the Special Investigative Service was effective in this regard. You have shown that you are ready and capable of responding to every concern of individuals and civil society representatives in time. Not only did you react, but you also brought to legal and logical completion the criminal cases under consideration.

Nevertheless, we should not be content with this achievement. The authorities are seeking to develop the democratic mechanisms of electoral processes and reduce all possible risks of electoral frauds. Here, the Special Investigative Service should also have a substantial share of participation.

Three years ago, at the opening of this renovated new administrative building, I highly appreciated the activities of the Special Investigative Service. I especially emphasized your public and transparent work style combined with the initiative.

During all this time, my opinion has not changed because the Service continues to work in the same spirit. I think it is noticeable both for the public and your colleagues. I want to be sure that in the years to come, you will add momentum to your effort; you will be able to boast new achievements in the face of emerging challenges.

I think it is needles to speak about the inadmissibility of any manifestation of corruption in your activities, or the need to recruit honest and competent staff. I have already dwelt in my main approaches to these issues during meetings held with other law enforcement agencies. Obviously, the same is true for you, and requirements may sometimes be even more stringent as regards your responsibilities.

In the near future, we expect regular and substantiated progress reports on your activities. You have all the necessary opportunities for it. I mean that you have enough tools and professional qualities as far as the legislation is concerned. Needless to stress that you can always expect my support, if needed
I once again warmly congratulate all the employees of the Special Investigation Service on this jubilee. I wish you productive work and good service.

Thank you.

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