“Golos Armenii” suggests that Archbishop Mesrop Mutafian, the spiritual leader of Turkey’s small Armenian community, may well take part in the next meeting of the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation commission, due in Istanbul. One of its Turkish members, Ilter Turkmen, said recently that senior Armenian clerics might join the work of the commission. The paper says Mutafian simply can not fail to attend the meeting to be held in Turkey. His participation will make the commission line-up even more impressive in the eyes of the outside world. “Everything will be done to create the impression that all Armenians are represented in the commission.” But for the paper, “these people represent only themselves.”
“Thirty to 40 percent of prisoners in Armenia are innocent,” a prominent Armenian lawyer, Ruben Rshtuni, tells “Azg.” Rshtuni, who is a member of the presidential commission on human rights, draws the following picture of a typical judicial process in Armenia. First, he says, police or prosecutors extract testimony from suspects by force. “Then the case goes to court where everybody knows each other. The judge is the prosecutor’s friend and has no wish to spoil the case made up by the prosecutor’s office,” Rshtuni claims. “In a country like Armenia where judicial mistakes are widespread the death penalty must be definitely abolished.”
“Zhamanak” reports that an Armenian government commission will soon release its report on the ArmenTel monopoly’s compliance with its investment commitments. If the commission finds that those commitments have not been met the company will be taken to an international court. Also, the ArmenTel management now seems to be ready to once again delay the introduction of a major tariff increase but says the move has to be approved by its parent company, Greece’s OTE.
“Golos Armenii,” citing Transport Minister Andranik Manukian, reports that ArmenTel will reduce its telephone and Internet tariffs starting from September.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes the head of the state pension fund, Frunze Musheghian, as saying that his agency will eliminate all pension arrears before the end of this year. The fund currently owes the pensioners a total of 2.1 billion drams ($3.8 million), down from 7.2 billion drams registered last September. Musheghian also says the government is currently considering raising the modest retirement benefits. But he makes it clear that the state still can not afford their sizable increase.
The chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs, Victor Dallakian, expresses skepticism about the success of the recently approved government plan to complete the re-vitalization of the earthquake zone in the country’s zone. The lawmaker, whose constituency is located in that area, argues in a “Golos Armenii” interview that the 79 billion-dram program is “risky” because the bulk of its budget, 59 billion drams, is just donor pledges. Dallakian is also unhappy with the fact that almost the whole of the Armenian government’s 20 billion-dram share will be directed at sectors other than construction.