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New Chief Prosecutor Denies Staff Purges


Armenia - Newly appointed Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian addresses parliament, Yerevan, 1Oct2013.

Armenia - Newly appointed Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian addresses parliament, Yerevan, 1Oct2013.

Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian has downplayed major personnel changes in his law-enforcement agency that followed his appointment approved by the Armenian parliament on October 1.

More than a dozen senior officials in Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General, among them two deputy prosecutor-generals, have been relieved of their duties since then. This has fuelled media speculation about a massive staff purge initiated by Kostanian.

Kostanian’s office issued a statement late on Thursday to deny such claims. It claimed that the 35-year-old chief prosecutor did not sack of any his subordinates. “All of the retired officials were relieved of their duties at their own request,” it said.

The statement also insisted that competence, professionalism and personal integrity are Kostanian’s key requirements to Armenian prosecutors. “Any person who is honest and hard-working will continue performing their duties without any obstacles, while an individual not corresponding to these principles will be dismissed,” it added.

Armenian prosecutors have long been accused by the media, civic groups and opposition parties of engaging in corrupt practices, abusing human rights and jailing government critics for political reasons. Kostanian’s controversial predecessor, Aghvan Hovsepian, has always denied that.
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