President Serzh Sarkisian’s plans to set up a new and powerful law-enforcement agency have nothing to do with Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Customs Union, a senior official insisted on Wednesday.
Sarkisian revealed those plans in late September, setting up an ad hoc commission tasked with drafting a package of corresponding amendments to Armenian laws. The new agency will incorporate divisions of Armenia’s police, Defense Ministry and State Revenue Committee (SRC) specializing in the conduct of criminal investigations.
The presidential press office said at the time this structural change is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of inquiries into various crimes and the independence of officers conducting them. Observers have since speculated that Sarkisian is replicating a similar structure existing in Russia in line with his plans to make Armenia part of the Russian-led customs and Eurasian unions.
Aghvan Hovsepian, Armenia’s former longtime prosecutor-general heading the presidential commission, denied this. “It’s not that we decided all of a sudden today or yesterday to set up an independent investigative body,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “There were such concerns six or seven years ago.”
The Armenian media has also been rife with speculation that Hovsepian, who resigned as chief prosecutor earlier in September, will be named to run the new security body after its formation. The once powerful official did not rule out such possibility.
“For now I am tasked with managing the work of the commission and arranging the legal side of that structure. We will work and see later on,” Hovsepian said. He added that the legislative package developed by his commission is “almost ready” and has been submitted to the presidential administration for consideration.