By Karine Kalantarian
Armenia’s first ombudsman Larisa Alaverdian is likely to refuse to take the opportunity to make a speech in parliament offered to her by deputies as she considers it ‘inexpedient at the moment’.
In an RFE/RL interview on Friday the ex-ombudsman said she still has to make a final decision in that regard.
The National Assembly is due to hear the report by the new Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian during its next four-day session.
Earlier, in February, the parliament deputies decided to allow Alaverdian to make a speech during the publication of the summary report for 2005, the year when she was in the office.
Under Armenia’s law the Ombudsman is to present an annual report on his or her activities to the country’s president, parliament, executive and judicial authorities within the first quarter of the year.
Harutiunian, who succeeded the first ombudsman in the office only this year, suggested that the parliament enable Alaverdian to present the human rights situation in the country and her activities in 2005, as well as her evaluations of the causes of violations of people’s rights.
For his part, Harutiunian wants to brief the legislature on the trends and statistics of complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s Office in 2005 and “his vision of the main directions of his future work.”
In a concise report now circulating in the parliament Harutiunian identifies concrete spheres that the bulk of citizens’ complaints concerns.
Thus, according to the report, a lion’s share of citizens’ discontent in 2005 was with police, social security bodies, courts, local government bodies and the municipality. Most of the complaints were filed by Yerevan residents.
The report indicates that Harutiunian positively evaluates the first year of work of the Ombudsman’s institution in Armenia.
Meanwhile, Armenia Helsinki Committee President Avetik Ishkhanian calls it a nonsense that the Ombudsman who occupied the post in 2005 is not allowed to make an official presentation of the human rights situation in Armenia.
“What happened in the Armenian parliament when the first Ombudsman was in fact deprived of the opportunity to make the report once again shows the personal attitude towards Larisa Alaverdian,” he told RFE/RL.
Earlier this month Alaverdian promised to present her report to the public at large in the near future, but this presentation will not be official.
Ishkhanian sees a danger of what he calls a legal chaos in consequence of this situation.
He also backs Alaverdian’s decision not to use the opportunity to make a speech in parliament. “I think she did right to refuse, because legally it will not be presented as the Ombudsman’s report,” he concluded.