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Armenian Government Plans To Set Up Interior Ministry


Armenia -- Riot police guard a court building in Yerevan during the trial of former President Robert Kocharian and three other former officials, May 13, 2020.

The Armenian government is planning to create a ministry of interior as part of a major structural reform of the national police service, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian announced on Monday.

Armenia had an interior ministry until former President Robert Kocharian abolished it and turned the police into a separate structure subordinate to him two decades ago. The police became accountable to the prime minister after Kocharian’s successor, Serzh Sarkisian, engineered the country’s transition to a parliamentary system of government.

The Armenian Ministry of Justice recommended the re-establishment of the ministry headed by a full-fledged cabinet member in a three-year strategy of police reforms proposed to the government a year ago.

Pashinian signaled his approval of the idea during a meeting with senior government and law-enforcement officials held on Monday.

“A process of forming the Ministry of Internal Affairs soon is on our agenda,” he said, adding that it will be part of “very important” reforms of the Armenian police.

A government statement on the meeting said Pashinian discussed with the officials a “preliminary model of the structure” of the ministry as well as the ongoing creation of a new police unit tasked with road policing, crowd control and street patrol. The statement gave no details of the proposed structure.

Pashinian faced opposition calls to turn the police as well as the National Security Service (NSS) into ministries accountable to the parliament after he swept to power in May 2018. He opposed such a change until recently.

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