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In Democratic Society Significant Importance is Attached to Right to Information Freedom, as well as to Interest of Justice and Balanced Protection of Rights of Participants of Proceeding

19.09.2018 15:38

Preliminary investigation of the criminal case initiated on violating the secrecy of telephone conversation between the Director of RA National Security Service Artur Vanetsyan and the Chief of RA Special Investigatory Service Sasun Khachatryan that is recording and disseminating the telephone conversation is ongoing in the proceeding of General Department of Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the RA Investigative Committee.

An investigatory group has been formed and joint necessary measures are taken together with operative-intelligence bodies to find out all circumstances of the case – the way of wiretapping and disseminating the telephone conversation between the leaders of the two law enforcement bodies, the frame of those having committed the alleged crime.

As it was already informed, on the base of actual data obtained through the criminal case the investigative body submitted motions to court, as prescribed by law, to get permission to conduct searches at 6 different addresses, including the editorial office of «Yerevan.today» informative platform. The motions were sufficed and based on the relevant decisions of the court the investigatory-operative group conducted the planned searches about which various comments were made in the press.

Taking public interest into consideration it is once again stated that the search prescribed by law conducted in the editorial office did not and does not in any way relate to journalistic activities. It is solely directed to provide the comprehensive, objective and complete investigation of the criminal case.

The Article 42 of the RA Constitution guarantees the right to freely express his or her opinion which includes the freedom to hold own opinion, as well as to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas through any media, without the interference of state or local self-government bodies and regardless of state frontiers, as well as the freedom of press, radio, television and other means of information.

The Investigative Committee respects the freedom of the media, attaches importance to maintenance of mechanisms necessary to provide its realization. The Investigative Committee has never hindered and does not hinder with its activities the media to disseminate any information. In these conditions it is at least strange to consider the procedural and investigatory action conducted as prescribed by law as an attempt to «make the media keep silence”. This has not any connection with reality.

The right to freedom and secrecy of correspondence, telephone conversations and other means of communication is fixed by the Article 33 of RA Constitution.

On September 11, 2018 the recording of telephone conversation between the Director of RA National Security Service Artur Vanetsyan and the Chief of RA Special Investigatory Service Sasun Khachatryan was widely spread on the internet. As it was found out it was done through violation of requirements envisaged by the current legislation of RA and criminal liability is envisaged for it.

A criminal case was initiated in the RA Prosecutor General's Office according to the Part 1 of the Article 146 and the Point 4 of the Part 3 of the Article 254 of RA Criminal Code preliminary investigation of which is conducted in General Department of Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the RA Investigative Committee.

The Article 178 of RA Constitution fixes that investigative bodies in the cases and under the procedure prescribed by law organize and implement the pretrial criminal proceedings. Acting within the functions envisaged by RA Constitution the investigative body conducts investigation to find out by whom and how the wiretapping of the telephone conversation of the leaders of the two law enforcement bodies has been done, by whom and how it has been disseminated, as well as a number of other circumstances significant for the criminal case.

The recording was inserted on «www.youtube.com» internet platform on September 5 which was widely spread in social networks and media some days later – on September 11. However, according to Google search system, on September 9 the mentioned recording was inserted on «Yerevan.today» informative platform then it was deleted a short while later which is under investigation.

During the search chief editor of «Yerevan.today» site declared that it had happened in the result of Google search system error which is also under investigation.

The investigative body is obliged to take measures to verify any information significant for disclosure of crime. Therefore, the circumstance that according to Google search system the video had been inserted in «Yerevan.today» site two days before has to be verified within the criminal case through relevant procedural actions.

For this purpose, in the result of the search, out of numerous computers available in the editorial office only the computer through which the mentioned material had been inserted in the site was confiscated. Three more memory drives were also confiscated and forensic computer technical examination was commissioned. The results of forensic examination will be published, if necessary, if the secret protected by law or other people's rights are not violated and the editorial does not object to it.

We think that the editor of the site must also be interested in clarification of the mentioned circumstance as prescribed by law. Whereas he hurried to give not legal and unethical assessments to implementation of constitutional functions by the investigative body thus distorting actual circumstances.

Thus;

-       The search in editorial office of “Yerevan.today” was conducted by maintenance of requirements of RA Criminal Procedure Code – based on the court’s decision and not on the base of the information disseminated on the internet, as the editor says.

-       Chief editor of the site S. Hakobyan and two advocates invited by the chief editor took part in the search.

-       The editor’s announcement that the actions of the investigative body are directed to hindrance to journalistic activities is unfounded and imaginary. As it was already mentioned, in the result of the search only one computer and three memory drives were confiscated for forensic examination. Conditioned with peculiarities of investigation of such crimes, according to methodology proposed by the criminal science the confiscation of the computer is necessity. At the moment of the search there were other computers in the editorial office, as well and after the procedural action had been finished the site went on with its activity. Moreover, the editorial was not banned to take the copies of necessary information from the memory drives to keep the journalistic activity uninterrupted.

In democratic society significant importance is attached to the role of media in seeking, receiving and disseminating information. But at the same time, we would like to inform that in democratic society significant importance is attached to interest of justice, protection of participants of proceeding, as well. Hence, we call on the media not to apply double approach and respect the balanced protection of constitutional rights.

 


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