Интервью директора адвокатской конторы "Сигма Ло Груп" Рафика Григоряна данное журналу iravaban.net

“I accepted the offer to hold the post of Deputy Minister, as there was a desire to participate in the governance of the state, to serve the strengthening of the state,” Rafik Grigoryan, lawyer and Candidate of Juridical Sciences (PhD), in an interview within the framework of “Legal Scholars” series said.

– Mr. Grigoryan, during your tenure as Deputy Minister of Justice, you coordinated the implementation of the judicial reform strategy program. After 2018, there is constant talk about the independence of the courts. What changes have been made during your tenure?

– When I received the offer to hold the post of Deputy Minister in July 2019, I accepted it, the judicial reforms were being worked out. There was already work done. There were rather short deadlines for developing the strategy. Its purpose was to create tools to eliminate the negative phenomena rooted in the courts.
The strategy addresses the elimination of corruption in the courts, the increase of the efficiency of justice, and the professionalism of judges. In case of implementation of all actions, it will give an effect, the result of which everyone will feel. The ideas, the vision, which was put in the strategy, should have been shared by all the users, but in practice it did not happen. The implementers either delayed or did not use it properly, or it is still in progress.

– Is it about the judicial system or the representatives of the executive body?

– In this case, the executive has little to do. For example, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC) was given the tool to initiate disciplinary proceedings against judges and to conduct property inspections. During my tenure no proceedings were initiated, if I am not mistaken, there are still no proceedings. People complain about the bribery of the courts and judges, an instrument was given to the CPC, which was formed independently, with the participation of all parliamentary forces, and then the question arises, what prevents the property inspection? This is one component.
While I was still working in the ministry, the Minister of Justice initiated a number of lawsuits against judges, and quite serious violations were committed. If we look at the results, the authority of 2 judges has been terminated. It cannot be said that the powers of judges should be terminated in all cases. There are other means of responsibility, but I am not satisfied with the results. The whole strategy will work in case all its links perceive it in the same way and contribute to the realization of the vision set in it.

– You mentioned about the work of the CPC․ Did the establishment of the commission justify itself?

– It is an independent body, there are no crosscuttings with the executive or there are very few. But my impression is that the result is delayed. It cannot be said that it was not justify. That body has quite big powers. It has been provided with tools that nobody has. There are guarantees of institutional independence, in the presence of which the commission can act independently, but in my opinion, the results are delayed.

– You have been relieved of the post of Deputy Minister according to your application. Can you name the reason?

– Before answering the question, I must say why I accepted the offer to hold the post of Deputy Minister. The motive was the desire to participate in the government of the state, to serve the strengthening of the state.
I wrote an application for dismissal because I thought that in post-war Armenia the state should have chosen another way of change and development. In those conditions, I considered my service inexpedient. I want to emphasize that I have not had any personal disagreements with the Minister, the staff of the Ministry, the warm relations with them are still maintained today.

– In other words, were your expectations not met?

– No, you can’t say that. My expectations depended on the work of my team around me. I say with confidence that the team around me, the minister, and the deputies, we all had the same idea. It can be said that I have invested my maximum, the expectations for my work have been fulfilled.

– You left the post of Deputy Minister, you decided to establish your law office, “Sigma Law Group”. What does the company do?

– I had experience in practicing law when I was still in my fourth year of study. I have always considered myself a person in the private sector, I have previously received offers to move to the state system, but I have rejected them. After holding the position of Deputy Minister, I returned to the private sector and founded “Sigma Law Group”. The Law Office will carry out active work in the field of both private and public law, aiming to contribute to the improvement of the state-legal system of Armenia, the development of legal regulations of the economy. “Sigma Law Group” provides services in the field of corporate law, banking and insurance, we also protect the interests of individuals in court in administrative, civil and bankruptcy cases. The office is expanding day by day; in addition to private activities, I plan to turn it into a platform for conducting legal analysis of socio-political issues and presenting it to the public. I have resumed my scientific activity, I will publish scientific articles soon.

– Why did you decide to participate in the elections to a member of the Board of the Chamber of Advocates?

– I thought that my presence among the Board members could contribute to the development of the advocate’s community, but the results were different. I am still a new person in the field of advocacy, and I recently received a license. It is possible that there was a certain issue of recognition among the lawyers, but there were also issues of regulation. Other candidates for board member participated in the elections as a team. They openly worked for each other. It is not forbidden by the rules of election. It can be said that there was a “group” that participated in the elections, there were independent candidates. I cannot say that the struggle was fair.
If you go to the election, so to speak, in a group, and the other candidates go to the election separately, then there is an objective problem of equality of forces. In any case, I have been guided by my principles when participating in the elections, I have not violated the rules of fair struggle, and I am sure that this “mechanism” used in several elections should be abolished, at least for the next election.

Interview by Yevgenya Hambardzumyan
Photo by Marat Sirunyan