Tag Archives: law

Armenian MPs vote to allowing sacking of judges

JUNE 22 (The Bulletin) — Armenia’s parliament voted to approve changes to the country’s constitution that will allow PM Nikol Pashinyan to fire judges he considers to be irritating, a move that his detractors have said is politically motivated. Armenia had been due to hold a referendum on the constitutional changes in April but a coronavirus lockdown forced its cancellation. Mr Pashinyan wants to fire three judges appointed to the Constitutional Court before a referendum in 2018 propelled him to power. >> See page 2 for comment

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, published on June 23 2020

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Armenian courts refuse to sanction arrest of opposition leader

YEREVAN/JUNE 21 (The Bulletin) — In a blow to the authority of Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan, a court in the Armenian capital turned down a request from the Prosecutor-General’s office to arrest opposition leader Gagik Tsarukyan for alleged corruption.

Prosecutors charged Mr Tsarukyan, leader of the Prosperous Armenia party and a well-known businessman, last week. Within a couple of days of the charge, Parliament had stripped Mr Tsarukyan of his immunity from prosecution, setting up his arrest.

But judges in Armenia have resisted PM Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of a 2018 revolution that overthrew the Republican Party from power. Many judges, appointed during the Republican Party’s period in office, have said that he has overstepped his authority.

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin on June 23 2020

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Top Armenian judge sues Pashinyan for defamation

FEB. 27 2020 (The Bulletin) — One of the most senior judges in Armenia, Hrayr Tovmasyan, who is head of the Constitutional Court, said that he had filed a defamation lawsuit against Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan. The lawsuit is just the latest twist in the fight between the Constitutional Court judges and Mr Pashinyan. He has accused them of undermining reforms that a revolution in 2018 swept in and has ordered them to resign, which they have refused. A referendum in April will potentially give Mr Pashinyan the power to sack the judges.
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— This story was first published in issue 438 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

British fugitive hands himself in to Georgian police

JAN. 23 (The Conway Bulletin) — A British man who fled to Georgia from a manslaughter trial in London in May 2018 handed himself in to Georgian police. Jack Shepherd, 31, was convicted in absentia of the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown when his speedboat capsized on the River Thames during a date in 2015. It took British police several months to track Shepherd down to Georgia where he had been living openly, going on dates and drinking in Tbilisi’s bars and nightclubs.
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>This story was first published in issue 398 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 31 2019
Copyright The Conway Bulletin 2019

Georgian investor groups complain about Supreme Court nominations

TBILISI/Jan. 25 (The Conway Bulletin) — Investor business groups in Georgia described the perception of Georgia’s legal system as “extremely negative” in a letter to PM Mamuka Bakhtadze as a row over nominations for judges to the Supreme Court intensifies.

Georgian civic groups have also complained about the nominations of 10 judges to the Supreme Court in December by the High Court of Judges.

In the letter, the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, the Business Association of Georgia, the EU Georgian Business Council and the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia said the nominees have made “questionable decisions” in previous cases.

“The selection of Supreme Court judicial nominees, without a fair, transparent and predictable process reinforces the extremely negative perception of the Georgian judiciary and court system that is held by many observers,” the letter said.

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>This story was first published in issue 398 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 31 2019
Copyright The Conway Bulletin 2019

Russia extradites fugitive Kazakh businessman

MOSCOW+ALMATY/JAN. 11 (The Conway Bulletin) — — A court in Moscow approved the extradition of Kazakh businessman Zhomart Ertaev to Kazakhstan where he is wanted on charges of defrauding Bank RBK of $160m.

Mr Ertaev, who denies the allegations, had tried to claim asylum in Russia because he said that he would not receive a fair trial in Kazakhstan. Special forces police detained him in May in a high-profile swoop on his motorcade outside the Moskva-Citi business centre.

The extradition of Mr Ertaev highlights increased cooperation between the Russian and the Kazakh law enforcement agencies in tracking down and extraditing businessmen wanted for various frauds. It also represents a change of heart by Russian officials who, in October had declined to extradite him.

Previously, Moscow had been viewed by wealthy Kazakhs fleeing from Kazakhstan as a useful stage post. Mukhtar Ablyazov, Kazakhstan’s most high-profile fugitive and President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s number one enemy fled to London via Moscow in 2008/9.

Mr Ertaev’s had left Kazakhstan in around 2009 after being released from detention. He had been tried for defrauding Alliance Bank, where he was the chairman in 2002-7, but was released because the judge said there wasn’t enough evidence against him.

Since then he appears to have lived for at least part of the time in Moscow where he became a director at Alma-TV and also chairman of Troyka-D Bank.

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>>This story was first published in issue 397 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 20 2019

Trial of former Uzbek Prosecutor begins

JAN. 7 (The Conway Bulletin) — In a secret courtroom in Tashkent the trial has begun of the once-feared Uzbek Prosecutor-General Rashidjon Qodirov, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported by quoting sources. Mr Rashidjon is accused of corruption and abuse of power. He was arrested in February 2018 during the tail-end of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s purge of the most hated of former president Islam Karimov’s top officials.
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>>This story was first published in issue 396 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 11 2019

Former Kyrgyz customs chief extradited from Azerbaijan

DEC. 28 (The Conway Bulletin) — Azerbaijani authorities extradited Adamkul Junusov, Kyrgyzstan’s former customs chief, to Bishkek where he has been charged with corruption and abuse of power. Mr Junusov, who was customs chief from 2013-16, was detained in Baku on Dec. 5. He is just the latest former high-ranking official under ex Kyrgyz president Almazbek Atambayev to be arrested and charged with corruption. Kyrgyz officials accuse him of stealing $2.1m.
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>>This story was first published in issue 396 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 11 2019

Alcohol ban imposed in Turkmenistan

JAN. 1 (The Conway Bulletin) — Turkmenistan imposed strict new alcohol laws on Jan. 1 that will outlaw alcoholic drinks on public transport and in sports centres. The sale of alcohol will also be banned altogether on national holidays. One characteristic of Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s tenure as Turkmen president has been his emphasis on health edicts. He wants to ban smoking by 2025 and from 2021 restaurants and bars will be banned from selling alcohol at the weekend.
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>>This story was first published in issue 396 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 11 2019

Kazakhstan to start chemical castrations

SEPT. 24 (The Conway Bulletin) – Kazakhstan’s ministry of health said that it would start chemically castrating men convicted of paedophilia in accordance with a law passed earlier this year. Other countries that already chemically castrate paedophiles include Indonesia, Poland, South Korea and some states in the US. Media quoted Lyazat Aktayeva, the deputy health minister, as saying that up to 2,000 chemical castrations could be carried out.
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>>This story was published in issue 387 of The Conway Bulletin on Oct. 1 2018