August 15, 2023
Statement by Hovsep Khurshudyan, National Facilitator for Armenia of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Regarding the Arbitrariness of a Group of Platform Organizations and the Illegal self-proclamation of the new facilitator

August 16, 2023, c. Yerevan

On August 15, Ashot Melikyan, a member of the PAC, distributed the protocol of the “Delegates’ meeting” convened on August 14, with gross violation of the Armenian National Platform Charter, according to which Gayane Abrahamyan was allegedly elected as the new facilitator of the ANP.

In prior of this illegal event, the ANP Secretariat Council made a Statement on August 13, in which it called on the ANP members and delegates “not to participate in the illegal process that will take place on August 14, because the EaP CSF ANP has an existing facilitator, so holding of “Meeting of delegates” with the agenda of election of the ANP facilitator is illegitimate and a manifestation of arbitrariness, and any decision made at the meeting has no legal force.

In its Statement, ANP Secretariat Council reminded that the « decision of the June 23 meeting of delegates» on the expression of no confidence in ANP facilitator Hovsep Khurshudyan and the termination of his powers has no legal force, as the proposal to terminate the powers of Hovsep Khurshudyan was already discussed, voted and not accepted at the meeting of delegates on June 9, 2023.

The issue of expressing no confidence in the ANP facilitator could not be voted on a second time at the June 23 meeting of delegates without the permission or authorization of the ANP supreme body, which is the General Assembly of Armenian Members of the Civil Society Forum (the ANP Assembly). While this year by its decision, the ANP Assembly held on June 23 did not authorize the ANP Delegates’ Meeting to re-vote the decision at the June 9 Delegates’ Meeting, which rejected the termination of the ANP facilitator’s powers.

Besides, the indicated ” June 23 Meeting of Delegates” is illegal without reservations, also on the grounds that the 18 delegates were notified about the Meeting of delegates scheduled for June 23, its place and time, and that place was 8th-floor hall of the Trade Union Confederation, and the time was 4:30 p.m., while there was no Meeting of the delegates took place at the specified time, because the 10 delegates left the specified place and gathered in another place, without informing the other 8 delegates about either new place of the meeting or new time, which is in violation of the ANP statute, and, in general, it is a gross violation of ensuring transparency and inclusiveness during decision-making process. As evidence, the ANP Secretariat presented the relevant recording.

In addition to the above: on June 22, the Co-Chairs of the EaP CSF Steering Committee and the director of the EaP CSF Secretariat informed about their position «to ensure the credibility of the process and allow a comprehensive and objective approach to identify a solution, it would be wise to refrain from running activities/meetings that have statutory and/or decision making implications», which I, as ANP facilitator FTA, informed about to the members and delegates of the ANP conference held on June 23. Moreover, they expressed their opinion in writing, in the form of a letter, so the claim by Mikayel Hovhannisyan, recorded in the “protocol” distributed by Ashot Melikyan, that “in a conversation with him, the representatives of the Brussels EaP CSF Secretariat clearly clarified that the admonition was addressed to Hovsep Khurshudyan and referred to the statutory amendments” cannot be credible and needs additional clarification by the director of the EaP CSF Secretariat.

In any case, as the facilitator of the Armenian National Platform, I share the position of the ANP Secretariat Council and consider the meeting of delegates with the agenda of the election of the ANP facilitator illegitimate and a manifestation of arbitrariness, and any decision made at the meeting – having no legal force.

This process, which is unacceptable from the perspective of the democratic values professed by the civil society of Armenia, is nothing more than political persecution, which started back on May 25 this year, from an unexpectedly organized but failed attack against me, resembling an external order. The purpose of that pursuit is to neutralize my active efforts in the civic field of Armenia in the direction of promoting the European integration agenda, the consolidation of civil and political forces around that agenda, as well as the ratification of the Rome Statute. This was confirmed not only by the facts given in my Clarifications in response to the Petition of 14 organizations but also by the statement of one of the 10 delegates, who use to work in the staff of the RA President during the previous government, at the Conference on June 23, that they were not joining the statements I initiated because of their “anti-Russian nature”. In general, all the accusations mentioned in the Petition of 14 organizations were either simple lies and slander, or manipulation, which I’ve thoroughly disproved in my Clarifications.

Since this year Since June 23, ANP has had an Ethics Council. On the basis of defamatory accusations published against me on May 25 – the illegal process that harms my and the Armenian National Platform’s reputation – continues even after June 23. I am going to apply with a request to the ANP Ethics Council to hold accountable those ANP members who signed the above-mentioned Petition. I will submit a separate application to the Ethics Council against YSU vice-rector Mikayel Hovhannisyan, who represents the Eurasia Cooperation Foundation in the ANP, for the activities aimed at dividing the ANP and paralyzing its normal activities, as well as in his eligibility to be an ANP member, being vice-rector of the YSU, which is a foundation with more than 50 percent state participation. Let me remind you that this year the meeting of the CEPA/EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform held on June 19 decided by a qualified majority to terminate the membership of Platform member Mikael Hovhannisyan on the grounds of incompatibility and the risk of causing significant damage to the Platform’s reputation. I will submit one more application to the ANP Ethics Commission, regarding the issue of holding Gayane Abrahamyan accountable for the slanderous accusations against me, which she publicly expressed at the ANP Assembly on May 25 and wrote in the ANP mail group on July 18.

Hovsep Khurshudyan,

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum’s National Facilitator for Armenia