The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal submitted by Armenian PM’s representative: Pashinyan to publicly apology to Khachatryans for the statement defaming their honour and dignity as well as refute the defamatory information
The Civil Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia dismissed the appeal submitted by RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyhan’s representative. The court decision under the case “Khachatryans vs Nikol Pashinyan” (informal name) promulgated the day before established the targeting and existence of insult and defamation mediated by RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, lack of factual grounds for making statements, not being conditioned by overriding public interest. It should be mentioned that by its decision dated 25.01.2021 Yerevan Court obliged Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan to make a public apology to the former Minister of Finance Gagik Khachatryan and his sons Gurgen Khachatryan and Artyom Khachatryan, for an insulting expression and publicly refute the defamatory information.
By its decision dated 07.06.2021 the Court of Appeal established (direct quotation): “Through his mediated speech (through the publication by the RA Prime Minister’s spokesperson) RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan linked the names of Gagik Khachatryan, Gurgen Khachatryan and Artyom Khachatryan to the term “mafia-like” system, however, it was not based on any factual ground. Particularly, the Khachatryans had no relations whatsoever to any criminal case that is directly related to forming or managing a criminal organisation or participating in a criminal organisation prescribed by the RA Criminal Code. And according to the Court of Appeal incrimination of the action prescribed by Article 179 (3)(1) of the RA Criminal Code to Gagik Khachatryan is not sufficient basis to make public statements that he and his sons are managing corrupt, mafia-like system. Moreover, the civil case materials lack any information or factual data on a number of episodes quoted by the publication, particularly on any proceedings regarding corrupt stake in Ucom company”.
The Court of Appeal also established (direct quotation) that: “The Court of Appeal establishes that Gagik Khachatryan, Gurgen Khachatryan and Artyom Khachatryan were not related to such criminal case that would have objectively provided a ground to argue that “they managed a mafia-like system in the Republic of Armenia, accumulated illegal wealth worth several hundred million dollars while managing that system”. Moreover, the statement was made in the context of such social and political realities, when there was a wide public discussion about the mentioned term and the people associated with them and the statements with such content could have been directly aimed at creating a negative perception of the mentioned persons.”
The Court concluded that unverified media publications could not have served as basis for statements with such content to be made at the level of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, also, taking into consideration the fact that having the broadest powers and disposing numerous resources the latter could have verified any information and avoided misinformation. Thus, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal submitted by RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s representative.
Let us remind, that in April 2020 a corporate sabotage began in Ucom telecommunications and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ucom Gurgen Khachatryan announced that the high-ranking officials of the country directly or indirectly demanded him to alienate Ucom for an unprofitable offer accompanied by public pressure. In that stage the obvious pressures by the RA officials were accompanied, inter alia, by the publication of the RA Prime Minister’s spokesperson that was recognised in 2021 by the Court as defamation of honour, dignity, business reputation, dissemination of misinformation.