Wednesday, 26 September

Let’s Install Cash Registers in Armenia's Courts...

Legalizing the concept of “justice to the highest bidder”

Recently, Aram Abrahamyan, Chief Editor of the daily newspaper Aravot, made a shocking revelation on the airwaves of Radio Liberty. Mr. Abrahamyan alleged that the Justice Council was accepting bribes of $200,000 to appoint people as judges.

I had heard that if someone wanted to become a member of parliament, they needed to fork over $200,000, $500,000, or even up to $1 million. Part of the payment would be made in the form of financing some project or other – improving inter-village roads, rural gasification, school renovation, food allotments, etc. But it was the first time I heard that the price to get a cushy judgeship was $200,000. I don’t know what the reaction has been to Abrahamyan’s statement; probably not a one. In such cases, it’s the job of the General Prosecutor’s Office to step in and take a look at the Justice Council, even though, given that it’s a matter of national security, jurisdiction should go to the National Security Service. If this allegation is true, we can conclude that there hasn’t been one court decision handed down in Armenia that hasn’t come without a price; with money changing hands. Thus, I would suggest, that we immediately “legalize” the process that now exists. Here’s what I mean. People would go to court, pay a certain amount, and receive an appropriate verdict in return. It has a certain ring to it – paid justice. The Prime Minister will immediately go on TV with a new brainstorm; installing cash registers in the courts. Each sitting judge will have a cash register to properly record each and every judicial transaction. Tons of new money will start to pour in to the state coffers. However, since the “free market” reigns in Armenia, the Prime Minister will insist that verdicts be handed down by way of auction; to the highest bidder. The party willing to pay more will walk away with the desired verdict. I would think the judges would welcome such a set-up. During the auction, they could actually wield those gavels with some real effect. Think of it – transparent justice in Armenia. We’d once again lead the world with our innovation. We’d invite the folks from the Guinness Book of World Records to check out our innovation. The name of Armenia will again be published…Right up there next to the world’s longest cable car and the largest chocolate bar.

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