Court Sustains Hetq's Freedom of Information Case Against Environmental Ministry

Armenia’s Administrative Court today sustained a freedom of information case presented by Hetq (Investigative Journalists) obligating the Ministry of Nature Protection to provide  copies of export, sale or transport permits of rare animals as regulated by the CITES  for the period 2010-2013.

Hetq sought the copies for an investigative series it was working on entitled “Dangerous Monkey Business: Armenia’s Links to the Illegal Trafficking of Endangered Species.”

The ministry initially refused Hetq's request, arguing that such documents contained ‘secretive material’. It merely provided a list of animals imported to and exported from Armenia.

After this initial refusal by the ministry to provide the copies of the permits, Hetq suggested that any ‘secretive details’ be blacked out. The ministry again refused and sent the same list.

The Administrative Court also sustained the IJ’s demand to be compensated for the 49,000 AMD it had incurred in legal fees.