On February 1, at the RA Court of Appeals the challenge of the Association of Investigative Journalists of Armenia was considered. As it has already been reported, on December 18, 2001, the court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan rejected the suit of the Association versus the Head of the State Customs Committee at the RA Government Armen Avetisian, demanding to oblige the Customs Committee to provide information on the exploitation of non-metallic mines (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, December 15-21, 2001). In particular, the query submitted by the Association to the Head of Customs Committee on October 9, 2001, contained three questions: which specific organizations engaged in exploitation of non-metallic mines export their production; what is the export volume for this production; what amount of customs duties has been paid starting from 1997 up to day? In the opinion of the plaintiff, the refusal of the customs officials to provide the information requested, allegedly, because it is an official secret, is illegitimate.
The representative of the respondent, the head of Legal Department of the Customs Committee Gevorg Nersesian, said during the session at the RA Court of Appeals, that the customs officials failed to answer the first two questions, as this body does not possess information of this kind. Gevorg Nersesian explained the absence of an answer to the third question by the fact that the journalists were interested in customs duties, whereas for this specific production custom fees are stipulated.
As a result, the Court of Appeals made a decision of partially satisfying the claim of the Association, obliging the Customs Committee to answer the third question. This decision did not satisfy the respondent, and he voiced his intention to challenge it at the RA Court of Cassation.