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Armenian Justice Minister Fired Over 'Violent' Subordinate

Armenian Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian (left) presents an amnesty bill in parliament in June of last year.
YEREVAN -- Armenian Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian has been dismissed for what the government describes as a failure to punish one of his high-ranking subordinates allegedly involved in violent conduct, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

In a written statement, President Serzh Sarkisian's office accused Danielian of "inadequately performing his official duties," but gave no details.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian (no relation) clarified at a weekly meeting of his cabinet today that Danielian was dismissed in connection with a recent assault on an employee of the Service for the Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts, a Justice Ministry agency that implements court orders.

Media reports had alleged the official was beaten up by Mihran Poghosian, the controversial head of the agency.

The prime minister said Poghosian had "committed a serious violation of ethics rules." Danielian "was instructed to publicly punish" Poghosian for his behavior, Sarkisian said. "Unfortunately, the justice minister has failed to carry out that instruction," he added.

"A lot depends on the behavior of each of us, and we must be very demanding toward our subordinates and consider inadmissible the kind of behavior that directly undermines public trust in us," Sarkisian said.

The prime minister did not specify whether Poghosian too will be dismissed or face prosecution.

Contacted by RFE/RL, a Service for the Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts spokesman declined to comment further, pointing instead to a short statement that was posted on the Justice Ministry's website.

According to the statement, Danielian issued a formal "reprimand" to Poghosian on December 8. The justice minister did not attend today's cabinet meeting and could not be reached for comment.