Achilles Wins in Administrative Court

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Khachik Engoyan is a Yerevan-based mechanic who was fined 32.000 Dram for violating
traffic rules. He didn’t agree with the charge and refused to sign the ticket or pay the
fine. Two months later, he received notice to appear in administrative court, where the
traffic police were suing him for 160,000 Dram (according to the law, traffic fines
increase five-fold after two months).

“I am a simple man and working really hard to earn a living” Khachik says. “160,000
Dram is a huge amount of money. I can’t afford it. I was really desperate, especially
because I didn’t deserve the fine in the first place. I didn’t know what to do, until I
remembered Achilles, an organization I heard a lot about from my driving friends, had a
hotline. I decided to call.”

Society for the Defense of Drivers’ Rights Achilles (http://www.achill.am) is
as a non-governmental human rights organization which works to protect drivers’ rights,
promote traffic safety, and contribute to cleaner roadways and the environment. With
financial assistance from the United Nations Democracy Endowment Fund (UNDEF) and
USAID, Eurasia Partnership Foundation supported Achilles’ project “reducing corruption
on the road.” As part of the project, Achilles provided free consultations and legal
support to 251 drivers, both in person and through a hotline. In 2008, the NGO also published and distributed 3740 copies of a textbook entitled ‘’Typical examination questions for
obtaining a driver’s license’’ and set up information stands with traffic and driver’s license procedures in police Stations. By the end of the year Achilles had brought 10 lawsuits related to
road traffic incidents, like Khachik’s, to administrative court.The court found in favor of the drivers in 10 of those ten cases.

Achilles immediately responded to Khachik’s request.Representing him in court, the organization counter-sued the police. The court found that the ticket was issued in obvious violation of protocol and administrative rules, and Khachik’s signature forged. The court ruled that Mr. Engoyan was not guilty and should not pay any fines. More, the police were
obliged to pay his legal fees.

“From my personal experience, corruption is often just a simple combination of ignorance and indolence. People would prefer to bribe a police officer than try to defend their rights in court. At the same time, many have no idea it is possible to appeal their case in court. To be honest, many Armenians don’t even know there is an administrative court in this country, let alone trust it to decide their problems fairly,” says Armen Petrosyan, a lawyer in Yerevan. “From that perspective, Achilles is a unique organization. In part because they take cases to court – and win them – they have a reputation as fearless and persistent defenders of drivers’ rights. They have proven themselves to be ready to help and ready to fight for every single case. This reputation is equally strong among drivers and police officers”.

It is this kind of drive for positive change which Eurasia Partnership Foundation is proud
to support.

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